For a singer who’s chosen such a bright, vibrant color punctuated by an exclamation mark as a stage name, it’s ironic (albeit intentionally, I suspect) that P!ink’s songs often explore much darker hues.
Such is the case on her 19th Top 40 hit, “Try.” Here P!nk tries to put the pieces of her life back together after a fiery relationship has flamed out and left her tending to emotional burn marks in its aftermath.
She wastes no time getting to the point. We hear her vacillating between accepting the hard truth that she fell for a serial deceiver and capitulating to denial because that truth is too wrenching to face. “Ever wonder about what he’s doing?” P!nk asks. “How it all turned to lies?/Sometimes I think that it’s better never to ask why.”
Instead of sliding into a pit of self-pity or hopeless despair, however, the chorus finds P!nk waxing philosophical about her belief that love walks hand-in-hand with the possibility of loss. “Where there is desire, there is gonna be a flame/Where there is a flame, someone’s bound to get burned,” she observes. “But just because it burns doesn’t mean you’re gonna die/You’ve gotta get up and try, try, try.”
As the track progresses, P!nk further juxtaposes this possibility of getting hurt and of making poor choices with the need to keep hoping, to keep trying: “Funny how the heart can be deceived/More than just a couple of times/Why do we fall in love so easy/Even when it’s not right?” We never get an answer to that vexing question. But in the repeated admonition to “get up and try, try, try,” P!nk meets disappointment with determination. And in that, she seems to confirm that pursuing a loving relationship with another person is a good thing.
As we’ve seen her do before, P!nk, of course, pairs the song’s mostly positive—or at least determined—message with startlingly raw and provocative imagery in its accompanying video. It features her wearing gauzy, lingerie-like garments (accompanied by a variety of pastel paints on her bare skin) as she steps through an intricate, choreographed dance with a shirtless man.
The couple’s tangled, undulating moves alternate seamlessly between passionate depictions of foreplay (including some groping) that unmistakably allude to sex, and jarringly violent interactions that simulate coming to blows. The video clearly represents the volatile nature of their relationship, one in which the intense connection is as likely, it seems, to include physical assaults upon each other as it is sexual intimacy.
Where the song itself reflects more on the emotional risks of pursuing love again with someone new, then, the video disturbingly represents those risks in violent, sexual terms within the context of a single relationship—seriously undermining the sentiment that love is always worth the risks it bears.
After serving as an associate editor at NavPress’ Discipleship Journal and consulting editor for Current Thoughts and Trends, Adam now oversees the editing and publishing of Plugged In’s reviews.