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Pink

The Truth About Love

RCA

I have a mix CD that I keep in my car, called "It's Ok to like Pop Music so long as you also listen to cool shit." There are a lot of guilty pleasure songs on there, the titles of which I will not divulge... unless you get a few drinks in me. I will say, however, that one artist who is a repeat offender in the roster is Pink. She's a bit of a cartoon character; she tries out music styles like Lady Gaga tries out new fashions, and her lyrics read like a potty mouth teen's diary, but -- hot damn! -- can she put together some timeless dance songs!

The Truth About Love, her sixth release, delves into, among other heartaches, the open wound of her former separation from on again/off again husband Carey Hart. There are songs written when she was at her fuck-you feistiest ("Walk of Shame"), and at her most confident ("How Come You're Not Here," which boasts I'll wait right here/ til you get bored/ and she gets carded for beer/ I'm the One/ I'm just that slick / You won't find better / I'm honey dipped ). Not only does that latter tune pack one of the most memorable lines on the record, but it's an oddly successful mash-up of blues rock and pop rock.

As would be expected, on an album inspired by the break-up of a marriage, some of the songs are almost painful to listen to, like the mourning ballad "Beam Me Up," or the naked, bluesy confession of album closer "The Great Escape." I tend to lean toward the dancefloor diva side of Pink, but her ballads still pack quite a punch, and the quintessential Pink power ballad on here, the one that wallows on one hand and battles on the other, is "Try."

Pink is at her best when she unveils the vulnerability in-between a badass and a basketcase. "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)" is a big dance pop blow-up that laughs at life's curve balls. "Just Give Me a Reason," co-written and with guest vocals by fun.'s Nate Ruess, is a slow dance melody about the beginning of the end of a relationship. "True Love," another highlight and featuring another guest appearance, this time by Lily Allen (now Lily Rose Cooper), ponders the age old adage of there being a fine line between love and hate: "I really hate you/ so much/ I think it must be true love... no one else could break my heart like you." Speaking of guest appearances, Eminem drops in for an out-of-left-field rap on "Here Comes the Weekend"... and that's about all I can say about that song. Forgettable.

Now that her marriage is back on, and she and Hart just had their first kid, these songs feel a bit like reading a year-old newspaper, though they're still alternately fun or heartbreaking. Performing these live in her current state of wedded, maternal bliss should prove an interesting spectacle, like anything Pink does, whether it's bowing down and nuzzling up to Gwen Stefani onstage, or giving jaw-dropping performances hanging from aerial silks.

Pink: pinkspage.com