Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Album Review: P!nk - Funhouse (4.5 / 5)

P!nk has always been one of the more remarkable structures in today's pop music. Her earlier rivals, notably Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, both made (and still make) clean-cut pop songs that could pass as easy-listening --not exactly sharing any views expectant of your typical pop singer. P!nk however, has made a remarkable transformation since her debut Can't Take Me Home, which introduced the singer to the world as your archetypal R&B singer, with the help of (my favorite) R&B producer, Babyface. Spawning the the top 10 hits, "There You Go" and "Most Girls."

Pink shook up her image on her sophomore effort, M!ssundaztood which re-introduced the singer as a singer with something to say --adding a more rugged and rockier edge to her music, additionally spawning 3 top 10 hits ("Get The Party Started," "Don't Let Me Get Me" and the UK #1, "Just Like A Pill"). Her next album, Try This continued to materialize P!nk's now signature jaunty attitude, but just wasn't as good as its predecessor, proving a botch in sales. P!nk made her return on 2006s I'm Not Dead which was indeed an in-your-face reinstatement of her relevancy --also being by far my favorite album of hers, churning out my favorite set of singles by her, ("Who Knew," "U+Ur Hand" and "Nobody Knows").

Now we have Funhouse. Which essentially uses the same formula as its predecessors --except taking a more contemporary route (not to say that, I'm Not Dead didn't have its modern moments). The albums kicks of with the lead single, "So What" which became P!nk's first #1 in the U.S., it's a fun, upbeat number produced by pop genius Max Martin --it's your typical pop-rock venture, supported sweetly by its jaunty nature and the recurring playground chant:"na na na..."

Now, Funhouse is a som-what misleading title as most of the material on the album is more retrospective and depressing, like the ballad "Sober," which is backed with an electronic guitar, enhancing the songs moody vibe. Following up swiftly is another ballad, "I Don't Believe You," which is essentially more mellow than "Sober," pacing with strings, smooth orchestration and P!nk's robust vocal. "One Foot Wrong," starts off pretty slow, but slowly progresses more buoyant, but that feat is masked by the cogitative lyrics and distorted bassline towards the build up to end. I also love the horns incorporated towards in the end.

Max Martin lends his producing talents again on the comedic, "Please Don't Leave Me" which finds P!nk asking her man not leave her despite the arguments and her apparent tantrums. The song is mainly drums and strings, accompanied by the recurring murmur of: "da da da." Those, da da das start of the next song, "Bad Influence," which solidifies it's role as the more upbeat of the album, it reminds of "Trouble" from, Try This except more pop-orientated.

The title track, "Funhouse," is another fun number, sounding like something Kelly Clarkson would sing. I love the artistry with the electronic guitar during the hook and chorus. It contains some weird lyrics: "this use to be a funhouse, now it's filled with evil clowns." The song surprisingly changes it's tune to something more aggressive during the bridge and returns swiftly to its normal venture to finish off.

"Crystal Ball," is beautiful ballad, mellowing out with the acoustic guitar. "Mean," sounds like an old western rock number, beautiful melody and electronic guitar running through. When I first heard, "It's All Your Fault" I knew Max Martin had to have something to with it because it was one of the cuts I fell in love with instantly --apart from "So What," this sounds like it could be real contender for another #1 for P!nk, it's so contemporary it even goes as far as using a vocoder on the bridge. P!nk's so badass.

Normally when a regular pop-rock album reaches its second half it begins to lag, but, Funhouse actually kicks it up a notch, the moody, "Ave Mary A" is a great electric number --strings, drums and guitar--perfect. The album closes gently with, "Glitter In The Air" a smooth piano ballad with some pretty good lyrics: "have you ever looked fear in the face and said, I just don't care." Sometimes, P!nk's courage is just so inspirational.

Funhouse is a great follow up to, I'm Not Dead, I absolutely love it --aside from the mis-step with, Try This generally P!nk always impresses me with her offerings, she's brilliant.

Best: So What, It's All Your Fault, Ave Mary A, Sober, Please Don't Leave Me, Mean, Funhouse, I Don't Belive You

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