Review: P!nk’s Beautiful Trauma

She has plenty of great songs and plenty of mediocre ones, but something tells me she doesn’t quite care how you see her. 

Since the turn of the century, P!nk has emerged as the world’s rebellious-but-down-to-Earth pop star. Her earliest hit, “Get the Party Started,” did exactly what it promised, as P!nk followed with plenty of energetic, motivating hits throughout the years—“Raise Your Glass,” “So What” and “Blow Me (One Last Kiss),” just to name a few. 

P!nk’s charm comes from her calculated, individualistic attitude that shines in each of these pop bangers. Yet she also digs deep, producing personal ballads that show off her strong, smooth vocals (most popularly, “Glitter in the Air”).

All that in mind, her latest album Beautiful Trauma hits all the marks of a standard P!nk album that’s sending it up the Billboard charts, with only a couple real surprises. The catchy title track opens the door to the party with some danceable beats in the pre-chorus and chorus. 

“Revenge” is the record’s boppy, edgy tune. It’s about a cheating couple, and P!nk sort-of raps, going from sweet to sexy in a blip. By 2 ¼ minutes in, Eminem picks up the slack on this tongue-in-cheek duet. “Whatever You Want” is the laid-back, acoustic and percussion-driven track (and one of my personal favorites because it hearkens back to P!nk’s simpler roots). “What About Us?” is the booming radio hit. “But We Lost It” is the beautiful, somber ballad. 

And truthfully, the rest of the songs just offer a mix of each of the elements that the aforementioned main tracks bring to the table. All of this is not to say that Beautiful Trauma is completely unoriginal, though. In fact, it pushes some boundaries P!nk has yet to break.

The 38-year-old, married mother of two covers some deep territory that her previous album The Truth About Love did not. Though she still retains her edge, she’s more serious and mature than ever before, exploring dark topics.

While not a concept album, Beautiful Trauma follows themes of growing old and dying in a few of its songs. In “I Am Here,” P!nk cheerfully sings “Where does everybody go when they go?” over upbeat tamborine. Going even deeper, she rocks out on “Where We Go,” “Write my name up in the sky/As we contemplate goodbye/I don’t know, we don’t know, where we go/There’s not a holy man or prayer in sight/There’s not a priest around to read our rights/There’s no magic balm to save our lives.”

Still, it’s not all fun and playful. “Barbies” is a song one could only assume that P!nk wrote after watching her 6-year-old daughter and baby son innocently playing with their toys. At first the quiet, sparkly tune seemed like one big cliche. But after a few listens, it hits home without being too tearful when she sings, “I lock every single door/And I look behind me even more/And now turned into someone that I swore I would never be.”

Overall, Beautiful Trauma offers sadder lyrical material forged into the P!nk album format. The album unfortunately ends on a low (but actually annoyingly high) note with “You Get My Love.” There are some unforgettable songs, but a few really great jams, as well. P!nk has always been an inspiration and continues to celebrate individuality through music, bringing a party that ponders not only the bursting beauty of life, but its transience as well.