P!nk made her name in the 2000s. One of the pop titans of the time, she has had numerous Billboard-topping tracks and has won multiple awards, including three Grammys. For more than a decade, she sat atop the pop scene, being widely adored and practically inescapable.
Now, pop trends have mostly moved on from this sound, but P!nk is sticking to her guns. Her newest album release, “TRUSTFALL,” heavily evokes the sound of the 2000s, a mode she has refined over decades but which many consider tired and worn out.
It begins with “When I Get There,” a minimal ballad about a deceased loved one looking down from heaven. It starts with piano and vocals, eventually adding acoustic guitar and synth strings for a build that increases the emotional impact of the song without becoming intense.
Clearly, this song is meant to have some sort of emotional effect on the listener, but what exactly it’s trying to conjure is something of a mystery. It sounds vaguely sad or nostalgic, but this doesn’t appear to be in reference to the subject’s death. What the listener should feel is left ambiguous, taking the wind out of the song’s sails.
P!nk features The Lumineers on “Long Way to Go,” which suffers from some of the same issues as the opener. Although the production and composition are more effective, there appears to be some disconnect between these elements and the intended effect of the song.
Marching snare and inspiring piano chords drive the beat along, with abrupt changes in dynamic indicating a passion of sorts. Still though, what this passion is aimed at is not clear, so the tune’s positive elements are left somewhat hollow.
“Never Gonna Not Dance Again” takes a different direction, with a clearly positive sound and intention that work well across all aspects of the song. The busy texture includes lots of percussion, a heavy bassline and horn shouts that support P!nk’s brassy vocal and infuse the song with energy.
The chorus is the track’s high point, with a delayed crashing together of all instruments adding an element of unexpectedness. Although other pieces of the song are predictable in structure, this tidbit adds melodic interest.
The end of the album features a four-song run of slow tunes that grows stale halfway through the second example. It ends on a relatively high note with “Just Say I’m Sorry,” featuring Chris Stapleton. The country singer’s nasally vocal and twangy electric guitar serve as a surprisingly cogent complement to P!nk.
Of the album’s more emotional songs, this is among the most competent. There appears to be a cooperation between the tone of the backing instrumentals and the content of the vocal which is absent from much of the other sentimental material here.
“TRUSTFALL” features many oft-cited complaints with the pop genre, particularly as it existed near the turn of the century. It’s musically predictable and the emotional content feels anemic and superficial; however, for many fans of the genre, these have never been issues.
As a pop record, “TRUSTFALL” is very well-executed and successfully calls back to an era of music that is brimming with nostalgia for many. Perhaps it won’t attract many new listeners, but P!nk’s fans will almost certainly be satisfied.