Over the course of my nearly 20 years as a music listener (my dad consistently played music throughout mine and my sister’s infancies), I have experienced a blossoming love for Alecia Moore, better known as her stage name P!NK.

Our flirtation began when she taught me my first swear word: “ass.” I was in kindergarten and my sister had been doing that typical older sibling “you’re too young for this” bullshit while listening to P!NK’s sophomore record Missundaztood.

“There’s a bad word you can’t hear. It’s another word for butt,” she said. Hm. Another word for butt. My five-year-old brain couldn’t come up with any possibilities — I couldn’t guess the word “ass” without actually knowing it. Obviously, I took the typical younger sibling response and went downstairs as her and her friends elementary-school jammed to “Get the Party Started,” and the instant I heard the lyric “I’ll be burnin’ rubber, you’ll be kissin’ my ass” I knew my first swear word. I had certainly heard the word before seeing that my parents couldn’t conceivably go five years without saying the A-word in front of me.

Our next significant encounter was Dec. 25, 2003. I was in second grade and P!NK’s third album Try This dropped the month prior and “Trouble” was my jam. On that white, shimmery morning in BFE, Ohio I popped the CD into my portable player and went off. Admittedly, I did only listen to the first three songs up until a few years ago, but in my defense I loved those three songs so much, my thought was “Why bother with the rest of it when I already know I like these songs?” Yes, I realize that is musical terrorism and I deeply regret it because the rest of the album is just as much fun.

Between second grade and junior year of high school P!NK and I had a few meetups: “Stupid Girls” and “U + UR Hand” from her third album as well as “So What” and “Funhouse” from her fourth album of the same name are noteworthy musical memories in my development. Despite my affection for her work up until my 17th year of life, my devotion to P!NK’s work multiplied endlessly with the release of her sixth album, my first (and all-time) favorite album, The Truth About Love.

Up until its release I didn’t consider myself one to listen to entire albums. I liked songs, I liked artists. Typically, I would just pluck a few tracks from my favorite artists across the board, rarely diving deep into a record or any particular discography, a far cry from my musical self today — someone who listens almost entirely to complete albums, through and through. I have The Truth About Love to thank for that. I went from buying a single song, “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)” to taking the leap and pre-ordering the entire album based on my liking of the tracklist. What followed was 20 songs, bonus tracks included that changed my relationship with music. Know that I’m not exaggerating when I say The Truth About Love was my go-to listen for upwards of a year (and I still listen to it at least once a week).  

Like any album about love, it’s an album about life. My life. Maybe your life. I’ve screamed the lyrics of “Slut Like You” and “Walk of Shame” in an empty house, many times. “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)” serves as a fuck you anthem when needed. “Are We All We Are” and “How Come You’re Not Here” are as fun as they are therapeutic. On love’s flipside, ‘Beam Me Up” and “The Great Escape” are minimally and beautifully showcasing not only P!NK’s vocal prowess, but also the seriousness of her artistry. Collabs with Eminem, Lily Rose Cooper (formerly Lily Allen) and Nate Ruess take the album’s talent over the top, leaving seven equally spectacular bonus tracks to cover any overlooked truths about love.

The Truth About Love is one to lose your voice to. It’s the one I lose my voice to.

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