2 out of 5 stars
Pop tart Pink has made a name for herself as the so-called “alternative” to the manufactured Christinas and Britneys of top-40 pop’s glory days. The artist has since experimented with a wild assortment of sounds, ranging from her initial R&B-style hits to mild flirtations with harder rock-based hooks on her subsequent records, before finally settling into her role as a pop starlet. On her most recent album, Funhouse, Pink admirably tries to formulate a distinct sound, but the disjointed result ultimately falls short.
Funhouse reverts Pink to her prior methods with wide-ranging musical experimentation. The album veers from classic chart-friendly smashes to country-influenced ballads of woe to her former dance-rock endeavors. The disc’s first single, the Martin Max produced “So What,” is Pink’s only number one solo hit. Like so many other tracks on the breakup-influenced album, it laments the artist’s recent divorce from husband Carey Hart, opening with the line “I guess I just lost my husband / I don’t know where he went.” It’s jumpy and exciting, with all the key ingredients of a radio hit, and sharply contrasts the rest of the album’s more low-key cuts.
The most recent single — aptly titled “Sober” — details Pink’s battles with addiction. Keeping in tune with the song’s theme, Pink belts “How do I feel this good sober?” in a haunting key. The pop-rock song is a lot more subdued than the caffeinated “So What,” with Pink’s exceptional voice carrying the majority of it. It stands above most of the album’s subsequent selections, but can’t rescue the entire disc.
The rest of the album is a collection of would-be singles that couldn’t quite make the mark (“Funhouse,” for example), strained rock ballads bemoaning her recent breakup (“Please Don’t Leave Me”) and a variety of other subpar cuts. The quasi-ballad “Mean” has a marked country vibe that sounds more like Sheryl Crow than an actual Pink cut. It deals with — what else — the constant fighting that leads to a breakup. It only stands out because it simply doesn’t fit with the rest of the album’s collection.
“It’s All Your Fault” is somewhat more successful. Quick-programmed keys open the track, highlighting Pink’s luminous vocals, creating an eerie effect. Sadly, the song drifts into awkward rock-band-esque choruses for prolonged periods. Another close hit is “Bad Influence,” a bass-heavy pop song with the greatest single potential of the album’s remaining tracks. Over catchy hand claps, the singer lists off her favorite drinks and exclaims: “Lordy, lordy, lordy! / I can’t help it I like to party, it’s genetic! / It’s electrifying, wind me up and watch me go.”
With the recent worldwide hit “So What,” Pink is likely to find great success in the near future. Her latest disc is all over the musical map, which will likely appeal to her fans as it gives the album a certain variety. Given each song’s less-than-desired quality, a homogenous version of the album would have likely grown boring after only the second or third listen. In terms of regurgitated pop filler, Funhouse offers some hits but is barely passable as a whole.