Color Pink In Hues Of Punk

Excerpted from the magazine for

After raising eyebrows with her last album, Pink makes it even clearer with her new disc that fans should expect the unexpected.

Her third album, "Try This," finds the singer again ignoring the rules often guiding today's young female pop stars -- at her own peril.

The first single, "Trouble," faltered at radio, reaching only No. 16 on Billboard's Mainstream Top 40 chart. The song rests at No. 31 this week. The previous album yielded four top five singles.

Still, the artist is unperturbed.

"I'd rather fall down for what I believe in and for what makes me tick. Is that smart?" the singer asks. "Who knows? Might not be. But there's still some fear in me -- I want to be understood, I want to be heard."

Due Nov. 11 on Arista, "Try This" features numerous collaborations with Tim Armstrong, frontman with torch bearing punk act Rancid. Electro-raunch queen Peaches also does a guest turn.

Conventional wisdom would argue that a better way exists to maintain and build on a mainstream, top 40-driven career than working with a punk rocker and a dance artist known mostly for X-rated jams.

Pink, 24, acknowledges that her collaborations are commercially risky, but she says she must keep having fun and following her muse wherever it leads.

Judging from the performance of her prior album, "Missundaztood," Pink clearly would seem to be on to something. The 2001 release cemented Pink's status as a star and featured surprising collaborations with 4 Non Blondes singer Linda Perry and Aerosmith's Steven Tyler.

Led by the dancey, Perry-penned "Get the Party Started" and the rock track "Just Like a Pill," "Missundaztood" has sold nearly 5 million copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. That's more than twice the sales of Pink's 2000 debut, "Can't Take Me Home."

If Pink gained an inch of credibility among fickle rock fans with "Missundaztood," she gains a yard with "Try This."

But whether she and Arista can achieve similar success with the 14-song album is a question still awaiting an answer. A limited number of early copies will be shipped with a bonus DVD, which should help sales. But the album needs a stronger showing at radio to cement it at the top of the charts.

One thing is certain: Pink rocks out on a slew of Armstrong collaborations. She co-wrote seven tracks with Armstrong and three with Perry. They all boast a slew of slick hooks.

As she did with Perry, Pink slyly mixes Armstrong's musical personality with her pop-loving sensibilities. In addition to co-writing, he also contributes as vocalist, guitarist and producer.

That blend yields "Trouble," which is propelled by Armstrong's frayed, Rancid-esque guitar work. It also produced the erotic "Oh My God," which features a pair of raps from Peaches, and the breezy, anthemic, horn-sprinkled midtempo "Walk Away."

On another Armstrong collaboration, the raucous "Unwind," Pink even references Janis Joplin -- whose vocal delivery she increasingly recalls -- by mentioning Joplin's drink of choice, Southern Comfort.

The disc still includes plenty of pop, such as the sweet, soulful ballad "Catch Me While I'm Sleeping" (co-written with Perry) and the sparse, acoustic "Love Song."

While her collaboration with Armstrong may shock fans, the union is not as odd as it may seem, she says.

Alongside pop, hip-hop and gospel, punk is another genre she fell in love with as a teen. The singer, born Alecia Moore, even notes that L.A. punk legends Bad Religion got her through eighth grade.

"I used to listen to [the band's 1993 album] 'Recipe for Hate' on repeat, over and over. I would wear my sweatshirt with my hood up and wire my Walkman down the back of my sweatshirt and put it through the back of my pants and just airdrum my way through the entire day."

So what can we expect next?

"Sometimes I want to make a really s***ty record and get dropped and go start a band -- a death-metal opera. GWAR meets 'Phantom,' " she says, smiling.

"But then other times, I want to be on the radio. I want to be driving down the street and hearing my s***. I'm a walking conflict. I'm a member of [People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals], and I have leather boots on my feet!"

Excerpted from the Nov. 15, 2003, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the Premium Services section.

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