With a confrontational title, artwork and posture on the cover, Pink’s fourth studio album is still an incredibly effective work of pop-rock. From the opening chords of lead single “Stupid Girls,” which immediately establishes a take-no-prisoners lyrical approach to her competitors at the time, this is a pop album like no other. Pink’s vocals here have more in common with Bette Midler’s in “The Rose” than anything else on the radio, tearing into cathartic tracks like “Runaway,” “Conversations with My 13-Year-Old Self, ” and “The One That Got Away” with terrific assistance from top-shelf hooks and a well-orchestrated production that has the same powerful energy as the singer herself. Pink’s lyrics have always been direct and powerful and the same is true here, and the album flows extraordinarily well from one song to the other, on the way to the unexpected closer “I Have Seen the Rain,” a father-daughter duet about surviving the Vietnam war that burrows its way into the brain.
Rating: ★★★★★ (out of 5)