The reason Pink has for years seemed like a person, unlike Brittany or Amy W., is because she wants to go to rehab. Not from some prissy moralistic point of view, but from the point of view that the party does end and you have to face yourself in the mirror when it does. Pink gives one some hope that getting the party started and groundedness are not mutually exclusive. Since this seems, so far as I can tell, to match the actual needs of actual listeners to pop radio like myself (not to mention actual people with jobs, actual people on earth, and actual people most generally), I have been among the group who think that she has made some of the most meaningful pop hits of the decade. “Let’s Get This Party Started”, I’m open; “Don’t Let Me Get Me,” I’m with you; “Just Like A Pill,” absolutely, I know just what you mean. I found “So What” was a little disheartening.
And then comes “Sober,” an answer song to “Rehab” though she would never think of it that way, and Pink’s greatest accomplishment. Correct that: her greatest accomplishment is to produce an excruciatingly long second plus of silence on KHOP every hour, the break that occurs at the beginning of the second verse when she sings, as I would want my daughter to, “I don’t want to be the girl who has to fill the silence,” and then everything stops. Just stops. Until, wouldn’t you know, she has to fill the silence, acknowledging that “the quiet scares me ’cause it screams the truth.” By the time she sums up the main narrative, about the confusion that occurs when you get high and then the party ends, with “how do I feel this good and sober?” you figure, sobriety is not a given, but actually an achievement. As it is for graduates of AA. Unfortunately the graduate of AA believes s/he has a “disease” and will, essentially inevitably relapse. Pink is the person who really used to abuse alcohol (or pills or whatever) and stopped because it was the right thing to do, not right because their minister or their society said it was but for their own improved mental health and ability to engage with those they love and work with. And because they did it on their own terms they still feel fine about going out and getting blitzed sometimes. And, no, getting blitzed doesn’t cause them to fall back into the old pattern.
Of course this last describes me and roughly half my friends. Who said maturity has no place on pop radio?
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