Sober

Maybe it’s my nostalgia for things I heard on the radio in 2008 kicking in again, but let’s listen to some more P!nk. I know, I know, how sad is it that I’m already having nostalgia pains for the late 2000’s? And, yes, I know that I said I don’t like P!nk. I guess I’m at that point where I’m starting to like the things that I don’t like just because they remind me of a time in my life when I was 11 years younger. But also, this woman sings live while swinging on a trapeze. In the 90’s/2000’s teenybop wave, P!nk was on the 3rd or 4th tier in terms of cultural traction, far behind superstars like damn Britney and X-Tina. Heck, she had less name recognition than Jessica Simpson. But I guess she really got the last laugh in terms of having a consistent career and not going to jail, or rehab, or getting fat, or being declared mentally incompetent, or becoming a porn star, or any of the other unsavory fates that have befallen her peers. No, she got her shit together and learned how to trapeze. Again, she performs on a trapeze, and even if her on-key vocals are all backing track, that’s pretty impressive.

So What

Let’s set the WABAC Machine for the halcyon days of 2008, with one of the biggest pop hits of the decade. I think this song should bring it all flooding back nicely. It was one of the last pop hurrahs of the slutty, plastic crystal crusted, Adderal-manic 2000’s. Times sure were different back then – there was this thing called ‘optimism’ and everyone was spending buttloads of money to look like a drag strip hooker. I always thought that the singer P!nk was pretty much the worst of 2000’s pop music: she combined some of the most bombastically generic production with a mawkish earnestness untroubled by irony, all while having the aesthetics of a teenager trying to dress ‘punk’ in a suburban outlet mall. I wouldn’t say that she was the nadir of lowest-common-denominator pop music, because she is, at least, a pretty decent vocalist, but she’s pretty close to it. Even a stopped clock, however, is sometimes on point, and P!nk’s combination of trashy-white-girl posturing and insecure-white-girl vulnerability served her well at least once. She pulled the inspiration for this song from the breakup of her marriage, and although it turned out to be a false alarm and they got back together, the angst is real, and it provided fodder for one of the best defiantly crying-only-on-the-inside breakup anthems. It’s an exact, specific feeling that everyone knows: when you loudly insist, to anyone at the bar who will listen, that you’re still a rock star, while your makeup runs down your face and most of your drink is on your shoes, and you know you’re probably going to wake up with a black eye. Yep, you know you’ve had nights like that, and this is your song for nights like that.