At the time, I didn’t warm to Pink’s overt rebrand. For one thing, the brusque R&B singer of “You Make Me Sick” already seemed fierce, and fierce in a more interesting way than a pop-rock restyle promised. For another, the heel turn from pop star to pop rejector seemed messy and unfinished – “Get The Party Started” was terrific, but tighter and slicker than any of her R&B hits; “Don’t Let Me Get Me” lurched the other way, a take-it-or-leave-it splat of rejection on top of muffled, churning beats.

By the time “Just Like A Pill” came out, in other words, I was more or less on the side of those faceless exec dudes who’d wanted Pink to make R&B and stick to it in the first place. And like them, I was wrong. The rebrand stuck, and then some. Pink is in the Top 40 right now, in 2019, a survivor of the demographic purge initiated by streaming which makes Justin Bieber a veteran. The mess was resilience. The mess was the idea.

The rollout of the new Pink, over the course of Mizzundastood’s four singles, was perfect marketing. First single: Pink is a party girl who likes to rock out. Second single: Pink never wanted to be your dumb pop star. Third single (this one): Pink has a dark side and is drawn to toxicity. Fourth single (“Family Portrait”): Pink has a troubled past in a broken home. A carefully precise transition from fake-Pink to real-Pink, far less sudden and more convincing than some of the image changes we’ll meet.

I don’t mean to suggest here that Pink is or isn’t authentic – I don’t think the question’s very interesting – or that she’s particularly calculating. But like most people with very long pop careers, she has a fascinating grasp, studied or intuitive, of how selling an image and shifting an image work. Pink’s point wasn’t that she didn’t want to make pop music – she’s always made pop music – but it’s that she knew better than anyone else what pop music she ought to be making. And she’s been proved entirely correct.

“Just Like A Pill” isn’t her best track – it’s still an awkward thing, flailing around before it breaks into an ungainly chug – but it’s a better showcase of her identity and, more importantly, her voice than “Don’t Let Me Get Me”. On the chorus, the voice sounds multi-tracked – one Pink clear and strong, one breaking down at the edges into rasp and croak. It’s a stand-in for her whole approach – just enough noise in the signal to strengthen it.

Score: 6

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