Ever the outsider and ever the exception to the norm, P!NK returns with her seventh studio album, Beautiful Trauma.
Introduced by the powerful lead single, “What About Us,” Beautiful Trauma is anchored by P!NK’s incredible vocals and understated yet immaculate production. Kicking things off with the grand title track, Beautiful Trauma reminisces on the past, critiques the present, and celebrates the uncertainties of the future. Of the first third of the album, rumored second single, “Revenge (feat. Eminem),” is a goofy boom-bap hip-hop inspired collaboration where P!NK raps and Slim Shady sings. The track is a light counterbalance to the underlying darkness of the title track and lead single, but it is a put off-putting and jarring for the first few listens. Nevertheless, it was interesting to hear some of the harmonies Eminem came up with. The other new track in the first third of the album, “Whatever You Want,” bears unsettlingly striking similarities to P!NK’s Alice: Through The Looking Glass soundtrack hit, “Just Like Fire.”
Moving on to the rest of the album, “What About Us,” is followed by the gorgeous ballad “But We Lost It.” The track is nothing spectacular, lyrically, but the vocal delivery and simple production provide for a gorgeous moment. The wistful “Barbies” comes next but the track doesn’t quite hit its stride until the second chorus where the drums come in. This the part that sells the entire album, it’s perfect. The back half of the album is similarly strong; the confessional songwriting of “For Now,” and the pseudo-mainstream appeal of “Secrets” make for beautiful moments for P!NK’s pen to shine.
The most astounding part of this album is the trinity of beautiful tracks that close the album. “I Am Here,” has vocal inflections that would make Ms. Whitney Houston proud and songwriting that Carole King would celebrate. The penultimate track,”Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken,” is a trite, self-deprecating, and self-empowering song that celebrates the uniqueness and fierceness of Alecia Moore. Finally, the show-stopping ballad that puts Adele to shame, “You Get My Love,” sees P!NK experimenting with R&B-influenced vocal runs and combining them with adult contemporary songwriting for a masterful result.
Despite some weak songwriting moments, and one uneasy track or two, P!NK’s Beautiful Trauma is a career triumph on all fronts, and a worthy addition to her stellar discography.