P!nk

Hurts 2B Human

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    8
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Despite the evident angst within its title, Hurts 2B Human is generally a light affair from P!nk, especially when compared to its predecessor, Beautiful Trauma. On that 2017 album, P!nk seemed ready to settle into her encroaching middle age, favoring polished productions that veered ever so slightly toward the staid. Such politeness is generally eschewed on Hurts 2B Human. P!nk still indulges in empowering pop and soul-searching power ballads, producing glistening AAA pop that easily slides onto adult contemporary radio, but she's also keenly aware of shifting trends, enlisting a number of noteworthy collaborators. What's interesting about her choice of guests is that they're not limited to new stars. Khalid may show up on the title track and Cash Cash on "Can We Pretend," while Wrabel helps P!nk drift toward moody electronica on "90 Days," but she also brings in Beck -- who penned her old 2003 hit "Feel Good Time" -- for "We Could Have It All" and duets with Chris Stapleton on "Love Me Anyway," a ballad that proves she has country chops. P!nk is savvy, opting for stylistic hybrids instead of hopping from genre to genre, and that gives Hurts 2B Human a cohesion even if the individual moments are quite disparate. Occasionally, the songs can be a little strident -- a collaboration with Nathaniel Ruess of Fun., "Walk Me Home," is a bit too insistent in its anthemic reach -- but these moments are balanced by such lithe, funky numbers as "Hustle" and the Max Martin-produced "(Hey Why) Miss You Sometime," along with slower songs that can cut to the quick ("Love Me Anyway," "The Last Song of Your Life"). It all adds up to an album that cleverly feels stylish and fashionable without abandoning the emotional gravity P!nk has accumulated over the years.

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