ALBUM REVIEW: P!nk takes an emotional leap on ‘Trustfall’
Few pop artists have the ability to endure quite like Alecia Beth Moore, better known as P!nk. The powerhouse vocalist can spend years on the road between albums and still reinvent and reinsert herself into the musical conversation as though she never left. Just when you think she might not have more to say, she’ll quickly prove you wrong. Such is the case is for Trustfall, the singer’s ninth studio effort, and an album that proves an artist can mature while still having fun along the way.
RCA, Feb. 17
Get the album on Amazon Music.
In some ways, Trustfall is a tale of two diverging paths. One is the pop route, with the anthemic and uplifting anthems P!nk has become known for delivering album after album. The other is a more folky and Americana route, down which P!nk traveled more frequently in recent years. What may be most impressive is that she’s able to traverse both worlds. She not only finds success in each but presents them in a way that feels cohesive.
Take piano-driven opener “When I Get There” a somber and beautiful tribute to loss and love. The ballad is a memorialization of sorts for her father, who died from prostate cancer in late 2021.
“Is there a bar up there where you’ve got a favorite chair/ Where you sit with friends and talk about the weather? P!nk asks in the chorus.
It’s simple and intimate, an unorthodox choice to open an album, but it’s an obvious statement. The pace picks up right away from there. A pulse synth enters on the fiery and anthemic title track. It’s actually musically sparse, but the beat hits heavily, carrying it along.
The dynamics keep shifting from track to track. Mid-tempo ballad “Turbulence” has a classic rock feel, but with atmospheric pop. P!nk takes on an urgent but uplifting tone, singing that the rough patches in life are “just turbulence.”
Trustfall features a trio of collaborations, the first of which is “Long Way to Go” with The Lumineers. The vocal harmonies between P!nk and Wesley Schultz are tight and strong. The song fuses the folk rock sound of the band with P!nk’s pop sensibility.
The folky trend carries on with “Kids In Love,” a collaboration with sister duo First Aid Kit. It’s a calm campfire-type song built almost entirely on acoustic guitars and harmonization. Then, single “Never Gonna Not Dance Again” is proof positive that P!nk still does anthemic pop well.
“One thing I’m never gonna do is throw away my dancing shoes,” P!nk sings heading into the chorus, a hopeful rallying cry about staying positive in the face of difficult circumstances.
The upbeat “Runaway” is pure ’80s pop fare. The synth-heavy track is energetic and urgent, with a throwback authenticity that elevates it higher. Ironically, acoustic-driven mid-tempo anthem “Last Call” turns the clock forward, infusing a ’90s pop-rock vibe. The song calls back to the theme of staying positive in the face of an insurmountable challenge.
“Last call before the world ends/ Right before the avalanche/ Last call for us to make amends,” she sings.
The driving and defiant “Hate Me” is an infectious shout-along with a classic rock personality. The track shows off the singer’s impressive range, pushing her vocals into overdrive.
P!nk has said the album is about an oscillation between hope and despair and those two themes play a major role and just about all the songs.
“It feels like I’m stuck at a party without any liquor/ And now the music stops and we’re not dancing,” she sings on “Lost Cause,” a powerful song that tends to lean into the latter theme. The song is intense and dramatic, mixing in a tinge of orchestral elements that make the song even bigger. It’s a natural segue into breezy heartbreak anthem “Feel Something.”
“I leave my heart to the wolves and they tore it open,” P!nk sings over a sparse rhythm.
The intensity goes higher on “Our Song,” which offers a lone piano but one of the album’s most dramatic moments. P!nk’s voice cuts through from the impassioned chorus to the intricate verses. Trustfall concludes with the masterful “Just Say I’m Sorry,” featuring country superstar Chris Stapleton. The two singers’ rough, gravely voices perfectly complement each other on the stripped-down arrangement with just a light guitar and piano providing accompaniment. It’s a fitting bookend to a dynamic record that takes listeners on a journey of emotions from joy to pain and back again.
Follow writer Mike DeWald at Twitter.com/mike_dewald.