I sent the review below to Chuck Eddy on spec. He rejected it because the album was already assigned - as it turned out, Christgau was covering it in his new Consumer Guide.
I'm Not Dead
Pink's politics are pure American populism: instinctive and sometimes clumsy, she sings from her gut, fist-pumping choruses salvaging almost-there verses. On a hidden bonus track, she duets with her dad on a song he wrote, that she grew up singing at Vietnam veterans' rallies. That gesture almost makes the fucking Indigo Girls' presence on the embarrassingly earnest "Dear Mr. President" forgivable. "Stupid Girls" is a better critique of Hilton, Lohan et al. than perfect-is-the-enemy-of-the-good feminist critics have been willing to acknowledge. The album version's even better, full of things you can't say on the radio. "Pretty will you fuck me girl/Silly I'm so lucky girl/Pull my hair I'll suck it girl," she spits before the final chorus. The non-"issue" songs "'Cuz I Can," "Leave Me Alone (I'm Lonely)" and "U + Ur Hand" are decent, distracting similarities to Lita Ford's "Kiss Me Deadly" and her own "Humble Neighborhoods" aside. But the strummed guitars and VH1-friendly midtempo ballads dominating I'm Not Dead feel like a repudiation of, or a retreat from, 2003's ballsy, brilliant flop, Try This. While Ashlee Simpson and Kelly Clarkson are taking Pink's old style to the bank, she's turning herself into a slightly edgier Michelle Branch.
I've listened to I'm Not Dead a few more times since writing that, and I like it a little better now. I still hate "Dear Mr. President," though, and I wish I could escape the feeling that Christgau's giving her extra points for it, rather than thumbs-upping the whole album, because he just gets so damn happy when a pop singer's politics agree with his own. (Note that he shouts out the song, but ignores the presence of the Indigo Girls, who he loathes maybe even as much as I do.) Anyway, it's a good record. The songs rock a little harder than I thought they did on my first few clearly-not-close-enough listens, and I'm glad the review didn't make print. And I really hope she tours the US this year.
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