There are few pop stars as predictable as Pink. Though her image is centred on a rebellious, no-fucks-given punk aesthetic, the reality is very different. Pink’s music has long followed the same formula, featuring shoddy lyrics about shitty relationships coupled either with spunky – and downright irritating – guitar riffs or bland ballads about – that’s right – more shitty relationships. Just look at previous two singles, uninspired comeback track ‘What About Us’ and the clumsy ‘Beautiful Trauma’ for evidence. Formulaic and boring, neither inspire more than a shrug, paling in comparison to her earlier work that had much more to offer. Listen to ‘U + Ur Hand’ or ‘Family Portrait’ to get a glimpse of Pink at her best and then sigh remorsefully, for that Pink is no more.
Continuing her rather tame comeback, Pink has released another new track, percussive guitar ballad ‘Whatever You Want’.
‘Whatever You Want’ is thankfully far more coherent than the disjointed ‘Beautiful Trauma’. As a ballad, it gels nicely, the verses segueing seamlessly into the chorus, Pink’s voice tying the whole thing together, she being in familiar territory on another wistful love song. There’s some variety here too. Despite the track’s plodding rhythm, Pink adds a little flavour, switching the tempo slightly and peppering the song with mini-hooks that are enough to keep you interested. The best part of the track is Pink’s refrain of “Whatever you want, whatever you need,” evoking her RnB roots, to a time when her music had a little more bite. It’s a nice flashback, albeit a brief one.
The sentiment behind ‘Whatever You Want’ is essentially the same as countless other Pink songs, including her last single, ‘Beautiful Trauma’. Although she recognises her relationship is ultimately quite unhealthy, Pink asserts that she’s sticking with it because, after all, it’s “always darkest before the light”. It’s another platitude employed to justify what sounds like a dreadful relationship, and it makes you miss the bolder, more brazen Pink of old, when she walked away from shitty men and told them to wank themselves off instead.
‘Whatever You Want’ is a sugary, well-meaning ballad that’s certainly not without its merits. That said, it’s also a fairly humdrum addition to Pink’s increasingly colourless back catalogue. While her name suggests vibrancy, her recent output suggests a change might be in order – beige, perhaps?