Pink – “Don’t Let Me Get Me”

Released: 2.19.02

Peak: #8

I don’t know exactly what L.A. told her, but Alecia Moore was never no damn Britney Spears, not by a long shot. In her initial manifestation as spunky R&B malcontent, Pink and her au courant stutter-stop beats competed not with the blonde teen idols, but with the various one-named (usually black) smaller fry like Mya and Monica who trailed in the wake of TLC and would never be Beyonce. Most all comparisons between Britney and Pink, in fact, date from Pink’s dismissal of them here. Shows just how smart she was to bring the matter up.

And yeah, maybe that proves Pink’s newfound image was “all a pose,” for those as flinch at such playacting. But much as I sympathize with those full-on misfits who feel that mass-marketed non-conformity belittles their uniqueness, my greater sympathies rest with those not-quite-misfits whose anguish is relieved when pop music assures them their everyday turmoil isn’t unique. I reserve undiluted antipathy for latter day Debbie Gibsons like Michelle Branch and Vanessa Carlton, well-scrubbed honor students waving songwriting credits as indicia of their “real,” sexless girlhood.

Pink’s co-writer here, Dallas Austin, has never, to my knowledge. been a teenage girl. But though Linda Perry was interminably backslapped for aiding Pink’s makeover, Austin did most of the heavy lifting on Missundaztood. co-writing “Don’t Let Me Get Me” and “Just Like a Pill.” Summing up her new persona in couplets (“Teachers dated me/ My parents hated me”) and fighting a daily “war against the mirror” that’s epic enough to deserve those big drums and arena-pop guitar solo, Pink allows her contradictions to ripen into genuine neuroses, primed for public purgation. After a half-decade of manufactured pop rebellion for boys, this shit comes across as a veritable Title IX.

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