Pink About It

It's no secret that Pink has a beef with the pop tarts whose genre she inhabits--Britney Spears is practically her arch-nemesis--but on her latest album I'm Not Dead's first single, "Stupid Girls," she goes even further, throwing punches at every other Sunset Strip paparazzi whore you've read about in Us Weekly during the past four years. To think, the star (born Alecia Moore) once dreamed of living the lives these camera-friendly waifs embrace.

"You know, when you're young, you have this idea of being famous and making money and, you know, being a rock star," she says. "So you taste this carrot, and you taste this carrot, and the carrot, it tastes like spinach--only I don't really like spinach," she adds, laughing. "So, early on, my famous line was, 'I'm not doing it. Send me back to McDonald's,' because the payoff wasn't fun enough, it wasn't interesting enough. I would've burned out if I didn't have a chance to take risks."

It took Pink awhile to come to terms with the business she had entered and what she calls "this whole art of commerce thing," but she's managed to persistently mutate with every album, morphing into something different and always more challenging. In fact, she's one of the few pop stars willing to take risks without fear of failure (which has happened, like the commercial flop that was her last album, Try This).

"It's a very simple fact: I get bored easily," she points out. "I don't like to repeat myself. I feel like my voice is my instrument, and I want to use it in as many ways as I can and keep trying to be better in every way: as a human, as a writer, as a singer. To just do something that scares me. And other people," she adds, "which I seem to be very good at."

Her fourth outing, I'm Not Dead, continues to surprise, if only because it's her most conscious, introspective album yet; she tackles the risks of fame and celebrity, personal metamorphosis and regrets, and even a failing presidency.

"What kind of father would take his own daughters' rights away," Pink asks in the song, "Dear Mr. President." "And what kind of father might hate his own daughter if she was gay/You've come a long way from whiskey and cocaine."

It's a high point from an album that otherwise comes off as uneven but, as a whole, speaks volumes about the woman Pink is: an artist, a reluctant product and a boat-rocker of the worst kind. Really, does she know how to take the easy road anywhere?

"No. I'm trying, though," she says, laughing loudly. "I try to choose my battles now, instead of fighting all of them."

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Cole Haddon