In the diva-eat-diva world of pop music, Madonna’s recent weak attempts to replicate past sensational, sapphic tendencies left the door wide open for Pink to bulldoze her way into the take-no-shit spotlight. Featuring tunes produced by and cowritten with Rancid’s Tim Armstrong, Try This establishes the Philly homegirl as a musical innovator and trend forecaster in the same way the Material Mom once was. Raw guitars and Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker mixed into Pink’s pop sheen ensure that Try This hits the rock-and-roll G-spot. Highlights include “Try Too Hard,” a razor-sharp, hair-metal barnburner featuring Billy Idol axman Steve Stevens; “Humble Neighborhoods,” itself an Idolesque sneer of boogie beats and dance-floor throbbing; and the leathery rasp Pink unloads on the horn-peppered blues creak “Unwind.” Her slower-riffed tunes are a mixed bag. The watery “Love Song” drowns in Mariah Carey balladry, but the album’s epic centerpiece, “Waiting for Love,” recalls Madonna’s organic guitar phases, and a coy turn by guest vocalist Peaches sexes up the slinky “Oh My God.” Brash and sassy without pandering, Try This is pop music without fear — and Pink’s best disc to date.

Categories: Music