Every week, Hollywood Prospectus editor and masochistically devoted mainstream-radio listener Emily Yoshida will pick an aging Top 40 hit that she has heard enough times to render it meaningless, and thus likely to inspire otherwise inaccessible epiphanies.
Who really likes P!nk? This has been a question I’ve contended with every time another one of Alecia Moore’s singles starts climbing the charts and becoming inescapable at drugstore checkouts nationwide. Even her catchiest songs seem at best like something you’d turn up for 30 seconds and sing along to in the car with the specific aim of annoying whoever was in the passenger seat — but I have a hard time trying to figure out who would actually hear one of them and sign up for her proverbial newsletter. Ardent fan bases I get: Lady Gaga. Rihanna. Britney Spears. Taylor Swift. Katy Perry. Motherfuckin’ Ke$ha. These artists (and their songwriters and stylists and various handlers) all provide some form of context for their charisma and quirks — Swift, as noted by seemingly every Internet publication this week (this one included), is particularly killing it at this game. The most powerful pop singers continue to weave a emotional-stylistic narrative with each new single and album — like a great episode of Breaking Bad, it’s even better if you’ve been along for the journey up until that point. There’s a sense of ownership. We are fans of artists not only because of what they output to the world, but because we like what it says about us when we align ourselves with them.
If I’m not paying close enough attention, then I’d welcome a counterargument — but I don’t think it means that much to be a P!nk fan (and I mean a legit, concert-going fan, not someone who jams to “Sober” sometimes in the shower). Or maybe I do know what it means, but I don’t like it, mostly because of how little it means. And while I know we’re not here to discuss superfans; they’re often a driving force in how stuff ends up being Overplayed. So who is buying P!nk’s albums? Who’s requesting her on the radio? Who’s downloading “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)” on iTunes?
This is another raging breakup song from Moore, with a chorus so strained and shouty you can barely make out what she’s saying, but not in a cool rock-star way, just in a way that suggests that she should perhaps not be singing those notes. She crams too many “clever” words into what could have been a simple, catchy chorus (call me a purist, but I much prefer when she just starts singing “nana na nana na” near the end). P!nk’s body of work somehow manages to scream “Look at me!” while simultaneously inspiring zero curiosity or fascination with its creator. “Blow Me,” whose oh-so-saucy title just dares you to send it to timeout, is no different.
Production notes: I’m already asleep by the time the opening guitar line comes in, fresh and exciting as Franz Ferdinand’s “Take Me Out” over the sound of a Frappucino machine in 2012. Moore’s voice is doubled up in harmonies or octaves throughout most of the song, which takes the edge off of it, as well as the potential for any ray of human personality to shine through the layers of production. This song sounds like something from a web ad on a streaming episode of a CW show, a subgenre with which I am unfortunately very familiar. All I keep thinking is that someone is trying to sell me shampoo.
Lyrical notes: The bridge is the highlight of the song lyrically and melodically, although P!nk’s signature awkward vulgarity, as previously identified and dissected by the DIVAWATCH committee (who have a much higher tolerance for her than I do, apparently), rears its head in the second verse in the form of the charming phrase “sick whiskey dick,” and then again in the repeated refrain “I had a shit day / You had a shit day / We had a shit day.” You can practically hear Ms. Moore calling up her mom before heading to the recording studio to warn her that she’s going to say some naughty words in a rock song again, and that Mom had better wait for the radio edit. Don’t worry, Alecia. Your mom and I are both very convinced that you are a wild, rebellious woman. We just wish you’d use your powers for good.