Pink

Try This (Arista)

Pink is riding one of the steepest evolutionary curves in all of pop music. As good as it was, her 2000 debut, Can't Take Me Home, didn't point to Try This -- not at all. On her third album, Pink has left behind tear-stained diary entries and unleashed a hard-rocking, Stevie Nicks-catfighting-Pat Benatar roller coaster of an album.

The Philly native pays tribute to hometown soul on "Catch Me While I'm Sleeping," but it's the weirdly titled "Humble Neighborhoods" that's the pick hit -- a hard-charging party anthem informed by Motörhead's "Stone Deaf in the U.S.A.," its guitar sound copped from mid-'80s Billy Idol. There's plenty more pleasure here too: "Waiting for Love" is a grunge-flavored rock ballad that mixes Alice in Chains and Jane's Addiction to coruscating effect; "Walk Away," with its country guitar, organ, and horns, sounds like somebody's been listening to From Elvis in Memphis.

"Someday, I'm gonna die, but it won't be from boredom" is the line (from "Humble Neighborhoods") that encapsulates this record. Pink is multifaceted in the best way. Try This, like its title, is a direct challenge to every other girl with a microphone out there right now, and most of them are going to fall short.

 
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