Written by Meg Susong
Funhouse, the fifth studio album from singer Alecia Moore, who performs under the more widely-recognized name P!nk, drops in stores next Tuesday. With its mix of sad, thoughtful love songs and fun, upbeat, feisty rock anthems, it does not disappoint. Funhouse serves as a more mature and paced follow-up to 2006’s I’m Not Dead, with lyrically stronger and admittedly more depressing songs – but no less fun to listen to.
Coming on the heels of a divorce, the album (originally titled “Heartbreak is a Mother——, but changed due to the labels’ worry about sales) is peppered with slower tunes and angry rockers, much like her last outing. This time, however, the content deals more with personal issues and romance, rather than outside and political topics. As for the final title, Funhouse, P!nk explains, “I look at life like a carnival. Clowns are supposed to be happy, but they are really scary. Carnivals are supposed to be fun, but really they are kind of creepy. But, we go and we buy cotton candy and we force our laughter and we get on rides and we strap ourselves in and we do it. And that’s like life to me, and love. Love is supposed to be fun, but it can sometimes be really scary. And the funhouse mirrors that make you look so distorted that you don’t recognize yourself and you ask yourself, ‘How did I get here? How do I get out of here?’ But, you think that you want to do it again. That is the same as love and life. It’s a metaphor for being in love and for life.”
The aptly named Funhouse opens with the #1 hit “So What,” a cocky tune about heartbreak and the (angry) aftermath. With sorrowfully lighthearted lyrics, such as “I guess I just lost my husband/I don’t know where he went,” the album sets its playful but serious tone.
“Sober,” the second track and recently announced second single, slows the album’s pace. With a solid drum beat however, it quickly picks up into a rocking chorus. The third track on the album, “I Don’t Believe You,” is a drastic shift in tone and style. Featuring a reverberating acoustic guitar and strings, it is one of the most chilling tracks on the album, and one of the most personal.
“One Foot Wrong,” carries a bouncing beat that is a common musical theme of the album. The next cut, “Please Don’t Leave Me,” is a pleading tune that likens back to her older work, but with a more mature tone to it. It is strong both lyrically and musically, but at the same time simplistic. I think it is one of the best on the record.
The guitars on “Bad Influence” sound as if they were pulled out of the Eighties, but given a modern twist. Musically similar to the hit “Flagpole Sitta” by Harvey Danger, it features typical witty lyrics about partying – and no one does a party song better than P!nk. Moving to bass-carried tune, the title track “Funhouse” is ska-induced and a metaphorical song concerning bad memories and clowns.
“Crystal Ball,” while feeling out of place on the album musically, is still lyrically sound and holds its own. “Mean” shows itself to be an old rocker akin to Aerosmith, which is a positive thing in this instance. The tenth track, “It’s All Your Fault” begins with a delicate piano intro and quickly moves to a hip-hop undertone with an urgent feel. One of the finest tracks on the album, both lyrically and musically, it has the classic P!nk feel about it, complete with an upbeat heartbreak chorus, featuring the lyrics “It’s all your fault/You called me beautiful/You turned me out/And now I can’t turn back.”
“Ave Mary A” has a late 90s feel about it. While it is not the finest track on the album, it does hold its own in a lyrically unique fashion, pulling references from interesting places. The twelfth and final track, “Glitter in the Air,” is a beautiful piano piece that serves as an appropriate closer to a wonderful album.
Overall, the album presents a more polished sound coupled with a more lyrically introspective P!nk. While the songs each have their own personalities about them, they all come together to create one of P!nk’s strongest albums to date. The upbeat tone felt through most of the album is contrasted beautifully with the melancholy lyrics and a painfully honest love-letter tone.
Says P!nk of the songs on Funhouse, “It’s like letting down the armor and admitting I’m human. I’m a girl. We all want to be loved and love. That’s all we want.” Songs like ‘Please Don’t Leave Me’ are also kind of funny though. It’s like, ‘Okay, I’m an asshole, but love me anyway.’ I’m trying to be better. We’re all a work in progress.”
Be sure to pick up the fantastic release Funhouse in stores Tuesday, October 28th.