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'Hurts 2B Human' review: Many gorgeous shades of P!nk

P!nk's "Hurts 2B Human" on RCA Records

P!nk's "Hurts 2B Human" on RCA Records Photo Credit: RCA Records

P!NK

"Hurts 2B Human"

BOTTOM LINE Building a superstar pop lane that’s all her own.

P!nk really can do it all.

She can rock out. She can rap. She can sing a gorgeous ballad while spinning on a trapeze. And somehow she boldly does it without compromising her distinctive point of view, musically and literally.

So maybe it should be no surprise that her eighth studio album “Hurts 2B Human” (RCA) is all over the musical map, as she collaborates with R&B star Khalid, rocker Dan Reynolds from Imagine Dragons, and outlaw country savior Chis Stapleton, as well as “Chandelier”-swinger Sia and pop hitmaker Max Martin. But make no mistake, it’s all P!nk.

“Can we pretend that we both like the president?” she asks, with a chuckle, in the EDM banger “Can We Pretend,” her collaboration with Cash Cash that is one of the album’s strongest contenders for a hit. “Can we pretend that I really like your shoes?” Throughout the album, P!nk makes references to a tumultuous world, but rather than letting it get her down, she sings about moving through it with help. In “Walk Me Home,” one of two songs she co-wrote with Oceanside native Scott Harris, she modernizes the unifying folk anthems of Mumford and Sons or The Lumineers to create a call for support. “Say you'll stay with me tonight,” she sings in that full, powerful voice that has become her trademark. “ ‘Cause there is so much wrong going on outside.”

The poignant ballad “Love Me Anyway,” her collaboration with Stapleton, could stand as one of the year’s best songs — like her underrated duet with Nate Ruess, “Just Give Me a Reason.” Not only do their voices fit together beautifully, as P!nk uses the sweeter part of her register to balance Stapleton’s gruffness, but they build a stunning, memorable moment of vulnerability.

It’s one more element on “Hurts 2B Human” that P!nk makes work on her terms, resulting in a genre-spanning triumph.

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