I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Pink. Actually, it’s more of a like/don’t like relationship, since she’s never done anything I’ve absolutely loved or completely hated. She keeps presenting herself as a “bad girl,” but I don’t know what’s so bad about her besides the fact that she smokes and likes to snarl and flex her biceps for the paparazzi. If you’re going to be bad, be bad! Trash a hotel room! Kick a puppy! Light someone on fire! Apparently, now you just have to say you’re tough and that’s it – no verification necessary.
I was pleasantly surprised when I saw her new video for “Stupid Girl.” In it, she makes fun of Magazine Stars (I don’t even think I should call them actresses or singers at this point): Lindsay Lohan, Jessica Simpson, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, and the Olsen twins. Now, you may say, “So what? Everyone I know makes fun of them anyway?!” While every normal person might actually understand that Paris Hilton has no talent, or that Jessica Simpson’s mediocre musical career does not warrant the attention she receives, the point is that no one in the media acknowledges this. Every magazine cover, every entertainment news show, everything pouring out of the TV/music/film/magazine industries would have us believe what these people ate for breakfast is important.
So while Saturday Night Live and Kathy Griffin have gone here first, it’s rare and refreshing to see a female pop star make fun of her contemporaries. Cynics may say Pink is using their non-stop presence in print and on TV to help promote herself (and therefore exploit the very problem she’s condemning), but I say: who cares? She’s taking a risk. Even though Pink has fought against being musically associated with the likes of Spears and Simpson by angling for a more “rock” sound, she’s still considered a pop star, and a lot of her fans (especially the younger ones) might take offense to her making fun of their role models.
More importantly, there’s a message behind it. “What happened to the dream of a girl President? She’s dancing in the video next to 50 Cent,” she sings, standing at a podium in a business suit. “Girls with ambition, that’s what I want to see,” she declares, apparently forgetting Paris’ and Nicole Ritchie’s new-found status as “authors.” In the video she’s trying to persuade a young girl to drop the TV remote and pick up a football while making fun of tanorexic singers who writhe around on soapy cars and toothpick munchkins who get into car accidents every other day. Not exactly deep, but hey, it’s a music video, and how many of those even have a message at all?
Unfortunately, the song itself leaves much to be desired. While I’m not a fan of all of Pink’s hits, songs like “Feel Good Time” and, especially, “God is a DJ” are great, booty-shaking anthems. In “Stupid Girls,” the above lyrics make strong points, but the rest consist of boring cliches. Even worse, the production is bland, uninspired pop, the very sonic landscape that she has been fighting to distance herself from on her last two CD’s.
A spoken interlude where she whines that eating over 300 calories is so “not sexy” before sticking a toothbrush down her throat reeks of unoriginality and tastlessness. Can’t Pink mock the media and magazine stars guilty of promoting unhealthy body images without making fun of girls suffering from the results of unrealistic body expectations? And if she can’t, couldn’t she at least be more creative about it?
So I’m back to my like/don’t like relationship with Pink. Even with the song’s flaws, it’s still great to see a female pop star be funny and sexy at the same time while belting it out with a raw, rock-tinged voice. However, considering how eager she is to criticize the lack of authentic talent and personality in our celebrity-obsessed culture, I wish Pink had made sure her music was up to her own creative standards.