Pink’s pop album packs a punch, embarrassed columist relieved

John Hult

John Hult

Perhaps I could explain my choice for a record this week in terms of a steadfast devotion to some pretentious sort of populist ethic, whereby a critic must routinely cleanse his/herself to appease “the little people” by shedding their pompous skin and reviewing pop on pop’s terms.

But that would be bogus.

For one thing, I don’t begrudge all pop the way as a pretentious music critic ought to. As much as I’d like to be cool enough to detest every bit of it, I can’t help but hum along to it.

I also know that its truth and soul, not style, that makes great music.

OK, that’s bogus, too.

The puffy-poo pop record on the slab was chosen for shallow reasons . Its all because of Linda Perry and Lady Marmelade.

While the latter reasoning is practically self-explanatory, the former could be unclear.

Linda Perry, as some of you probably know, is the dreadlocked, boot-stomping power soprano behind the 4 Non Blondes and their one-hit wonderful 1994 rain song “What’s Up.”

So when I read that the former Non-Blonde was writing and producing for my favorite “Moulan Rouge” booty-shaker, I was sold.

I was also intrigued by the Pink-ly one’s promotional talk of da rock. She told USA Today that there was a strong rock feel to her new record.

So I pranced into the record store to pick up a copy of the shamefully goofy-titled “Misundaztood.”

I almost felt dirty. Here I was?a full grown man, standing in the record store holding a teeny-pop record with an airbrushed uberhottie on the cover.

To make things worse, it had atomic pink stickers on the cellophane that practically blinded me if I held the thing at the wrong angle and allowed it to catch the unforgiving florescent lights. The explosive foo-foo glare nearly knocked the poor clerkboy straight through the wall.

With the contraband effectively concealed in an inconspicuous brown paper bag, I was able to salvage enough dignity and eyesight to make it out of the shop and drive home safely.

All right, enough with the exposition.

“Misandaztood” is Pink’s second record under the competent tutelidge of Antonio “LA” Reid, whose credits include executive production of last year’s best album, Outkast’s “Stankonia.”

He also pumps out hit after pop hit for his LaFace Records R&B factory faster than a Kathie Lee sweat shop turns out Nikes.

But Pink wrote or co-wrote nearly every tune, although Ms. Perry and Dallas Austin pick up the producing credits.

With the exception of a few plodding attempts at balladry and blues, Pink has managed to put together a jarringly digable album. Although the hooks themselves may not always hit the infectious heights of Destiny’s Child, she certainly outdoes Britney and her style-biting clones.

Pink, by the way, is not exactly one of the Britneyphite vultures. She has cultivated from her beginning the bad-girl image even though she never discloses too many details.

On the supposedly confessional “Dear Diary” for example, we eagerly await her confessions and learn that her father left her, she’s made undisclosed bad choices and that she has a guardian angel tattoo.

Hardly a worthy plea for pity, but just enough to separate her from the virginal flock and give her an edge in the overcrowded pop market.

Her newly utilized rock chops help as well. They become evident on the catchy opening title track and lightly pepper the dance tunes until the opening thumps of the Perry penned single “Get This Party Started.”

So what if it’s not deep? So what if she can’t sing the blues?she is only 20, and Steven Tyler doesn’t fare much better on the duet, anyhow.

When I get a pop record, I want something dumb, danceable and funny. Pink delivers on all three fronts. “Misundazstood” is a fine escape.

Besides, even pompous, underpaid critics need the occasional sojourn from the blinding glare of their unrelenting genius.