Lady Gaga may be the reigning diva for many, or most, of those in the younger gay generation. But if they'll only reconsider, there is a woman every bit as talented and gay-friendly, and far more palatable. She's even known by a name that's a lovely shade of gay.
That's right, hiding in plain sight all these years as maybe her generation's best and brightest gay diva hope is Alecia Beth Moore, better known as Pink.
(Photo by Andrew Macpherson)
Oh sure, Pink's musical output has been a bit unsteady and haphazard. Just when she got the sassy party started for some, she made others sick from a bit too much schlock, to transpose two of her earliest hits. To be more specific, I liked Pink's 2000 hip-hop-tipped debut Can't Take Me Home, but suffered a case of whiplash with her schlock-rock, mega-successful Missundaztood the very next year. It took me a while to rebound. In hindsight, I see Pink, with her second album, was starting to lay the foundation for her own brand of cartoonish pop/rock – insanely catchy but also caustic, frolicsome but not carefree – which has now reached its zenith, at least so far.
Yes, The Truth About Love is that good. The lyrics offer mostly pithy – and occasionally filthy – observations on the good, the bad and the trivial about love. Love is everything from ''all the poetry that you ever heard'' to a ''sick twist of fate'' to ''morning breath,'' she rattles off in the punk-styled title track, before asserting, ''But those untouched never got … very far.'' And the music, whether in the form of ballads or bangers, is mostly just as raw and ravishing. Despite her working with several big-name producers (Greg Kurstin, old faithful Max Martin), the set is cohesive, a testament to Pink's artistry. (She's the lead writer on all but one of the 13 tracks.)
In her expressive liner notes fully capturing her yin-yang charms, Pink credits her newborn daughter and especially her rekindled marriage to motocross racer Carey Hart – whose separation inspired 2008's bitter but great Funhouse – as the reasons this album is so strong. ''I'm grateful that you continue to amaze me and piss me off so that I have something to write about,'' she says.
Pink's spunky attitude is as much gay man as it is woman. And not just because she flips the script on songs like ''Slut Like You'' – with its Oasis-sampled machismo vocal yells as she talks about wanting sex, not love – and ''Walk of Shame,'' on which she expresses regret for her promiscuity but makes no promises she'll stop. In the end, love – and sex – is worth the fun and the consequences, she's saying. It's a realistic, honest assessment, one that packs more punch because it doesn't gloss over things, or offer generic, overblown sentiments.
By all means, it's time once again to raise your glass to Pink.
DOWNLOAD THESE: ''Walk of Shame,'' ''Slut Like You,'' ''The Truth About Love''
MANY PEOPLE ONLY know one song by Dragonette – and actually the lead credit on last year's dance hit ''Hello'' is DJ/producer Martin Solveig.
Hopefully Bodyparts will go some way to fixing that. The new set, actually the Canadian band's third, includes a couple singles almost as lyrically scandalous – in a gay-appealing way – as the group's breakout international single ''I Get Around'' (from 2007's Galore) or ''Gone Too Far'' (from 2009's wonderfully titled Fixin To Thrill). The slinky ''Right Woman'' lyrically echoes Pink's ''Slut Like You'' – ''Don't you worry, this tramp's a lady,'' the band's Martina Sorbara sings. And then there's the party girl's lament ''My Legs. ''I think I can control the urge,'' she sings, ''but I can't stop my legs, my legs go out late dancing.'' Sure, the lyrics are a bit juvenile – and of course they're all told in Sorbara's girly voice, which, like Robyn's, could be annoying if she weren't so assertive, even cocky. But ultimately, this is the kind of fun, punk-y dance-pop that Madonna was presumably striving for with MDNA. Just listen to the delicious, delirious post-disco-pop of ''Giddy Up'' to hear how ''Give Me All Your Luvin''' could have turned out.
To quote Dragonette, Madonna should have said to Solveig: Giddy up, I'm out the door!
DOWNLOAD THESE: ''Let It Go,'' ''Giddy Up,'' ''My Legs''
IT'S BEEN 11 YEARS since No Doubt's stellar Rock Steady, and during that long hiatus the world fell for Gwen Stefani as a solo star. But after only two albums over the span of just two years mid-decade, even that love grew cool.
Push and Shove doesn't make up for all that lost time, though it does prove the funky Jamaican dub-loving Southern California band has still got some spark left in them. The set launches with the infectious ''Settle Down'' and it offers other highlights, including the seductive jam ''Looking Hot'' and the sunny, sweet ''Gravity.'' There are, however, a few too many cheesy, paint-by-numbers tunes here, especially as the set ends, to suggest the band's chops are getting rusty. So here's hoping they don't wait so long next time around, and try a bit harder.
DOWNLOAD THESE: ''Looking Hot,'' ''Gravity''