P!nk kicks off big return with ‘What About Us’

'What About Us' by P!nk

Courtesy of RCA
P!nk has been outspoken about her politics, once lambasting former President W. Bush for his stances on gay marriage and homelessness.

By Nicolas Jozefczyk | Staff Writer

Pink. Just the one word might spark the thought of a color, but for many people young and old, it signifies a strong, unapologetic rock star who takes the world by storm. After a small hiatus from writing music for herself, I am thrilled to say that P!nk is finally back in the game with a new single that questions the state of the country, “What About Us,” and the announcement of her new album Beautiful Trauma.

A heavy hitter in the music industry, P!nk had been busy writing a song for Alice Through The Looking Glass, “Just Like Fire,” which peaked at number ten on the Billboard Hot 100 and went platinum in the United States. She was also featured on a Kenny Chesney track “Setting the World on Fire,” which charted number one on Billboard’s “Hot Country Songs.” Lastly, she wrote Ellen’s new theme song for her morning show, “Today’s the Day.”

Even though her singles for different projects were enough to hold fans over, what fans were craving (including myself) was a track that was all her own. That yearning was completely eliminated when she dropped “What About Us.” P!nk is no-holds-barred in this track and has created a song that seeps of today’s current political and social affairs.

For those who are not aware, P!nk is outspoken about her political opinions and does not apologize to anyone for feeling the way she does. For example, P!nk released the song “Dear Mr. President” back in 2006, which questioned the actions of then-President George W. Bush and his stances on war, homosexuality and the homeless.

Without reading too deeply into the lyrics of “What About Us,” it would be relatively easy to miss the connection between “Dear Mr. President” and this new single. On the first or second listen through, the track can come across as being a song about a broken relationship, reminiscent to an earlier single, “Who Knew.” However, after listening to it continuously, as I have done (yes, on repeat, and no, I am not ashamed), the lyrics become more than just the feelings of a lost love.

Take these lines for example: “What about us/ What about all the times you said you had the answers/ What about us/ What about all the broken happy ever afters.” On the surface, these lyrics can be taken as P!nk questioning her past relationship with whomever. But examining them through the context of the singer’s staunch politics, they suddenly become a very obvious allegory for current U.S. politics.

The music video released for the song perfectly portrays this atmosphere, but in a more artistic and subtle way. The beginning of the music video showcases short speeches as well as P!nk getting her head shaved, which cuts to short focuses on a small family and then an African American man who all appear to be in a rundown parking lot. During the second verse of the song, there is dancing between two men that seems painful and longing, which I personally attribute to showing the struggles of homosexual relationships due to bigotry and bias.

There is also a lot of color symbolism in “What About Us” that makes it quite apparent that this song deals mainly with the United States in particular. For example, P!nk in a couple scenes is very blatantly wearing blue eye shadow, one man has a part of his head colored red, there are red and blue flashing cop car lights and hidden in the background of one of the shots is a small American flag.

The song itself is strong, but when paired to the music video, it speaks volumes. P!nk released a powerful single that shows what is happening right now with hatred, and I can only imagine what other strong and meaningful music is yet to come off of her next album. I would encourage everyone to listen to this single and definitely mark down the release date of Beautiful Trauma (October 13) in your calendars. P!nk is back.

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