Since her breakthrough at the turn of the century, Pink has carved out a niche as one of pop’s most restless real talkers—songs like “Family Portrait,” “Fuckin’ Perfect,” and “Dear Mr. President” have seemed to bubble out of her experiences and ruminations in real time, and the conviction and vocal power with which she delivers them makes them hit harder.
Pink’s ninth album, Trustfall, is named after the plunges people take when they want to test the devotion of those around them—a fitting metaphor for the Pennsylvania-born superstar on multiple levels. Not only is she known for zipping around arena rafters while performing aerial tricks at her live shows; she’s also become someone who listeners can rely on over the past two decades. Musically, she uses the overarching idea of “pop” as a way for her to apply her raspy, strong voice to other genres, while lyrically, her words, which don’t shy away from irascibility or eye-rolling, feel like they’re coming from a genuine place, even when they’re penned by other writers.
Take Trustfall’s opener “When I Get There.” The heartstring-tugging cut, which was written by Amy Wadge and David Hodges, came across Pink’s transom while she was grieving her father, who passed away in August 2021. Pink’s voice is bell-clear as she recalls details of her dad’s life and wonders about what he’s doing in the next dimension—”Are you up there climbing trees, singing brand new melodies?” she muses. It’s a stirring portrait of how people deal with grief, but Pink’s performance personalizes it, making it more immediate.
Over Trustfall’s 13 tracks, Pink whirls through a wide range of musical styles—beat-forward electro on the title track, roller-rink-ready disco-funk on the Max Martin and Shellback-assisted “Never Gonna Not Dance Again,” spiky pop-punk on the middle-finger-flinging “Hate Me.” “Feel Something,” meanwhile, is a smoldering midtempo ballad, Pink’s words spilling out in a seemingly stream-of-consciousness manner as she grapples with the idea of being loved.
Trustfall’s three credited guests—Colorado folkies The Lumineers, Swedish Americana duo First Aid Kit, and country traveler Chris Stapleton—each appear on songs that show how Pink would handle a country crossover. The answer, perhaps unsurprisingly given her scrappy personality and raspy alto, is “very well, thank you.” The simmering “Long Way to Go,” the Lumineers collaboration, and the rueful “Kids in Love,” which features a galloping acoustic guitar, are both excellent vehicles for her voice. Stapleton, who also dueted with Pink on 2019’s Hurts 2B Human, closes out Trustfall with “Just Say I’m Sorry,” a standoff between two lovers who won’t back down from their sides of a fight. Pink and Stapleton’s voices are well-matched, with each possessing an edge that adds gravity to whatever disagreement sparked the song’s central conflict. The song ends with Stapleton and Pink singing “I love you” to one another, although the argument doesn’t seem to be fully resolved. That’s how life goes sometimes, though, and Pink’s appeal comes from her ability to turn the everyday into the stereo-ready.