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P!nk’s new album ‘Hurts 2B Human’ features only momentary flashes of greatness

Surprisingly mediocre release marred by banal lyrics that sound like they could have been crafted by anyone



huts 2B human review, P!nk, gay news, Washington Blade
P!nk has always been a breath of fresh air in pop music. Sadly her new record lacks the punch and buzz of her earlier records. (Photo courtesy RCA)

Punk, independent, rebellious — these are just a few of the adjectives that P!nk brings to mind. From “Just Like A Pill” to “U+Ur Hand” and “So What,” her music has been synonymous with a defiant, feminist attitude that is refreshing in the predictable romantic intrigues of most pop songs. But with her 2017 album “Beautiful Trauma,” P!nk’s music has taken a softer turn. Her newly released “Hurts 2B Human” continues in this direction, making this her least rambunctious album so far.

Of course, it’s normal for artist to go through major changes over the course of their careers, and P!nk has already had several distinct stylistic periods. The earliest album “Can’t Take Me Home” (2000) has strong R&B influences, as does “Missundaztood” (2001), though it begins to turn toward pop/rock. By the release of “I’m Not Dead” (2003), especially on albums “I’m Not Dead” (2006) and “Funhouse” (2008), her music had taken a seeming definitive turn toward rock. 

With the “Beautiful Trauma” in 2017, however, her music becomes decidedly more self-reflective, a change that was well received by fans the album landed at the Billboard no. 1 spot. But charts are not, of course, correlated to quality, and P!nk seems to be losing much of what makes her music distinct.

The new album opens with “Hustle,” an uptempo pop track that has some of the attitude of the older P!nk albums. Her vocals are still top-notch, but the music is without its usual edge. “(Hey Why) I Miss You Sometime” is a mediocre dance-pop track with banal lyrics, almost to the point of absurdity: “Big time Johnny Cash kind of love/McDonald’s type of love/Can’t find my clothes kind of love/We dominate this love.” It’s a mostly meaningless wash of pop culture references.

The lead single “Walk Me Home” is standard pop fare, but works well nonetheless. It’s incredibly catchy and destined for significant radio play. And it’s certainly one of the better tracks on the album.  The same could be said for “Hurts 2B Human,” another inoffensive pop cut.

“Can We Pretend,” one of the more danceable tracks on the album, is unlikely to earn her any political points. It espouses a kind of escapism at the opposite pole from Barbra Streisand’s music activism, and equally clunky: “Can we pretend that we both like the president?/Can we pretend that I really like your shoes? Hell yeah/Can we pretend? ‘Cause honestly, reality, it bores me.” 

The unfortunate part about P!nk’s new album is its commonality. Most of the songs could be sung be absolutely anyone. And this has never been the case with P!nk. A rendition of “U+Ur Hand” by any other artist is unimaginable. The album is not bad so much as disappointing in its mediocrity. One of the most distinct voices in pop music is starting to sound like every other.

“Courage,” another of the inoffensive yet predictable tracks on the album, repeats a vocal hook quite similar to the one in Katy Perry’s “Chained To The Rhythm,” and indeed, it sounds like a pop song that is already two years old.

The album has a few happy exceptions, mostly in the way of semi-acoustic tracks. It makes one think a mostly acoustic album would have worked much better. “My Attic” is among the happy few. Her vocals are excellent throughout and musically, it’s one of the more harmonically complex songs on the album. 

The best song is without a doubt her duet with country singer Chris Stapleton. It’s a surprisingly good country song, one that may well find its way to country radio. It’s a bold choice and a testament to P!nk’s versatility as an artist. And the song is beautiful, even if she goes a little carried away with the country accent. Likewise, the song “Circle Game,” which talks about motherhood and her relationship with her daughter, is a touching, well-crafted track. But if the album takes a turn for the better around the last four songs, it’s too little too late.

The path to mediocrity is well trodden. Nonetheless, it is a shame to see such a singular voice head in that direction.


Music & Concerts

New dance single pays tribute to Town Danceboutique

Local musicians pen ‘Town’ in honor of shuttered club



Bryce Bowyn (Photo by Clarissa Villondo)

The closing of the LGBTQ nightclub Town Danceboutique in the summer of 2017 was heartbreaking to local musician Bryce Bowyn. He and his Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter friend Lexie Martin decided to honor its legacy in their new single, “Town.”

For Bowyn, who moved to the District about a decade ago to attend school at American University, the memories he has from Town Danceboutique are endless. And when it closed, it was a massive loss to Bowyn and many others. 

“It was such a cool space,” Bowyn said. “It was just disappointing to see a place that brought so many people together become part of the landscape again.” The building Town Danceboutique used to be housed in is now home to upscale apartments and a CVS. 

Town Danceboutique was a formative place for Bowyn and Martin, and it was Bowyn’s first experience in an open and accepting LGBTQ environment. His favorite memories at the club were always on Halloween, he said. Patrons, including Bowyn, would go all out with their costumes to look their very best. 

Bowyn and Martin met while they were both in the musical theater program at American University. Despite their years-long friendship, “Town” is the first song they have written together. They sat down over FaceTime and got to work. It was Martin’s idea to pay homage to Town Danceboutique, and the song follows the story of pre-gaming, going out, and hitting the dance floor. 

But the single also serves as a hype song for going out in any city, at any place. 

“It was important to me for the song to remain relatable and accessible,” Bowyn said. “So the whole foundation of the chorus, ‘Let’s go to town,’ can either mean Town Danceboutique, or painting the town red and having the night of your life.”

Bowyn started writing and producing his own music in 2018. He released an EP titled “A Rosy Retrospect” in 2022, and most recently released a single “A Bridge Burned Down” in June. His music is inspired by late 2000s pop and ‘80s synthpop, influenced by stars like Madonna and Charli XCX. Lexie Martin released her self-titled EP in 2019 and most recently came out with her single “SUPERPOWER” in 2021. 

Bowyn has been a lifelong pop music enthusiast. He distinctly remembers watching Britney Spears perform “Oops!…I Did It Again” at the MTV Video Music Awards when he was a kid and thinking “That was what I wanted and what I was set to do in life.”

“My heart was always with pop music,” Bowyn said. 

“Town” is available now for streaming on Spotify, Apple Music, and Soundcloud.

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Music & Concerts

From Monáe to Madonna, fall will rock in D.C.

Local venues hosting array of queer artists in coming months



Madonna’s delayed tour is slated to hit D.C. Dec. 18 and 19. (Screen capture via YouTube)

The D.C. area has many LGBTQ musical acts to look forward to this fall. Starting with pansexual and nonbinary actor and R&B singer Janelle Monáe, performing at the Anthem on Sept. 24-25 with ticket prices ranging from $135 to $301 on StubHub.

Janelle Monáe comes to the Anthem later this month. (Screen capture via YouTube)

Singer Hozier’s “Unreal Unearth Tour” is coming to the Anthem on Sept. 26-27. Tickets are available on StubHub starting at $324.

On Sept. 28 the CFG Bank Arena in Baltimore will see lesbian pop artist SZA’s “SOS Tour” with tickets starting at $165 on Ticketmaster. 

Queer indie pop singer Ashnikko is coming to the Anthem on Sept. 29 to perform their “Weedkiller Tour.” Tickets available on StubHub range from $49 to $279.

Coming to Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Md., is the All Things Go Festival. Performing are lesbian singers Tegan and Sara, alt-pop singer Lana Del Rey, pop singer Carly Rae Jepson, and more. The festival will take place Sept. 30-Oct. 1 with two day passes starting at $397 on SeatGeek.  

Rock band Queen will perform “The Rhapsody Tour” at the CFG Bank Arena along with Adam Lambert on Oct. 4-5. Tickets are starting at $181 on Ticketmaster. 

Pop star and trans woman Kim Petras’ “Feed the Beast World Tour” will reach the Anthem on Oct 12. Tickets range from $72 to $817 on StubHub. 

Kim Petras brings the ‘Feed the Beast World Tour’ to the Anthem in October. (Photo by Thom Kerr)

Queer pop singer Kesha is coming to the Anthem on Oct. 29 to support her new album, “Gag Order.” Tickets go from $86 to $261 on Event Ticket Center. 

Queer pop rapper Shygirl is co-headlining with bisexual singer Tinashe for the “Nymph” tour at the Anthem on Nov. 5. Tickets range from $45 to $145 on Ticketmaster.

Indie band Men I Trust is performing at Echostage on Nov. 15. Tickets are available on Ticketmaster for $30. 

Nonbinary rapper Lil Uzi Vert’s “PINK TAPE TOUR” will be at the Anthem on Nov. 21. Tickets start at $90 on StubHub. 

Doja Cat’s “The Scarlett Tour” will reach Capital One Arena on Nov. 27. Tickets start at $100 on Ticketmaster. 

Madonna will bring her highly anticipated and delayed “The Celebration Tour” to the Capital One Arena Dec. 18 and 19. Tickets are available on Ticketmaster starting at $110.

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Music & Concerts

Tom Goss to perform at Rehoboth Beach Bear Weekend

Out singer entertains at the Sands Hotel



Tom Goss (Photo by Dusti Cunningham)

Out singer Tom Goss will perform at the Rehoboth Beach Bear Weekend on Saturday, Sept. 16 at 7 and 9 p.m. at the Sands Hotel. 

He will sing his memorable songs like “Son of a Preacher Man” and “Bears,” as well as tracks from his new album, “Remember What It Feels Like,” where he sings about being a 42-year-old gay man still reeling from his husband’s infidelity who was recently conned by a lover with a secret life now serving time in prison. 

Tickets to Rehoboth Beach Bear Weekend start at $20 and can be purchased on Eventbrite

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