“I’ve always had something to prove in America,” says Pink, 33, curled up barefoot on a couch in her suite at Santa Monica’s Shutters on the Beach. “The Grammys … that was my moment. I waited my whole life for that. That was my ‘A-ha.’”
Despite a career fueled by rebellion, pink hair and unconventional pop anthems — her latest jam, “Blow Me (One Last Kiss),” is currently No. 6 — the gal born Alecia Moore still feels like she’s cutting her teeth. And in a way, she is.
It’s been more than a decade since Moore scored her first No. 1 single, 2001’s “Lady Marmalade,” and since she’s been reinventing the tough-gal formula that first got the party started with her debut, “Can’t Take Me Home,” in 2000. That reinvention has seen her try her hand at R&B; and punk sounds, hang upside down over a vat of water while singing “Glitter in the Air” at the 2010 Grammys, and become a mother.
But with her sixth album, “The Truth About Love” (out Tuesday), Pink is offering more of her classic self: thrashing pop-rock anthems brimming with brash lyrics and confessional ballads. It’s a return to her bawdy roots after her last album, 2008’s “Funhouse,” showcased her heartache after separating from husband, motocross racer Carey Hart. The pair reconciled and had their first child, Willow Sage, in 2011.
Pink teamed with producer Greg Kurstin (Foster the People, Kelly Clarkson, the Shins) for the first time — he contributed a handful of tracks including “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)” — and called on previous collaborators Max Martin, Shellback, Billy Mann and Butch Walker. There are also guest spots, something she rarely does, from Lily Rose Cooper (formerly Allen), Eminem and, on the sweeping duet “Just Give Me a Reason,” fun.'s Nate Ruess.
Irreverent numbers full of punchy quips like “Slut Like You” and “Walk of Shame” coexist with the intense vulnerability of second single “Try,” stunning closer “The Great Escape” and Cooper-assisted “True Love.”
“At the same time I wanna hug you, I wanna wrap my hands around your neck, you’re an …,” she sings on “True Love.” “But I love you, and you make me so mad I ask myself why I’m still here or where could I go, you’re the only love I’ve ever known, but I hate you, I really hate you, so much I think it must be true love.”
“For me, it’s medicine,” says Pink. “I keep journals everyday. People ask me what makes me feel better, and I’m like [writing]. I just do it on a public forum … poor Carey. I think he got used to it after a while.”
“The Truth About Love” will be her first disc on RCA, after a restructuring led to previous label LaFace, Arista, J and Jive being consolidated. RCA Music Group Chief Executive Peter Edge believes it’s her best.
“She hasn’t lost any of her fire or her daring lyrical elements. [Some of the album] makes you go, ‘Ooh, this is an eyebrow raiser,’” he said. “She’s the real deal and she’s proven that she can deliver a great pop song, but on the other hand she can sing anything she chooses to sing. And she does that.”
Pink jokes that she’s made a sport out of hurting the people around her, and while some of her tunes carry a sting, her uber-direct approach has turned her into one of pop’s more down-to-earth role models. Her last singles, “Raise Your Glass” and "… Perfect,” an inspiring tune of self-acceptance, are durable numbers that tackle dark matter like depression, self-mutilation and suicide — definitely not typical top 40 fodder (they hit No. 1 and No. 2, respectively).
The tracks came from her first career retrospective, “Greatest Hits … So Far” — a disc she was initially against. “Those two songs were a blessing because I was supposed to be out of sight, out of mind,” she says. “They kind of took off and that was the first time something good happened for me without a bunch of promo.”
Pink has also blazed a trail for a generation of anti-pop stars including Rihanna, Katy Perry, Kesha, Lady Gaga and Kelly Clarkson. It isn’t something she puts much worth into, though she thinks it’s “great to see how many females are dominating right now.” It’s one of many talking points that make Moore break into laughter.
What interests Moore is getting back on the road. Her last outing allowed her transition into a touring artist after the ambitious carnival-themed Funhouse tour broke records in Australia (she did nearly 30 dates in Sydney and Melbourne alone).
She credits six years of European touring for “perfecting [her live] craft” and is hoping that translates for her U.S. tour, set to launch in February. The tour will keep her on the road until 2014. Moore also recently announced partnerships with Target and Cover Girl that she hopes will benefit the album and tour’s stateside campaign.
“I have already gone to Vegas and seen every show I can see,” she says. “I just try to look at every different medium and put it all together for a fantastic orgasm of emotions. I can’t wait to interpret [the album] live and figure out where I can hang upside down.”