It's only been a few days, but 2006 is already looking to be pretty busy for Pink — she has a single on the way this month (either "Stupid Girl" or "You and Your Hand"), followed by a new album, followed by her first movie. And to think that when she started working on her fourth album, she felt like the effort would be fruitless.
"When I started, I had not a thought in my head," Pink said. "I was reading The New York Times every day and I was really depressed. 'I suck, no one likes me, I have nothing to say.' Forty-five songs later, they make me stop writing songs."
This time around, Pink chose as her main collaborator Billy Mann, who worked with her on Try This' dance-floor burner "God Is a DJ," before she moved on to work with Butch Walker, the RZA and others. "We pick each other as far as producers go," she said. "It depends where I'm at with my headspace. I don't know until I get there. I don't plan anything. It's where the day takes you, and it took me to a really great place this time."
Pink's not sure how people are going to react to the new batch of songs on I'm Not Dead, an album that's more personal than anything she's ever offered. She even brings aboard her father for one track, singing a song he wrote while serving in Vietnam that taught her how to harmonize when she was a kid. "It's the most adorable experience for a father and daughter to share," she said. "He's just such a folk singer, I just love it. It felt like the '60s."
The '60s touch is also felt on Pink's most political song yet, "Dear Mr. President," an open letter to George W. Bush. "I hope the president is proud of the fact that we live in a country where we can do things like that, where we can have dissent, talk, communicate and share our opinions," she said.
"I also think it's pretty narcissistic to think that one of my songs will be heard by the president of the United States," she laughed, "but hey, that would be really cool."
Don't worry — Pink hasn't gotten all-out folk on us. If anything, most of the songs have a harder rock bent, though a few ballads do pop up. Pink says the wistful "Who Knew" is about the death of a friend as well as the loss of a friendship. "There's a couple different people mixed in," she said. "It's just the grieving process. You can look at somebody, he might be right there, and the next Monday he might not be."
The title track on I'm Not Dead also dissects the end of a relationship, but from a different perspective — seeing what you've gained at the end of it all. It's something that was spawned from Pink and Mann acknowledging the end of their working relationship. "We were scared to move on from each other," she said, "after seeing how much that little bit of time together changed us, and how scary change is. It's sort of the most poetic I've ever gotten in a song. Usually I'm more blunt, but I dig it."
Despite these more personal tracks, Pink describes the album as having a "spectrum of light and color." In other words, it's not as dark as it sounds. Yes, there are songs that are angry ("Dear Mr. President"), but she hopes it promotes change. Yes, there are songs that are "morbid and miserable," but there are also songs that are "very happy." And then there are songs that are all three — such as the push/pull of "Leave Me Alone (I'm Lonely)."
"That's how I live my life. I'm a walking conflict," she laughed. "I guess I turned 25 and sort of woke up. Before, I think, I thought I knew everything and now I realize I have so much left to learn. I just love being here. I love pushing buttons. I love the process of growing up. When you're a teenager, there are moments that you want to die. But you get past that, and then every moment is like, 'I want to live! I have so much to do! I'm not dead! I'm here.' "
Pink's I'm Not Dead is due in March or April, her spokesperson said.