Pink on her new CD and her ''tortured childhood.'' She sold 5 million albums by baring her soul, but now it's time for the singer to take things less personally
Credit: Pink Photograph by Matthias Clamer

Try This

Pink’s upcoming album, ”Try This” (November), sounds more like Joan Jett than the pop-R&B she first made her name with — although there are familiar soulful touches along the way. It’s also a little bit less bracingly personal than her last album, the 5-million-selling ”Missundaztood.” She tells why.

You did most of the new album with Tim Armstrong of the punk band Rancid as producer and cowriter. It sounds from some things you’ve said like you were a little tentative with him at first.
I wasn’t tentative, I was scared of him. [Laughs] Rancid’s been around forever and is one of the most authentic of the true punk bands. It was my brother’s favorite band when I was in junior high school. I’m not intimidated by too many people, but when he came up to me at a video shoot and said, ”I’ve got a song for you,” I was like [squeaky, timid voice], ”Okay, I’ll do it.” It’s a punk-rock band and he’ll probably be pissed off at me for saying this, but he writes f—in’ awesome melodies.

The music industry phased out singles in order to force people to buy albums. But now, because of downloading, the consumer has really forced the industry to sell singles again. Does that work for you?
I write a book with my album, and if you just get one song, you’re not getting the whole picture. So yeah, I’d love you to hear everything. But if people only heard one song off ”Missundaztood,” my interviews would be a lot easier, because I wouldn’t have to go into therapy sessions [every time I did an interview].

Do journalists want to get too personal with you because of the vulnerability of songs like ”Family Portrait”?
Obviously, I wanted to talk about [my life], and there it is. But every interview is like, ”You’re a very tormented child, aren’t you? How was your childhood?” I’m like, ”I don’t f—in’ know. Like anybody else’s.” So that was a song I was a little paranoid about. That’s why the video was the way it was. It was a little girl singing instead of me, because it’s too much for me. That little girl was me. That’s how I was when I was seven years old. Except I wasn’t as cute. [Laughs]

Did your revelations affect your family?
After ”Family Portrait,” I was like, ”I should not have done this.” And I took it home to my mom and she cried for four days. It was s— we never talked about. And my mom was like, ”I didn’t know that the divorce affected you that deeply.” And I’m like, ”It didn’t. I don’t think it did. I just needed to write that song. Everybody please leave me the f— alone! I’m not a tormented teenager anymore! I’m 21, 22. Leave me alone!”

That sounds uncomfortable.
I found myself walking out of interviews in tears. Like, ”Dude, I can’t do this anymore. It’s too much. I already explained it. I don’t want to have to tell you all over again.” Therefore now at 24, or almost 24, I’m like, ”Okay, my album is about her, and him, and don’t f—in’ ask!” [Laughs]

If you could do things over, would you have revealed less about your life?
No, I don’t regret it for a second, only because of the feedback that I get from people who listen to my music. Like ”I got back with my mom. I hadn’t talked to my mom for two and a half years, and I talked to her again because of that song you did.” And ”I’m okay with being fat because of that song you did.” And ”I didn’t kill myself that day because of that song you did.” And ”My parents were divorced too, and that song you did…” And I’m like, cool. Right on. It had a purpose, then.

Try This
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