Twenty-three years as a fleeting staple of pop, and the best P!nk can manage on her latest album is a collaboration with The Lumineers. Adult contemporary pop, what a treat. Nine albums in and a similar, inevitable trajectory for all of those means she and the likes of Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran and Adele can secure a spot at the top of the charts regardless of quality. Trustfall has little to show for itself despite the spotty promise shown over a decade ago on Funhouse. P!nk has now pivoted toward ballad-like pop, tracks that hope to reflect on a career so far in spotty moments of grief. Flat and empty tracks are constant here, even when the focus or momentum is not typical of chart-topping grievances. Common inconsistencies are the pace-breaker here.
When I Get There may be a touching and personal tribute to P!nk’s father, but the dull ballad tones are struck out entirely by the disastrous whines that underscore title track Trustfall. Absolutely no trust in this fall, P!nk rattles through a set of passive bits and pieces. Focusing in on the lyrics, the mixing that underlines all these songs, gives absolutely nothing of interest away. No hidden heroics, no implemented meaning, just blank soft pop filler for a listener to apply their own experiences to. Turbulence tries to draw comparisons between a relationship ending and a plane crash. It is as clumsy in premise as it is in execution. Long Way to Go also marks a bit of irony, with the album showing no signs of stopping as The Lumineers and P!nk promise they must go. They do not.
Instead, a selection of heavy, absent ballads pour through. The First Aid Kit featuring Kids in Love is a high point for the album that bases itself almost entirely on the folk duo in the featured section. Shallow and upbeat is P!nk’s forte, with Never Gonna Not Dance Again as squeaky-clean as it is hopeful that Whitney Houston namedrops will bring about some relevance. Instead, the boomer pop core of hitting back at TikTok and the disconnect between the real world and technology makes for an uninteresting listen. One of many. Upbeat pop tones of a Push It To The Limit variety are available on Runaway, but the limited impressions they give, and the defiant ignorance of a track like Hate Me, gives way to the power struggle between charts and artists who rely on that placement.
Essential tracks for those who have yet to pick a genre they like. Music for listeners who use songs as background noise and hope to chew down on something passive yet imitable despite the bland qualities. Broadness is the key and for P!nk that means casting a broad net of worthless pop tracks. Boring and flat, this was never the usual gambit P!nk would maintain, but the self-aggrandization and the attempt to wrap that in details of family life and respect for parents is a strange mix. Once a powerful force for pop now phones it in with personal ballads that move a listener with emotional guilt rather than smart writing or specific, touching mixes. Consider where pop was this time ten years ago. Quite the shift from Lorde, Lady Gaga and Daft Punk’s domination of the charts. There is no trust in the fall of Trustfall, another empty-shell pop album for the masses. Particularly rigid and unmoving tracks give everything they have, which turns out to be out-of-touch emptiness and shallow ballads hoping to use grief as a crutch for uninspired messages.