March 10, 2006
Fourth Album Exposes Maturity
"I don't pick a different group to trash in each song. Most of the time, I'm just trashing myself."
Alecia Moore's father is a Vietnam veteran and a staunch Republican. She is a devout Democrat. There was a point when their political differences almost ruined their relationship, until they decided not to talk about the war in Iraq, abortion, the government's failure to locate Osama bin Laden or any of President Bush's speeches or initiatives.
Then, Moore ó- known to the world as Pink -ó wrote a simple song called "Dear Mr. President" with songwriter/producer Billy Mann. Taking a young girl's perspective, Moore sings: "Dear Mr. President/What do you feel when you see all the homeless in the street?/Who do you pray for at night before you go to sleep?/What do you feel when you look in the mirror?/Are you proud?"
"This is one of the smarter songs I've ever written," Moore says. "My way is usually waving the flag and saying, 'You're wrong, burn in hell.' This is subtle and provocative, and it's very innocent."
"Dear Mr. President," which features the Indigo Girls, may never be released as a commercial single, but Zomba Label Group president/CEO Barry Weiss says it will surely get critical acclaim and buzz.
"I'm Not Dead," Moore's fourth album, will be released April 4 in the U.S. via La Face/Zomba and April 3 internationally. Weiss says Moore has matured with this release -- as a singer and a songwriter. "She is among the best singers in the world, and people don't really realize it."
Above all, this album is pure Pink: rebellious and beautiful.
Not to worry -- Moore does take out her flag and attack stereotypes and negative images. The album's first single, "Stupid Girls," is an assault on Hollywood's obsession with thin, blonde and beautiful. In the video, which more than 8.6 million people downloaded as soon as it was available on the Internet, Moore mocks the likes of Jessica Simpson, Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan, among others -- and in a very telling scene, shows the repulsiveness and destructiveness of bulimia.
In fact, shortly after the video was released, the International Assn. of Eating Disorder Professionals issued a statement saying the song "highlights the culture's relentless and unrealistic pursuit of thinness and unattainable drive for physical beauty."
Moore, sitting in a New York bar, bounces in her chair and sips a glass of red wine. She is excited that "Stupid Girls," a song she fought for, a song her label did not want to release as the first single, is inspiring dialogue and raising awareness. It is healing for her, because she suffers, too. Moore has "fat days." She has days when she gets depressed and feels like she is not good enough. She is not superhuman, she is honest. She says writing and singing about it is cathartic. She wants young women to know they are not alone.
"I'm not trashing everyone in 12 tracks," she says. "I don't pick a different group to trash [in] each song. Most of the time, I'm just trashing myself."
The label changed its tune about "Stupid Girls" once it saw the video. "God, did she hit a chord," Weiss says.
Zomba Label Group senior VP of marketing Janet Kleinbaum says that because Moore is such a visual artist, the label actually released the video before going to radio with "Stupid Girls."
"Radio programmers went online to download the audio from the video in order to get it on radio," Kleinbaum says. "Lyrically, it's an important voice for her. It's a topic that a lot of people have wanted to comment on, but haven't."
Moore admits, "The first single is always hard, because it's supposed to represent a record that pretty much is like the first single. But with me, my only consistent thread is my voice, not even my humor is the same. My albums are just so eclectic. It's not all just funny, it's not all deep. It's everything in between."
Moore's breakthrough album was her 2001 sophomore release "M!ssundaztood," which sold more than 5.2 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Her next effort, "Try This," which hit stores in 2004, only sold 701,000 copies.
"'Try This' was my rebellion against deadlines," she says. "Fine, you want your f***ing records, I'll write 10 songs in a week, and you can press it and put it out. I don't have to think about it, I don't have to get emotionally invested. I was tired of talking about divorce. I was tired of talking about my life and talking about being lonely. I walked out of half of my interviews crying. I needed to coast for a while, and that's what I did."
Moore did not just coast -- she got back to herself; married her longtime boyfriend, motocross star Carey Hart; and spent time with her dogs. When she was ready, she headed back to the recording studio to make the album she wanted to make.
For Moore, the most fulfilling part of recording "I'm Not Dead" was her father's reaction to "Dear Mr. President."
"I saw goose bumps on his arms," Moore recalls. "He said, 'I feel like I'm back in the '60s. Isn't it great that you live in a country where you can say those things and they can be heard? Good for you for exercising the right that we fought for.'"
In Moore's view, "Bush is the worst president the United States has ever had." After hearing "Dear Mr. President," her father told her, "I think you're right."