It’s a big day for pop music with the new single “ME!” from Taylor Swift and the release of Pink‘s eighth album, Hurts 2B Human.
The fearless singer delivers an exhilarating mix of proud anthems (“Hustle”) and introspective ballads (“Happy”), as well as top-notch collaborations with Chris Stapleton, Nate Ruess, and Khalid. It Hurts soooooo good.
EW talked to the superstar about the new album, touring, and who exactly f—s with her.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What was the inspiration behind Hurts 2B Human?
PINK: I am very much a mystery bag. You put your hands in me and you have no idea what you’re gonna get out. That’s just how I do it. I don’t believe in genres. I just believe in music and speaking your heart. I usually go on tour and stop writing altogether but we just never stopped. I just never stopped.
The collaborations just kind of all came together. I had this song I wrote in Nashville and I thought, wouldn’t it be so cool if Chris Stapleton would sing with me? And then he said yes and I had to pinch myself. Then I thought, this song needs Khalid, and then he said yes. He said yes because his mom likes me. I’ve crossed over. Someone I think is my age will walk up to me in an airport and be like, “Hey! My mom loves you!” And I’m like, “F—! I mean thank you!”
You mentioned Khalid. He duets with you on the title track. Why did you decide to name the album Hurts 2B Human?
When this song happened, it hit a string in me that just resonates. I feel like in 2019 if you’re present and not totally escaping your feelings and you’re looking around at what’s going on in the world, especially this country, it hurts. It f—ing hurts your heart. If you choose to remain open-hearted, then it’s just going to hurt for a while. I think that’s a good thing because that’s what creates change and I think we’re starting to see change and see people show up and fight back. Also, being a woman and Khalid being an African American male in America, it f—ing hurts.
I also think it’s a really hopeful song. If you watch the news you think everybody hates each other, everybody’s an a—hole, everybody’s a douchebag — but that’s not true. A lot of us out there are not like that and a lotta people out there do have each other’s backs and that’s what it’s gonna take to usurp the bullsh— that’s happening. So that’s why I especially wanted Khalid to be on that record with me aside from I love his voice. I love who he is. He’s young and awesome and the sweetest person in the world. I always name the album after a song title and this one felt the most true to what’s going on right now.
There’s a lot of joy on this album but also a sense of melancholy about our current world.
There’s so much nastiness and so much bickering and so much blame and so much tension. I’m a person that’s engaged in the world. I’m traveling throughout the world. I’m around a lotta people all the time. I’m on tour. I am a mother. I have children. I am thinking about all this stuff. I’m the goofiest mother f—er you’re ever going to meet in your life. I laugh more than anybody I know because I like to take the piss out of everything. But I also have this contemplative, serious side and I know we’re all a little bit anxious now. You can’t help but feel that. But there’s always humor and there’s always dancing. These are songs that are a catalyst to all of us getting together to have group therapy and exorcise those demons.
The chorus to the song “Hustle” proclaims “Don’t f— with me.” Who f—s with Pink?
My 2-year-old for one. [Laughs] And my 7-year-old, and she’s getting damn good at it! My husband. My friends. Everybody. I’m a total sucker. You think I’m a badass but I’m all talk. People screw me every day.
“The Circle Game” seems to be inspired by an Instagram post you wrote in honor of your dad last year.
Definitely. Also, my dad had cancer last year. He was my first hero. He was my God when I was a little girl. He’s who taught me to fight for what I believe in. He’s a big part of me. It’s hard when you get to our age and all your friends’ parents start getting older and some are passing on. It’s scary for me. Even though I’m this 39-year-old mother of two and I’m walking through the world with my head up and my shoulders back, at the end of the day I miss my dad and I want my dad to come and fight back for me sometimes. He’s older now and I have to take care of him. It’s just that part of life and it’s inevitable.
The song “Happy” is so revealing. You talk about body image and self-esteem. Do you get nervous about being so open about yourself or is it a release?
It’s a release. I’ve always been a person who likes to shake hands with the elephant in the room. I don’t feel like I’m any different than anybody else but maybe I’m just able to talk about it. I believe in therapy and I think music is therapy.
Your tours find you doing all these acrobatics. Do you think,how can I top that next?
I’ve been trying to figure that out every time. There was this one thing I wanted to do where these drones fly you around on a magic carpet. But then everyone was like, “Well, no, because hackers. They could just, like, steal you!” [Laughs] We talked about me being shot out of a cannon. I didn’t really feel comfortable with that. We’re scratching our heads but we’re going to keep going. “For one night only, she lights herself on fire!” [Laughs]