When you have a lantern-jawed puss that looks like Kevin Bacon in drag on a very bad day (see the back booklet photo) and you dress like a thrift-shop hooker shamelessly trolling in a Bavarian booze can on Melanie Griffith Appreciation Night (see the inner tray photo), then you’d better have a good voice to compensate for your myriad shortcomings (see all the other photos).
Which Pinky does, at least on a technical level. Like so many of today’s prefabricated chantoozies on the lookout for those valuable cross-market royalty checks, she can do the snotty pout like Billy Idol in drag to snag the tattooed youth brigade, yet is equally adept at anointing the older masses by adopting the modern obnoxious gimmick of taking a single syllable word and splitting it into five separate octaved parts until she sounds like a seasoned Vegas veteran ululating the national anthem at Super Bowl XXXVIII.
But that’s not singing, it’s just a clinically calculated technique that bares Pinky’s teeth more than it bares her soul. And while such look-at-me show-off affectations exemplify what passes for emotive expression these days, in reality these distasteful displays amount to little more than a rote warm-up recital of scales.
This little Pinky went to market, but her platinum drag queen Harlow haircut doesn’t automatically bequeath her a sense of style any more than her acerbated aerobic shouting denotes passion. And without genuine heartfelt passion, Try This collapses in an overwrought opportunistic heap of polished insincerity that makes Bat Out Of Hell sound like “Ava Maria” by comparison.
Because for all its trendy schlock-rockin’ beats ’n’ ballads, this music from big Pinky was designed by a demographic-driven devil and forged in the cold corporate fires of playlist hell. But such a soul sacrifice is the unholy price one must pay to be all things to all consumers — even if the side effects do include developing a schizoid, split personality.
Which is why Parental Protector Pinky has an explicit content advisory sticker on her front cover, Punky Posh Pinky has a notation in her liner notes which exhorts her fans to “embrace the freak that you are!” and Prissy Prude Pinky censors all the dirty words in her lyric sheet as f*** and a** and s***.
In other words, this is one pondering Pinky who’s badly in need of a Brain. And that’s the biggest drag of all.
E-mail Jeffrey Morgan at [email protected].