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Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2002




Alecia Moore, better known as Pink, was just another cog in the teen dance-pop machine when producer Daryl Simmons asked her to write a bridge for a song she was performing with a vocal group. The snippet impressed label honcho L.A. Reid enough to win her a solo contract, but not enough to allow her the kind of creative freedom she wanted. Her debut, "Can't Take Me Home," is the sound of a young woman fighting her producers for control of her music.

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That album went platinum, and a quick scan of the lyrics on her double-platinum followup, "Missundaztood," confirms what she gave up to earn it. "L.A. told me, you'll be a pop star," she sings in "Don't Let Me Get Me," "All you have to change is who you are." Still, the fact that she can say such a thing proves she won the battle. The new record replaces the teen-pop R&B of the debut with more-or-less standard rock. It also contains two indulgences that at first glance spell trouble: youthful self-examination and Linda Perry as a cowriter. As the brassy lead vocalist of 4 Non-Blondes, Perry was one of the more overbearing figures of '90s pop, but her exaggerated phrasing and girl-positive themes sound natural coming out of 21-year-old Pink's mouth. What's more, Pink's tales of self-discovery as a lonely, not pretty girl have more immediacy than those Ani Difranco used to tell, because the Philadelphia native doesn't aestheticize them the way Difranco did. As she demonstrates in "Just Like a Pill," she's a real rock chick. While rock chicks often give the impression they just wanna party, that doesn't mean they don't have something to say -- they just tend to put it more bluntly.

Bluntness is often used to mask a lack of confidence, but Pink's infamous sass is apparently the real thing. Whatever problems haunt her on a personal level, as a professional, she's the captain of the ship. When she tells you to get the party started, you'd better damn well get it started.

Pink: Nov. 19 at 6:30 p.m., Osaka Koseinenkin Kaikan. Call Osaka Udo, (06) 6341-4506, for information. Nov. 21 at 7 p.m., Tokyo International Forum; Nov. 22 at 7 p.m., Shibuya Kokaido. Call Udo, (03) 3402-5999, for information. Tickets are 6,000 yen and 7,000 yen.

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