"Just Like Fire"
There was a time when Alecia Beth Moore—better known by her colorful, exclamatory stage name P!nk—marched at the vanguard of pop music's angry grrl movement. If there was a taboo to be trashed, P!nk relished pushing to the front of the line to fire the first shot.
A decade and a half later, 36-year-old P!nk has become a wife and a mother. And while her marriage to motocross star Carey Hart has had its share of well-publicized ups and downs, P!nk's gradually sounded less angry and more grounded in recent years. And now Disney has tapped her to voice this pop-rock spectacle on the Alice Through the Looking Glass soundtrack.
Make no mistake: P!nk's in-your-face attitude is still alive and well in her Wonderland sojourn (in both the song and its accompanying acrobatic, fantastical, sometimes sexy video, which also features the singer's husband and daughter). But for the most part, she channels her famously fiery ferocity in an empowering direction.
P!nk Turns Red
Alice Kingsleigh faces a race against time in her onscreen adventure. And that's exactly where P!nk begins the movie's theme song. "I know that I'm running out of time," she admits. But that's hardly stopping her. "I want it all/ … And I'm walking on a wire, trying to go higher."
Remember that trademark 'tude I tagged P!nk with a couple of paragraphs ago? Well, it shows up in her characterization of those who oppose her here. "Feels like I'm surrounded by clowns and liars," she says critically and cynically. Then she cops a determined page from Beyoncé's playbook by announcing, "We came here to run it, run it, run it." In the next verse, she fancies herself almost as a magical superhero as she overcomes Wonderland's vexing obstacles: "Just like magic, I'll be flying free/I'ma disappear when they come for me/I kick that ceiling, what you gonna say?"
Both the beginning and the end of the chorus find her comparing her influence to the power of flames ("Just like fire"). But P!nk hopes to harness that conflagration's energy in a transformative way, not a nihilistic one, as she strives "to light the world up for just one day."
Maybe There Is an I in Team After All?
It's no surprise at all when P!nk affirms her individuality ("No one can be just like me anyway") as well as that of others who might feel like oddballs in their own skins ("People like to laugh at you, 'cause they are all the same/See, I would rather we just go a different way than play the game").
But it is a bit surprising when she similarly affirms the value of teamwork, of sticking together to accomplish a goal. After all, P!nk arguably hasn't made her mark on pop culture by cultivating a rep as a team player. But that's exactly the virtue she emphasizes next. "No matter the weather, we can do it better/You and me together, forever and ever," she encourages. "We don't have to worry 'bout a thing, 'bout a thing."
As for the timid and cautious who think the impossible is, well, impossible, P!nk triumphantly declares otherwise: "But look, I've been here, I've done it/Impossible? Please!/Watch, I do it with ease/You just gotta believe/Come on, come on with me."
Poking (Hare) Holes in a Prickly Perspective
P!nk's prickly perspective hasn't completely mellowed in the years since her arrival on the music scene. But far more so than in her early efforts, she now sometimes brandishes her amped-up attitude in the service of messages worthy of applauding rather than those that are just appalling.
That's the case with this fiery anthem, as it inspires listeners to go ahead and tilt at those supposedly "impossible" windmills—both as individuals and while working as a team.