Sorry, Bruno Mars. Your time atop the Billboard Hot 100 did not last very long. Already, we have a new chart topper. Pink now has the nation's top single, although it features some guy named Nate Ruess, and it is called "Just Give Me A Reason." I am familar with Pink, who apparently spells her name with an exclamation point instead of an "i." I will not indulge this affectation. I know Ke$ha, Ms. Pink, and you are no Ke$ha. While I have heard of Pink, I had never heard any of her songs in their entirety. I know at some point she was coming out, and thus it was imperative that we get the party started. I am pretty sure she has a snide, "bad girl" vibe that she cultivates. At some point, her hair was pink. Also, didn't she marry a motocross guy?
Anyway, while "Just Give Me A Reason" is new to the top of the charts, it has a lot in common with Mars' "When I Was Your Man." Both start off as somber piano ballads, which surprised me in terms of Pink. However, eventually some dance beat and hand clap type stuff jumps in for Pink and Ruess, whereas Mars just straight up keeps it somber and sparse. Additionally, both of these songs are about heartache and frayed romance. What's the deal with piano-tinged songs of heartbreak being so popular right now? Just a few weeks ago "Harlem Shake" was a thing. This is quite the turn.
"Just Give Me A Reason" starts off quite poorly, as Pink's lyrics are atrocious. It's sub-middle school diary verbiage. "Right from the start, you were a thief who stole my heart/And I, your willing victim." First, eww. Second, dumb. Overwrought. Inane. Then she talks about showing him the parts of her that are ugly or some such nonsense. It's pretty clunky stuff. Then, she starts to discuss the issues with the lost love and such. In a somewhat interesting twist, Ruess plays the part of the man in the relationship, giving his own feelings. He actually is pretty surprised about the whole situation. Of course, whenever a song is bifurcated like this, it reminds me of "Don't You Want Me" by Human League, and then I always wish one of the two people in the song were working as a waitress in a cocktail bar.
The chorus is about both parties wanting a reason to stay together. After the opening, the song goes from bad to merely mediocre and uninspired. None of the other lyrics really stick out to me as notably unpleasant. I mean, the chorus has some dumb stuff in their about scars on hearts or some junk in that vein, which is pretty poor, I guess. Pink's voice isn't all that good, and she doesn't emote well, and this Ruess fella doesn't bring much to the table either. I don't know why he was chosen. Oh well. I fear in a different world it would have been Adam Levine, so let us rejoice and be glad.
On the positive side, once the song goes from piano ballad to poppy piano ballad, it is kind of catchy and enjoyable to listen to. I like the handclaps, even if they are reminiscent of "Jack and Diane" by John Cougar Mellencamp. If nothing else, "Just Give Me A Reason" reminds me of two pop songs from a different era I actually enjoy.
While this song makes more sense to me as a chart topper than "When I Was Your Man" as it is poppier and has a beat you can dance to, but it isn't as good of a song, and Mars' song isn't all that special. The issue here is that the lyrics are dumb. I have no issue with a song about a romance falling apart. If I did, it would really limit my options for things to listen to. It's just that the way Pink chooses to express these emotions is rather uninspired at best, dumb at worst. Early on, when the music is quiet and the vocals are front and center, is when the lyrics are at their worst, and it is a bad introduction to the song. It gets better from there, but not by a lot. This song certainly does not inspire me to listen to more Pink, and it also won't lead me to spell her name the way she wants me to. You have to earn your gratuitous punctuation!