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— by Jennifer Vineyard

Compared to her pop peers, Pink's no "Stupid Girl" — so why does her new hit feel like a comeback? Why did she languish in limbo with her last album, Try This, and what's pulled her out of pop purgatory? If it were just a matter of a failed punky experiment or bad single choices before, Pink's hit the jackpot with "Stupid Girls," the first single from I'm Not Dead, due April 4. Her spoofs of singers and starlets make us laugh, so we're buying. But what's Pink really selling now?

MTV: Everyone's talking about your parodies of Paris, Jessica, Lindsay and Mary-Kate, but "Stupid Girls" is about more than that, isn't it?

 Photos of Pink in "Stupid Girls"

Pink: People are going to think, "You're supposed to be a feminist, you're supposed to be supporting women," but I just can't support that, what the majority of these women are doing — or not doing, more like. It's just this mindless consumer culture, and it's such a wasted opportunity. Every time I see myself lying on that hospital gurney [in that video] I sort of wince. It's a $150 billion cosmetic industry, and what does that say about how we feel about ourselves? It's sort of pushing this image — shop, drink, party, don't think, shop, don't think. I just can't do that.

MTV: Have you read either "Backlash" [by Susan Faludi] or "The Beauty Myth" [by Naomi Wolf]? Together, they basically argue that consumerism acts to divert us. Instead of fighting for women's rights, we're fighting to find the perfect shoe.

Pink: Consumerism diverts us from thinking about women's rights, it stops us from thinking about Iraq, it stops us from thinking about what's going on in Africa — it stops us from thinking in general. I was brought up to question authority, and thank God for that. There's a lot of questions. A lot of people are into this escapism thing and don't want to think, and if you force them to think, you become boring. What can you do? I guess I can make videos. And it goes down a lot easier when it's funny.

MTV: We've gotten so much reader response since the video debuted, from fans who love that you've come back, to those who've called you a hypocrite for making fun of your fellow celebs and who questioned whether or not your aim is to be half-naked as well.

Pink: I love the discussion that's going on right now. It's always nice to be missed, but I don't feel like I ever really went away. I don't know where I'd be coming back from. There's always a backlash when you challenge people's convictions and their heroes. But I don't do all this so I can be in Us Weekly every week. I don't do this so that people think I'm cool. I don't do it for — it sounds ridiculous — the fame or the money. I have incredible dogs, I have incredible friends, I have a gorgeous husband who loves me. I'm good. I love to sing and put my music out there, and I hope I can always do that. But I'm not going to forsake who I am or my integrity to have these things that I can't take with me anyway. I never said I was perfect, and I never said anybody else doesn't have permission to make fun of me for what I do. I'm a walking contradiction. I'm a hypocrite sometimes. I'm a work in progress. But I'm working to be better. I'm seeking out smart people and responsible women, and I'm standing up for animals. I'm not making fun of a certain person, I'm making fun of an idea, and I think they're missing the point. Sexy doesn't have to come with the price tag of being dumb.

 Pink
"Stupid Girls"
I'm Not Dead
(Sony BMG)
MTV: With this, and "Dear Mr. President" and the song you did with your father, "I've Seen the Rain," it seems like you've got a protest song vibe going.

Pink: I guess it turned out that way. I didn't set out for it to be that way at all. I'd [always] wanted to record that song with my dad, even before I had a record deal. I learned to harmonize to that song. He was my first rock star, my dad. He wrote that song when he was in Vietnam and it's still relevant today. It's a soldier's cry. And acoustic guitar, that's my love. I told him three things — I'm going to become famous, we're going to record that song, and I'm going to buy him a motor home. And so far, the only thing I haven't done yet is the motor home, because now he doesn't want one! He didn't believe I would just rent a studio and put him in there with a guitar and make him sing. He was so nervous, it was the most adorable experience for a father and daughter to share. He's just such a folk singer, I just love it.

MTV: Besides being more political, you're also getting personal again like you did on Missundaztood.

Pink: Purposely. With Try This, I realized that I needed to stray from the therapy. I was getting a little deep and a little dark. I was an escape artist last time. And now, it's OK. I've lived, I have a life again, I've got new pains, I had stuff to say. "Conversations With My 13-Year-Old Self" was a huge therapy session, because writing that song was, what did I need? I needed a hug, and I get it ... now. If I tried to hug my 13-year-old self, she'd try to kick my ass, and then she'd collapse and cry. "Who Knew" is about the death of friendship. You're best friends forever, and then three years later you haven't seen each other in two years — what happened? You grow apart and people come in and out of your life for different reasons, seasons. "The One Who Got Away" is the classic "Is this the one? Or is the grass really greener?"

MTV: You're a newlywed now. Did being in love make it easier to write love songs?

Pink: Being with [husband] Carey [Hart] was the only reason I ever came close to writing a love song. He's the only one I ever believed. Yeah, happiness and easiness don't really do it for me, as far as being creative, so I tend to stick with what inspires me — pain, frustration, anger. Look at all the great poets out there, it's all devastating. I'm not saying I'm a great poet, I'm just making the example.

MTV: You had like 40 songs in the can, and you were working with everyone. People just kept popping out of the woodwork saying they were working with you: Rob Thomas, the RZA ... so how did you whittle it all down?

Pink: A track with me and RZA would be hot, but we just didn't ... I love him, but some things were just great ideas, and we didn't get around to it. We started hanging out and forgot to record music. I have a whole other album in my head that I listen to, and then I have the album we all agree on. That's the most heartbreaking part, the artist-commerce thing. It's fun to try and make a story and represent every part of your life and love from 14 songs. I think it's the closest I've ever come to marrying all my different loves of music, and my voice will always be the only consistent thread. The only thing I haven't tapped into is opera. I'm still trying to figure out how to get that in there.

MTV: Some of the songs sound so much more rock. Would you ever want to be a full-on rocker chick?

Pink: You can call me whatever you want, but the problem is I'll never be 100 percent fully anything. My music is all over the place, but where I come from is a punk-rock mentality — bring down the system, burn it all up.

MTV: Well, it seems like you want to do more than that ... In "Dear Mr. President," you're bending his ear about abortion, gay rights, homelessness and prison overcrowding. If you were campaigning — Pink for president — what would be your platform?

Pink: I haven't even tapped the surface. But I can only have a song that's three minutes long. I would never want to be president. I don't envy his position. But I do want discussion and dissent. Dissent is like my favorite word right now. The thing is, I love this country, I love living here, I love being an American. But I also love seeing different places and different cultures. I just think the beauty is in being able to talk about stuff. We're human beings — we're given the gift of speech and the power to help other species. So let's just talk about it. You don't have to agree with me on anything. But let's talk about it, let's try. What's the harm? We can shop later. Stores are open till 7.




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Photo: MTV News

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 Pink
"Stupid Girls"
I'm Not Dead
(Sony BMG)



 Pink
"God Is A DJ"
Try This
(Arista Records)



 Pink
"Family Portrait"
M!ssundaztood
(Arista Records)



 Pink
"Just Like a Pill"
M!ssundaztood
(Arista Records)



 Pink
"Don't Let Me Get Me"
M!ssundaztood
(Arista Records)



 Pink
"Get the Party Started"
M!ssundaztood
(Arista Records)



 Pink
"You Make Me Sick"
Can't Take Me Home
(LaFace)



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