In The Ones of the ’10s, I’m reviewing every single that hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the 2010s and working my way up into the present.
P!nk- “Raise Your Glass”
HIT #1: December 11, 2010
STAYED AT #1: 1 week
One of the easiest ways to get a hit in music is through a greatest-hits album. For decades, labels have put out greatest-hits albums for the sole reason of capitalizing on an artist’s fame by giving fans and casual listeners a convenient way of enjoying an artists’ big hits without having to own all their albums thus going through all the album filler. In many cases, it’s reaped big rewards. According to the Recording Industry Academy of America (RIAA), the biggest selling album of all time as of this moment is the Eagles 1976’s Greatest Hits (1971-1975) album thanks to big sales both at the time of its release and every year since. It’s not just the Eagles if you look at the RIAA’s best selling albums of all-time list, many greatest-hits compilations have made the list. I’ll have to talk about these albums someday.
Greatest-hits albums are also good ways of releasing new music usually done by still relevant acts trying to entice fans. With P!nk, an artist who had already been around for a decade by this point, the #1 hit she released from her own greatest-hits album, “Raise Your Glass,” was a celebration both of her fame and an anthem for her underdog fans.
Born Alecia Beth Moore in the suburbs of Doylestown, Pennsylvania, P!nk had been feeling like an underdog her entire life. Growing up in a tense family with her parents divorcing during childhood, P!nk developed a rebellious attitude that made it hard to make friends in school as she was seen as a bad influence by their parents. This rebellious attitude involved doing drugs that would almost kill her as she nearly overdosed at 15.
Through this, P!nk began finding inspiration in music singing in various school bands and local Philadelphia clubs. It was around this time that she developed her stage name after the Mr. Pink character in Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs. Eventually, she got noticed by a music executive who invited her to audition for an R&B girl group being created called Basic Instinct. While she got into the group, they quickly disbanded without releasing any music. Another girl group she joined Choice also didn’t last long.
Despite these failures, LaFace Records head L.A. Reid realized P!nk’s talents and signed her to a solo record deal. Right away, she worked on her debut album with R&B based producers like Babyface which eventually resulted in 2000’s Can’t Take Me Home. The album immediately launched P!nk netting two Top Ten hits, “There You Go” (It peaked at #7. It’s a 5.), and “Most Girls” (It peaked at #4. It’s also a 5.). While the album did well, going double platinum, P!nk immediately grew tired of being marketed as another teen pop act and felt she wasn’t getting to make the music she wanted to make, “There was no blood, sweat or tears on my first album. And no emotional exchange between me and the musicians. R&B is on a conveyor belt.”
To move away from her bubblegum-R&B breakthrough, she participated with Christina Aguilera, Mya, and Lil Kim in the 2001 remake of Labelle’s 1975 #1 hit “Lady Marmalade” done for the Moulin Rouge soundtrack and got P!nk her first #1 hit (It’s a 7. The Labelle original is a 9). Later that year, she released Misundaztood moving towards an edgier, rock-driven sound with Top Ten singles like “Get The Party Started,” (It peaked at #4. It’s an 8.) “Don’t Let Me Get Me,” (It peaked at #8. It’s also an 8.) and “Just Like A Pill” (It also peaked at #8. It’s a 9.).
After Misundaztood, P!nk kept reliably charting through the rest of the 2000s making edgy yet personal filled pop-rock. She would even get her first solo #1 in 2008 with the breakup anthem “So What” (It’s a 9.). In 2010, her label decided to release a greatest hits collection celebrating her first decade in music, Greatest Hits…So Far!!!. P!nk initially was skeptical towards as she didn’t feel inspired and wanted to have a bigger catalog before releasing one. Eventually, she gave in as she felt good about doing it her way. One of the two new singles released from the album was “Raise Your Glass.”
In interviews at the time, P!nk stated she wrote “Raise Your Glass” along with regular producers Max Martin and Shellback as both a celebration of her decade long career and to her fans and anyone described as underdogs, “I don’t know if it’s going to be huge, but it is new. I did three new songs. It was good timing. I had been on the road for two years and I hadn’t written anything and I wanted to write a song about underdogs. Instead of going and becoming a cover girl, I kind of just hit the road and pounded the pavement…and became a touring artist. You don’t have to be popular when you’re a touring artist, you just have to be good, and this is a thank you for the fans.”
In a way, “Raise Your Glass” is P!nk melding her pop-rock sound with the electropop party anthems dominating in 2010. On the verses, you get rollicking guitars while on the chorus you get loud buzzing synths adding to the anthemic nature of the song. Lyrically, it shares a lot with Kesha’s #1 “We R Who We R” from the month before in hyping people up for a party while being a celebration of people who often are denied this feeling at every other point in life,”So raise your glass if you are wrong/In all the right ways, all my underdogs/We will never be, never be anything but loud/And nitty, gritty, dirty, little freaks” For what it’s meant to be, it gets the job done but it still doesn’t make it great.
P!nk delivers the song in the tough edgy style she always performed in but her performance here just doesn’t grab me as a lot of her earlier material did. It comes across as a perfectly fine but forgettable piece of pop music. And some of these lyrics make P!nk come across as an out of touch mom trying to be hip with kids with cringy lines such as, “What’s the dealio?/Party crasher, panty snatcher/Call me up if you’re gangsta.” Considering this is all meant to be serious makes it more cringy.
After “Raise Your Glass,” Greatest Hits… So Far!!! would launch one more major hit, another empowerment song “F**kin Perfect” which would peak at #2 in 2011 (It’s a 6.). After that, P!nk would release her next full studio album The Truth About Love in 2012 landing more hits. We’ll see her back in this column one more time.
BONUS BEATS: Here’s “Raise Your Glass” playing over the end credits of 2011’s New Year’s Eve
BONUS BEATS: Here’s “Raise Your Glass” being performed on a 2014 episode of General Hospital