Perform “What About Us” with your class using Modern Band Charts provided by Little Kids Rock. Both Intermediate and Beginner charts available.
When Alecia Moore, who most know as “P!nk,” entered public consciousness in 2000, she was one amongst a collection of female pop singers including Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Mandy Moore, and Jessica Simpson. As a female pop singer, conventional wisdom might suggest P!NK’s popularity would be here today, gone tomorrow. The truth, however, is quite the opposite–while many of the other stars have waned, P!nk continues to shine.
Part of P!nk’s success may be the spirit of rebellion that has marked much of her post-debut work. P!nk has leveraged her starpower to release songs that celebrate her nonconformity, and challenge what many consider mainstream norms. For instance, on “Stupid Girl”, the first single from the 2006 album I’m Not Dead, P!nk suggests women are often encouraged to behave as male accessories rather than independent beings, asking “What happened to the dream of a female President? / She’s dancing in a video next to 50 Cent.” Since, P!nk has tackled the right-to-marry debate, wage inequality, and other social issues, all while remaining a near permanent fixture on the Billboard charts.
The first single from P!nk’s 2017 Beautiful Disaster album, “What About Us?,” casts a broader net, one large enough to embrace nearly anyone who feels left behind, be it by a partner, a parent, or their country. In this lesson, students will listen to the song and share their own thoughts about its meaning. They will then complete an activity using the top 50 New York Times headlines of 2017, and explore how the tone of media might make some celebrate a song with no overt political lyrics as a “response” to the politics of the era. Finally, students will read an interview in which P!nk explains her perspective on the song’s meaning, and respond to her suggestions.