It was recently announced that singer Pink will receive the Video Vanguard award at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards for her 17-year-long back catalogue of videos.
While the decision has some very vocal detractors, Pink’s videography isn’t all bad. It’s more populist than high art, and a look at the artist’s repertoire shows an eye for humor, heartbreak and some undeniable looks.
With the MTV VMAs around the corner, there’s no better time to take a look back at her almost two decades of videos and get a feel for which of her videos are toots and which, sadly, are boots.
#26 “Last to Know”
By the time “Last to Know” was released, all the momentum behind Pink’s third album, Try This, had evaporated. What was released for the third single was just a bad concert DVD.
#25 “God Is a DJ”
Given that the album this single supported Try This, again was not a huge success compared to her earlier work, the video for its second single is an appropriately lo-fi, low-budget, last-ditch effort. It’s little more than a lackluster handheld recording of a night out at a not-very-exciting club no one wants to be in.
#24 “Who Knew”
Though well-shot and cinematic, this video features a boring, schlocky storyline of two young lovers from the early days of dating all the way up to the tragedy of death. Throughout, Pink sings the lyrics in the camera with little or no connection to the “action” of the video which is set at a carnival.
#23 “Fuckin Perfect”
The second video from Pink’s greatest hits album, “Fuckin Perfect” forgoes originality and instead looks back at the story of a girl who is you guessed it, told she is not perfect. Overall, the video’s saccharine message and standing-in-place line delivery are a snore.
#22 “You Make Me Sick”
Though “You Make Me Sick” does introduce a more natural pink hair color than the neon color in her earlier videos, the video feels like a series of set pieces rather than a cohesive theme. What is there of the theme involves her and her man engaged in throwing objects at each other and Pink singing lyrics while sitting on a mall Santa’s lap.
#21 “Get the Party Started”
Missundaztood may be one of the best pop albums of the early 2000s, but its opening single hides that fact. Opting for the radio-ready “Get the Party Started” to introduce the introspective collection of songs, the video traffics in gimmicks like sped up action, flashy dancefloor scenes, bad choreography and corny dress-up montages.
With very little concept past “post-apocalyptic setting,” this video relies on Pink’s almost endless watchability and charisma to get it by. Unfortunately, that’s not enough.
#19 “Nobody Knows”
A little too cliche-ridden, the “Nobody Knows” video nevertheless features some great video acting and a healthy dose of drama. It may not be unique, but it’s at least engaging.
#18 “True Love”
With nary a budget to talk about, “True Love” relies on straight-to-camera effervescence and animated effects to keep the viewer satisfied. It even uses high-flying concert footage to fill the gaps. The most watchable part of the video is when guest vocalist Lily Allen, in a bizarre cameo, chops vegetables and blends a green smoothie.
The Merely OK
#17 “What About Us”
Pink’s newest video comes off like a tame version of “purposeful pop.” It’s too broad and schmaltzy to be cutting. But, the beautiful settings and forceful choreography make for a visual treat, even if it’s one that whimpers instead of bangs.
#16 “Just Like Fire”
Like the big budget movie from whence it came, “Just Like Fire” is high budget but still falls flat. Putting Pink into the world of Through the Looking Glass, Pink serves looks and finally brings her trapeze act into a video. But the sum is more ho-hum than its individual parts.
#15 “Family Portrait”
This stripped-down video, featuring a young actress playing Pink’s “inner child” dealing with her family-induced trauma is definitely raw and emotional, but never goes there as a video. Instead, it juxtaposes scenes of Pink and Young Pink’s interactions with a Leave-It-To-Beaver fantasy. Bonus points for this being the first video where the singer ditched the pink streaks in her hair all together.
#14 “Raise Your Glass”
Too many of Pink’s classic video aspects are recycled for this to be too high on the list. Ironic, since this video is from’s Pink’s greatest hits album. Between showing the faces of random “high school losers” and “outcasts” bleeding into each other, this empowerment anthem feels a little too On Brand to be authentic. Also, minus points for a random scene in which women’s breastmilk is pumped by automated machine and fed to cows?
#13 “There You Go”
Pink’s inaugural video may be covered in a layer of late-90s/ early-00s cheese, it was a perfect summation of her early aughts anti-Britney persona. While there are definitely some questionable style moments a green cable-knit sweater? A faux Missy Elliott-influenced baggy latex pantsuit? Pink’s iconic white jumpsuit with the pink racing stripe mostly makes up for it. Negative points for a bit too much sassy pantomiming and a weird interstitial where she takes a flip-phone call from her manchild boyfriend.
#12 “Just Give Me a Reason”
While the video’s stripped-down West Elm catalog look matches the song’s schmaltzy tone, there’s not enough interesting stuff going on to warrant a second or third look.
#11 “U + Ur Hand”
Revolving around the fairy tale of Pink’s drag persona Lady Delish, this video is full of cheesy sets, but some great looks. The standout among them is a nude bodysuit that is unfortunately mostly wasted, as Pink lies down on a bed in it instead of standing up.
#10 “Stupid Girls”
Though healthily anti-feminist by today’s standards, “Stupid Girls” saw Pink take an element that is part of most of her videography humor and bring it to forefront. But, some of the video is either too cringeworthy or too hokey for repeat viewing. While seeing Pink on the operating table is clever, seeing her get an orange spray tan, making a sex tape and washing a car in Daisy Dukes seem cheap rather than poignant.
#9 “Most Girls”
Though the video-within-a-video beginning, which shows Pink doing push-ups while watching the final moments of “There You Go,” is a little confusing, “Most Girls” is Can’t Take Me Home’s best video. The video opens with a play between masculinity and femininity Pink sports dog tags and performs fly-high kicks while muscled men play violins and drums. The video has a cohesive industrial gym feel that only gets cheesy when Pink is forced to bust out some choreography that undermined her anti-Britney persona a bit too much.
#8 “Lady Marmalade”
You may have forgotten most of Pink’s parts in the video in favor of Christina Aguilera’s flashier moments, but Pink really commands the camera when she’s on screen. She serves two solid ~lewks~ in the boudoir and on the stage and also ups her Pink hairstyle game to a mane of curls we had not yet seen. Add in the fact that the video and song allow her to showcase her vocal ina way that her earlier cookie-cutter pop failed to do, and this is a solid Pink video.
#7 “Just Like a Pill”
Keeping the pink streaks but trading in blonde for black, the “Just Like a PIll” video continued Missundaztood’s darker mood and confessional tone, while ratcheting up the drama. A sort of mini Girl, Interrupted, the video has Pink serving some high drama looks. The video ends up being less elevated due to too much monotony and a lot of singing to the camera. In another world, there’s a version of this video that is 9 minutes long and includes a beginning and ending set inside the video’s world.
#6 “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)”
One of Pink’s only true “concept” videos that keeps its thematic core from beginning to end, this video for the lead single from the Truth About Love is Pink’s most artsy, shot in black and white and ending with an eruption of red color to great effect. From lederhosen to dresses, her wardrobe and hair are set to stun throughout.
#5 “Please Don’t Leave Me”
One of Pink’s most emotionally raw tracks, “Please Don’t Leave Me’s” video is smart and deep with metaphor, even it does a lay on a bit too much humor and hammy acting. With references to Stephen King’s Misery and random carnival details throughout as a callback to the cut’s parent album Funhouse, the video is both playful and deep, a balance that few toe more deftly than Pink.
Though “Trouble” would earn Pink a Grammy, its parent album Try This is arguably the most forgettable in the singer’s discography. That’s a shame given that Pink serves high volumes of attitude and a slay-tastic wardrobe, all while riding a horse and engaging in a bar brawl. By this time, her outcast status was canon and the video heightens the message of some of her earlier videos with a Wild West aesthetic. Bons points for being one of the only videos of Pink’s early years that didn’t feel like it took place completely on a soundstage.
#3 “So What”
For Pink, “So What” synthesizes a lot of her aesthetics into one single video. And they actually work together. Sporting great, high femme looks shout out to the denim bell bottom body suit! the video is full of humor and an endearing self-awareness. Even in a video about heartbreak, Pink casts her ex as her ex and the chemistry between the two is palpable even if the relationship was on the skids.
While choreography in a Pink video is usually a one-way ticket to Clunkytown, “Try” works because the choreography is intimate, a match for the tone and lyrics of the song. To match the song’s naked emotion, the camera work is close-up and personal. For the ballet-like movement, Pink gets a flowing dress and a hair color palette that complements her dress.
#1 “Don’t Let Me Get Me”
Before Being An Outcast was a brand strategy, Pink’s “Don’t Let Me Get Me” defined Pink’s brand as a voice for rebellious unpopular kids everywhere. The premise of the video, going from high school bullied to returning pop star, is a delicious “fuck you” to her detractors. The video was confessional and evocative, including scenes with her confronting LA Reid about her image and being gossipped about by the high school “in crowd.” Throw in a set of great hair choices short and curly, Emma Bunton-esque hair poofs and a horsehair mohawk and this is music video magic.
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