Song: ‘Just Like Fire’
US chart peak: 10* (*at time of going to ‘print’)
Release date: April 15, 2016
Writers: Alecia Moore, Max Martin, Karl Johan Schuster, Oscar Holter
Producers: Max Martin, Shellback, Oscar Holter
Quintessential Max moment: God I hope he wasn’t involved in the rap bit
Video synopsis: Pink falls into the low-budget rabbit hole after some trapeze action, obvs
Towards the end of 2014 I interviewed Pink in LA for The Guardian about her new side project, the country-tinged duo You+Me (the other member is/was Alexisonfire’s Dallas Green. Yep, me neither). The chat was nice enough but really I’d only wanted to do it so I could double check she was definitely coming back to pop. I like Pink a lot. I know she gets some flack for her propensity for heavy-handed, we’re-all-fuck-ups-but-we-need-love shtick, and sometimes her views on other female popstars are a bit knee jerk, but I once saw her in a live scenario in a massive fuck off arena and it was genuinely top notch. Plus she tends to bring out the best in Max ‘et al’, so that’s good news.
Anyway, we did the chat about country music or whatever and then I asked her if she was going to return to pop music and spinning around stadiums on bits of elastic. “I love pop music,” she confirmed. “I like flying around on stage. I have such a good time. People say, ‘Why’s she always in the fucking air?’ Because I’m having more fun than you, fuck you.”
Good old Pink.
Mind you, in a similar way to the recent Justin Timberlake/Max love-in, ‘Just Like Fire’ doesn’t feel like top tier Max. It’s a solid 7/10 when we’ve come to expect 8s, 9s and some 10s. It’s not bad by any means, it’s just that the dated lyrical motif (just be yourselves you guys!!1!) and slightly plodding production in the verses means it feels a bit like hard work. Obviously the chorus is its saving grace, complete with that lovely ascent up the scale towards the end (“no one can be just like me anyway”). There are also some lovely subtle background harmonies buried underneath the second verse that add some nice texture as the song goes on.
However someone in the session decided what the song needed in place of a proper middle eight was a rap. By Pink. I’m here to tell whoever that was that they did a very bad thing that day. No one needs that.
Anyway the song’s from a film soundtrack (the clue’s above) and so has that slight excuse of not being a ‘proper’ single. To be honest, it’s been a pretty big hit worldwide (Number One in Australia where people are PROPERLY OBSESSED with Pink), so what do I know really.