Pop Gem #88: Pink – Just Like A Pill

Pink pulled off a successful transformation when she ditched the R&B, scoring her first solo No. 1 with this classic in 2002.

Every week we ask you to nominate songs to go into our Pop Gem Hall of Fame – those overlooked classics or big hits of yesteryear that deserve some modern-day attention. This week our theme was New Year, New You. We were looking for your Pop Chameleons, popstars who weren’t afraid to change their look or their sound.

We all make resolutions at New Year, don't we? Whether it's to finally get that adventurous hairdo or tone up a bit so you can start wearing muscle tops, we love to change things up. But popstars don't wait for the chimes of midnight on 31 December to change their look, oh no! It's their job to do it any day of the week, whenever they can!

The nominations were amazing as ever, but this was the 10 that mattered most and made our shortlist:

ARTIST TRACK PEAK POSITION YEAR
GABRIELLA CILMI ON A MISSION 9 2010
RIHANNA RUSSIAN ROULETTE 2 2009
GOLDFRAPP A&E 10 2008
ROBBIE WILLIAMS RUDEBOX 4 2006
PINK JUST LIKE A PILL 1 2002
MADONNA FROZEN 1 1997
BLUR GIRLS & BOYS 5 1994
KYLIE MINOGUE CONFIDE IN ME 2 1994
LIZA MINNELLI LOSING MY MIND 6 1989
DAVID BOWIE SOUND & VISION 3 1977

10 true pop chameleons there, all of whom have pulled off at least one masterstroke when it came to changing direction. But of the list, which one caught our eye the most? Well, it was Pink, as it happens, with her shouty, angsty battlecry Just Like A Pill. Watch the video before we explain what made us think Pink this week.

Why it had to be Pink

While reinvention comes like second nature to some of the other artists on the shortlist, Pink took a pretty big risk. She decided to change direction after just one album, Can’t Take Me Home, and was in no way assured of success. While on the surface her image may not have changed that much – just a short trip to the hair salon and a quick wardrobe clearout, really – the switch in musical style and attitude was huge.

Gone were those early R&B vibes, and while she kept her trademark sass, there was more of a bite to Pink than there’d ever been before. She was still super pop, of course, but not she had a rocky edge. As she would go on to sing later in her career, this new Pink seemed like she might be Trouble. And it was pretty exciting.

The song

By the time Just Like A Pill was released, Pink was already in the enviable position of having her first six singles all go Top 10. The first clue Pink was changing her outlook came with Get The Party Started, before Don’t Let Me Get Me came along and confirmed this was a new Pink. Just Like A Pill, however, hammered the point home.

Pink was angry, she was fed up and she was going to tell the world. The formula worked – it scored Pink her first solo Number 1 (she’d featured on the chart-topping Moulin Rouge version of Lady Marmalade the previous year). Just Like A Pill spent a week at Number 1 in September 2002 and has sold over 350,000 copies.

Pink’s chart history

It’s incredible to think that Pink has been around for almost 15 years! Her first hit was There You Go, which peaked at Number 6 and has sold over 160,000 copies. It was the first of 27 Top 40 hits, of which 17 would go Top 10. She has scored a third Number 1 – her second solo – with So What in 2008.

Pink’s biggest selling single was never actually a Number 1 at all! 2012’s Just Give Me A Reason FT fun’s Nate Ruess takes the honour, with over 800,000 sales. So What comes up second with 600,000 copies shifted.

Over on the Official Albums Chart, seven of Pink’s eight releases have gone Top 10. Only 2008’s Funhouse has made it to Number 1. Her top-selling album is Just Like A Pill’s parent release Missundazstood – it’s shifted a whopping 1.8 million copies. So far, five of Pink’s albums have passed the million mark.

Pink is proof that a change really can do you good! Welcome to the Pop Gem Hall Of Fame, Just Like A Pill!

Video playlist

See all 10 contenders in this week's shortlist.

Pop Gem Hall Of Fame

Today's Pop Gem is the latest in a long line of amazing pop songs that have been inducted into our Pop Gem Hall Of Fame. Take a look at all the tracks who've received the honour so far

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