“Just Like Fire” by Pink

This song is seen by most of the amateur “critics” who infest the internet as a piece of trite soundtrack filler that is supposedly unworthy of Pink’s talent. This is partly because it comes from an unnecessary sequel to an already disappointing movie…the Tim Burton Alice in Wonderland movie wasn’t quite the abomination some make it out to be, but it didn’t really merit a second outing. Still, good and even great songs have come from the soundtracks of worse movies (look how many classic songs have wound up attached to the Twilight franchise, for example), so this doesn’t cut it as a justification for dismissing the song.

The other reason this song is poorly thought of is that most of the internet critics have entirely missed the point of its dramatic content, misinterpreting it as a “self-esteem” anthem in the vein of Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” or Pink’s own earlier single “Raise Your Glass”. What the song is actually meant to be is a Wanting Song, a song model that is a staple element in Musical Theater.

Interestingly, this Wanting Song is not about the standard topic of love, or even about success per se, but about power. It’s a furiously defiant promise to tear down the established order, to “light the world up for just one day”, as the song puts it. Granted, the Rap bridge toward the end is actually kind of embarrassing, but the rest of the song has an intensity and hypnotic, almost mystical quality that ranks with the most inspired work Pink has ever done. It strikes a dark, almost villainous note that makes it resonate perfectly with the part of our psyches that would actually like to burn the world up for our own glory, making it a potently evocative anthem of enraged pride.

Verdict: This is a fantastic song, one of Pink’s all-time classics, and its unanimous dismissal by the internet peanut gallery does nothing to change that.

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