What does it mean for Gabriella Cohen to call her second album Pink is the Colour of Unconditional Love? Does it relate to how pink is often derided, joked about and stereotyped? If pink has trouble being valued or establishing its worth, then it’s well suited for Cohen’s conversations on what we choose to love and how love is under no demands to be requited.
As a follow-up to her acclaimed 2015 release Full Closure and No Details, this a departure from the Melbourne artist’s earlier, more clear-cut pop-rock songs. Initially recorded and self-produced with Kate “Babyshakes” Dillon in regional Victoria, the album was interrupted by international touring, and eventually was completed while Cohen was on the road.
Opening with Music Machine — a wry look at the music industry and the dream of “making it” — Pink is the Colour is partly an examination of glamour and luxuriousness, even as it embodies these same qualities. Held in place by hints of bossa nova and lush guitar lines, the album is a woozy reimagining of girl groups of the 1950s and 60s. Littered with nostalgic melodies and sugary, layered vocals, it further conjures the language of pop through song titles such as Baby, Miserable Baby and I Feel So Lonely. With multiple tracks speaking of heartache and desire, it’s hard to tell if Cohen is enthralled with love or unimpressed by it.
Yet within these two poles lies the album’s power: Cohen’s admissions of loneliness, regret and desire might be too embarrassing or painful to utter in real life. But within the pop song and accompanied by the power of her voice, these sentiments can be preserved and explored.
Originally published in The Australian.