Photo Credit: Hubert Vestil
Pink Sweat$, born David Bowden, dropped his debut album just a couple days before his 29th birthday. Pink Planet consists of 18 tracks, one of which features Kehlani for the remix of “At My Worst.” With his charming voice and unique vision, Pink won the “Best New Artist” nomination at last year’s Soul Train Awards with the mainly acoustic EP Volume 2. As Rolling Stone put it, Pink’s style is best described as “acoustic soul with a touch of alt-90s angst,” and Pink Planet embodies that completely. We can tell by the major notes and upbeat, yet relaxing melodies, that Pink creates his sound from a place of happiness. Everyone has their own “pink planet” – a metaphorical sphere that is different for everyone, their individual perception of life.
Pink Sweat$ is not trying to be unusual, he just is: an organic musician without the need to overthink in order to create. The stage name came from him literally wearing pink sweatpants during recording sessions early in his career, at his job at Philadelphia’s Sigma Sound Studios. At Sigma, he worked as a demo vocalist, wrote songs and produced artists like Tierra Whack and Florida Georgia Line, first being a rapper and the latter – a country duo. While sadly the studio closed, we can see diverse musical influences it gifted Pink in the long run. It gave his interest in music a great boost, since he did not have many sources of inspiration until he was 17-years-old. Growing up in West Philly, Pink and his family faced some challenging times, which were touched upon in the gospel-inspired album opener “Pink City.”
Still, Pink’s work comes from joy, him growing up in a big and supportive family. A quite musical one, too: we can see them in “Pink Family” – a music video and beginning of the YouTube series showing some light on Pink and his loved ones’ lives. As seen in the video, his mother is a great singer, and most of his family sings, raps or participates in choir, all of who definitely influenced Pink as a child. The recording is cozy, and both musically and lyrically is inspired by the style of gospel choir, singing about keeping hope and positivity when times are tough.
That is the overall energy we get from Pink Planet. Easiness no matter the hardships, all through effortlessly written music. Creating songs is a simple process for Pink. He never goes back to change or edit something, but rather keeps the track as is or drops it altogether. The only song he would go back and work on was “At My Worst”, which was first released as a single and ended up being a hit by being quite catchy and unbelievably melodic. It is the kind of song that makes you want to sit under the sun on a breezy day, contemplating life and relationships.
The question we are subconsciously asked in Pink Planet is “how do you know true love?” It is tested by life events. True love isn’t only seen in romantic relationships, but everywhere we look – our duty is to share it, and give love back to the planet. “We all want it, we all wanna give it,” he says to Genius. “Is this gonna last?” he asks himself. A philosophical approach to being vulnerable, Pink makes us contemplate on how we love. We get an idea of whether love is worth it in Pink’s opinion on his breakout hit “Honesty.” The song is Pink’s first single and opens his EP Volume 1, and it was also added to Pink Planet as the closer. The gentle track speaks on the challenges we face in love, but how it is still incredible at the end of the day: “Thinking is all wrong // Love will happen when it wants // I know it hurts sometimes, but don’t let it go.” Pink has a very different approach to R&B. His aim is to be there for you while listening to his music. He is a genuinely nice R&B musician, with an album that can help get you through hard times.