'I'm Not Dead' sees Pink head in a new direction - less angry than the likes of 'M!ssundaztood' and instead opting for a softer style of bitterness. Although Pink chooses to remain confrontational in her themes, and indeed her tone, this time 'round the effort is more subdued, as she tries her hand at a few uncharacteristic ballads.

Exploring a range of themes and topics, from war to politics, celebrity culture to heartbreak, Pink exudes versatility here and credit is due for her willingness to speak out, poke fun and often try new things, all with interesting results.

With soft ballads like 'Dear Mr President', the singer-songwriter proves that she can get her point across without all the clatter and noise that has become the backdrop for her distinctive, moody and high-pitched vocal acrobatics in recent years.

Some of the high points of 'I'm Not Dead' include 'Who Knew' (a track that flips between bitter ballad and gutsy kick-ass rock song); the hit single 'Stupid Girls' (lampooning fake tanned celebrities with tiny dogs for accessories) and 'U + Ur Hand' (a gravelly rant with buckets of energy and attitude).

When things turn poppy on tracks like 'Long Way to Happy' and 'Leave Me Alone', Pink holds her own but always seems more comfortable with the more upbeat tracks, which demand intensity of performance. However, her duet with her father on 'I Have Seen the Rain' is an exception, offering us a rare glimpse of pure stripped-down Pink - soft vocals harmonising with those of her father in this emotive war veterans tribute.

'I'm Not Dead' feels like the kind of album that Pink made for herself - something that she could be happy with independent of considerations of sales and crowd-pleasing. Noble it may be, but sometimes noble doesn't always result in the very best an album could have been.

Linda McGee