Remember Pink’s Folk Project You+Me?
What happened to Pink's folk music project, You+Me?
In 2014, the pop star took a break from swinging from the ceilings and belting out pop-rock anthems. Instead of delivering more of what has become the status quo in her long-standing career, the hit-maker linked up with Canadian singer-songwriter Dallas Green (who records under the name City and Colour) to release something very different. Together they recorded a folk project under the moniker You+Me.
To be fair, this wasn't the first time the superstar dabbled in folk music. She previously linked up with the Indigo Girls to record a stripped-back ballad called "Dear Mr. President." The heartfelt release doubled as an open letter to then-president George W. Bush and landed on 2006's I'm Not Dead.
That's just one of many examples of the star's departure from the attitude-laden hits she's best known for, while her more pop-centric, evocative ballads such as her dazzling "Glitter in the Air" have also alluded to her soulful capabilities.
We knew she had the depth, but You+Me broke new ground for the pop titan. That's doubly the case considering where it falls in her discography: Two years prior, Pink landed her first chart-topper on the Billboard 200 chart with The Truth About Love.
The album housed three songs — "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)," "Try" and "Just Give Me a Reason" — that broke into the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. Each is a massive anthem in its own right with soaring productions and theatrical vocal performances.
When You+Me's debut single "You and Me" arrived in September of 2014, it introduced fans to a new side of Pink.
Lyric video for You+Me's "You and Me":
You+Me's first and only album — rose ave. — arrived one month later. The exceptional LP was written (with the exception of one cover) and produced by Pink and Green in less than a week's time. It peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard 200.
Although the sonics were different from what fans had come to expect, Pink told The Guardian that the shift shouldn't have been too surprising.
“In the same concerts where I’m flying around, I’m always barefoot and sitting with an acoustic guitar, too,” she pointed out. “In every show, I do an acoustic section, so it’s a very big part of me.”
Nearly a decade after debuting You+Me, the artist project feels like a distant memory now. We decided to take a trip down memory lane, revisit the music and give you a history lesson in one of Pink's lesser known eras.
The birth of Pink's folk project You+Me
Considering how well their names go together (Pink and Green, c'mon now), you'd be excused for thinking that their collaboration was written in the stars. Indeed, Pink and Dallas Green's working relationship had its roots in friendship.
The "Raise Your Glass" star told The Guardian that she was introduced to Green's work by her husband Carey Hart. By the sounds of it, it was love at first listen.
"My favorite instrument is the violin, because no other instrument draws out the pain and the aching that’s inside of me like it does. And Dallas’ voice is like that violin," she said.
Pink was apparently so taken by his voice that she listened to his music while giving birth to her daughter Willow.
The duo finally met in person after one of Green's shows in Los Angeles. As two musicians, the conversation naturally turned to music. "That's really how it started, the conversation about singing together," Green told Entertainment Weekly.
Their initial plans did not entail an album or even a single. Instead, they "just wanted to sit by the campfire and sing."
As the story goes, a break came up in their schedules, and they were finally able to get together to work on music. Pink (who released the project under her birth name Alecia Moore) had the foresight to book a studio. Everything serendipitously came together from there, including how they came up with their name: “I think one of the reasons we called it You+Me is because it was just an idea borne from the two of us being friends and wanting to sing together," Green told Time.
Recording Pink's You+Me album rose ave.
Pink told EW that creating a record as Pink, the pop star, is generally a three-year commitment. It takes time to craft those powerhouse bops and bangers, after all.
You+Me was almost the exact opposite — rose ave. came together in less than a week's time and with a whole lot of ease.
“It just happened that this past March we both had a bit of a break in our schedules and decided to sit down and figure out if this is worth exploring. We ended up with a record,” Green explained to Time.
They found a collaborative chemistry and pulled together multiple songs a day. The laid-back nature seemed to be exactly what a global star of Pink's caliber craved.
“For those six days, there was nowhere else I wanted to be," she told The Guardian. "With Instagram and Twitter, people want to share every single part of their lives all the time, so it’s fun to have a secret you created just to have a secret. No end game. No reason.”
Although the album did well on the charts, the pair made it clear that a critical hit was not their goal. In fact, they even toyed with the idea of releasing it anonymously before running into complications with their labels.
"We handed our record companies an album and they were like, ‘What?’ And we were like, ‘We don’t know, that’s your job.’”
The sound of You+Me
If you only have a fleeting familiarity with Pink's musicality, then You+Me will sound like a drastic departure from her raucous singles that have dominated the charts. There's none of the bodacious growls or pulsing beats that define "Raise Your Glass," "Get the Party Started" or "So What."
However, the hit-maker alluded to Time that fans who are most familiar with her albums wouldn't be surprised by her eclectic tastes. “I have a lot of songs that are just me and an acoustic guitar. Music is a lot of different colors, and I like them all,” she said.
If you're pulling from her discography, You+Me is for fans of more recent cuts such as the full-bodied "Walk Me Home," "90 Days" (a soul-crushing duet with Wrabel) or even Pink's collaboration with her daughter, "Cover Me in Sunshine."
The above-mentioned examples still shimmer with a glint of a pop patina; rose ave. explores a similar musicality but strips things back even more. The resulting bare-bone productions highlight Pink and Green's vocals and earnestly written lyrics.
We're talking a lot about Pink as a solo artist, but the pair is equally featured across the LP's 10 tracks. Album opener "Capsized" lends an almost haunted quality to their voices, which dance together over a sparse instrumental.
Green told The Guardian that he came up with the song's riff while watching Pink perform at the Oscars.
“I was playing my guitar and for some reason wrote a riff. I recorded it on my phone and the next day I said, ‘I’ve got this thing,’" he said. "She sang something about two ships and then we had a song. That’s how quickly everything happened. It was crazy.”
"Break the Cycle" — a heartfelt ballad about trying to undo mistakes of the past — was inspired by Pink's relationship with her mother.
“It’s about patterns and habits and love and trying to do better,” she admitted. “It’s about trying to understand someone else. You can let a person know that you know what they’re going through, or what they went through. It’s a gift you give that person.”
Watch You+Me's "Break the Cycle" Music Video:
Meanwhile, Green told Spotify "Open Door" was inspired by his relationship with his parents and the time he spent away from them to pursue his dreams.
"You sacrifice a lot of relationships to try and do something that you feel is the right thing. Or what you're supposed to be doing," he said. "I have always only known how to tell people how I feel by singing it to them."
Although the song, a softly strummed ballad, is a deeply personal track about the love Green felt for his parents, he told Pink she belonged on the track. "It wouldn't exist without you," he said.
You+Me closed the album with its only cover, a take on Sade's "No Ordinary Love."
Why? "If I had to pick one song to sing for the rest of my life it would be that song. She was one of my mother's favorites, and she's one of my favorites. I just love that song so much," Green said. They trimmed down the original's seven-plus minute run time in favor of a briefer but no less evocative rendition that still raises goosebumps.
Simple but far from basic, rose ave. highlighted the best of both musicians, and it holds up all these years later.
The future of Pink's folk duo You+Me
From the very start of You+Me, neither Pink nor Green were sure what the future held. At the time, Pink made it very clear that she wasn't giving up on the acrobatic numbers she's best known for.
“I love pop music,” she reiterated to The Guardian. “I like flying around on stage. I have such a good time. People say, ‘Why’s she always in the f---ing air?’ Because I’m having more fun than you, f--k you.”
Instead of viewing it as a calculated, professional move, the duo positioned the album as a natural extension of their time recording together with no pressure from others. Thinking about the future of You+Me would have instantly changed that vibe.
Green told CityNews something quite similar when asked about the duo's future in 2016.
"I don’t know," he said. "We still talk and we’re still friends. The fact that it did work so well for us was amazing, but I think if we tried to plan it or say we were going to do another one we may defeat the purpose of the surprise that came out of that."
He added that the interest was there for a second outing but didn't have any hard answers on how it would work.
Watch You+Me Cover Sade's "No Ordinary Love":
But the idea has clearly stuck around for both of them.
In 2019 Green told Official Charts that he and Pink had been "talking about" making another record.
Then came the best news yet. In a 2021 interview, Green revealed that he had in fact been working on new music for You+Me.
He spilled that he had "almost a whole new record" for the project and added that he and Pink (whom he referred to as "my friend Alecia") had been talking about recording again.
With any luck, a week will open up in both of their schedules very soon. The world is certainly ready for more of Dallas Green and Pink's folk duo You+Me.