A return to form! If “Walk Me Home” was a ploy at continuing P!nk’s successful streak with adult contemporary, “Hustle” is her shaking off the restrictions the format often places on its stars. Backed by a bouncy electric guitar/piano, hand claps, and a swinging brass section in the chorus, the singer sounds significantly more inspired in this warning against those who stand against her than in the lead single. Our second taste of Hurts 2B Human, “Hustle” immediately recalls the doo-wop of the sixties, with a modern edge provided by the singer’s typical wail and crass language.
With an enthusiastic “woo!,” P!nk sets the stage for the enthusiastic cut immediately. Throughout the verses, she calls out the subject of the song for taking her for granted, inquiring “how can [they] replace all these years?” At the chorus, the singer’s clear in her stance: “don’t fuck with me,” she exclaims (the cocking of a gun can be heard in the buildup). Getting to the bridge, she decides the situation is beyond repair, delivering the kiss off “bitch, please” just before launching into the song’s final lap. It’s the liveliest the singer’s been on record since 2012’s The Truth About Love, and it provides some of the bravado listeners have come to expect from her. By no means her strongest track, “Hustle” is a welcomed sign that P!nk still has much more to offer than Middle America fodder.