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"Dear Mr. President"
File-Dear Mr
Single by P!nk featuring Indigo Girls
from the album I'm Not Dead
A-side
"Leave Me Alone (I'm Lonely)"
Released
December 21, 2006
Recorded
2005 — The Magic Shop, New York City; Three Sound Studios, Norcross, Georgia
Genre
Soft rock, acoustic, country
Length
4:33
Label
LaFace
Writer(s)
P!nk, Billy Mann
Producer(s)
P!nk, Billy Mann
P!nk singles chronology
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"Nobody Knows" "Leave Me Alone (I'm Lonely)"
I'm Not Dead track listing
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"Nobody Knows" "I'm Not Dead"

"Dear Mr. President" is a song by P!nk featuring the Indigo Girls, and was recorded for P!nk’s fourth album, I'm Not Dead. The song is an open letter to then President of the United States, George W. Bush. The song criticizes several areas of Bush’s administration and terms in office, including the Iraq WarNo Child Left Behind Act, disapproval of equal rights for homosexuals, lack of empathy for poor and middle class citizens, Bush’s strong religious beliefs, and Bush’s drinking and drug usage in college. P!nk felt that it was one of the most important songs she had ever written.

Background Edit

Prior to the album's release, P!nk talked to MTV about the song, explaining that, "I hope the president is proud of the fact that we live in a country where we can do things like that, where we can have dissent, talk, communicate and share our opinions. I also think it's pretty narcissistic to think that one of my songs will be heard by the president of the United States, but hey, that would be really cool."[1]

Speaking to Songfacts about the collaboration, Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls stated:

I think her co-writer, Billy Mann, who has produced and co-written with her a lot, they came up with the idea together of having us do 'Dear Mr. President' with her and approached us. And we were big P!nk fans even then, so we were kind of flabbergasted, actually, like, Wow! We didn't even think she knew who we were. It was a big surprise.

But then it all made sense. We got together with them and did the song. And P!nk's an awesome person. She's just really a really great person and such a great artist. When you're in the studio with her and you hear her sing with no band and no effects—there's nothing else going on except for her voice—it's just quite amazing. Her voice is tremendous.

It was just really cool. And they were like, 'We've been listening to Indigo Girls for 30 years.' Who knew? And then I had a song that I wanted her to sing on, so we invited her to the studio and she came and met with us at our studio when we were working in Santa Monica.[2]

In January 2017, P!nk was asked by a fan via Twitter if she would release an updated version of "Dear Mr. President" in lieu of the controversial election of Donald Trump as president, to which she replied, "There aren't words for this shameful person."[3]

Controversy Edit

When P!nk appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! to promote the album, she thanked Kimmel prior to performing the song because many radio stations would not even let her talk about it because of its anti-Bush lyricism: "I have to thank you so much (because) you’re the only show that’s not afraid of letting me sing 'Dear Mr. President.' [...] I can’t even speak about it on radio."[4] She added that:

It’s a questioning song. I think that’s one of my more intelligent songs. Mostly, I write in a sort of way—I think this, you think that, go to hell, you're wrong. But with 'Dear Mr. President,' it's, 'These are my questions, they’re not theoretical. I think they’re questions that a lot of people probably have and we could probably use some answers. I feel, you know, there's some opinions mixed in there subtly, but mostly it's just questioning.

The unofficial ban prompted speculation that P!nk's music would be boycotted on radio, similarly to the Dixie Chicks, who were vocal onstage about their opposition to Bush's presidency and the Iraq War.[5]

While promoting her fifth studio album, Funhouse, P!nk provided some further clarification on the background of the song: "It wasn’t just like, 'I’m going to just do something political. I’m going to attack Bush.' It was a questioning song. It was sung in an innocent way. I actually toured it all over the world and the only place I got booed was Anaheim."[6]

Release Edit

P!nk stated that "Dear Mr. President" would never be released as a single in the United States, because "it was too important to be perceived as a publicity stunt."[7] It was, however, released as a single in Europe, Australia and Canada on December 21, 2006.

Critical reception Edit

The song received mostly positive reviews from music critics. Entertainment Weekly's Chris Williams praised "Dear Mr. President" for "its incongruous folkie social concern and Bush-baiting applause lines."[8] The Los Angeles Times' Natalie Nichols wrote that P!nk "taps her inner Ani DiFranco on the confrontational 'Dear Mr. President.'"[9] The New York Times' Jon Pareles noted that the song is "well meaning," "hectoring," and that it "grow[s] even more sententious."[10] PopMatters similarly praised the song, writing:

Oh, and speaking of presidents, P!nk’s musical letter to the Commander-in-Chief ('Dear Mr. President') is just as topical. The Indigo Girls tag along for moral support and, with lyrics like 'How can you say, "no child is left behind" / we’re not dumb and we’re not blind' or 'You’ve come a long way, from whiskey and cocaine,' you just know that if she’d made the song a few years earlier, it would have been featured in Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 911. You also get the impression that this is personal for P!nk, that she’s not doing it to be trendy. On the lyric page for 'Dear Mr. President,' there’s a picture of P!nk in an oval frame. Red, white, and blue ribbons are tied to the frame and her father’s dog tags share the reddish page.[11]

Rolling Stone's Barry Walters praised P!nk for "writ[ing] a scathing letter in 'Dear Mr. President'" and "cooing righteous folk harmonies with Indigo Girls."[12] Sal Cinquemani of Slant was mixed, writing that "'Dear Mr. President,' which cleverly uses George W. Bush's own words against him, pales next to M!ssundaztood's 'My Vietnam.'"[13]

Live performancesEdit

P!nk performed "Dear Mr. President" live for the first time on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on April 10, 2007. The song was also performed during the I'm Not Dead Tour, and was later included on the tour's DVD, Live from Wembley Arena London, England. It was also performed on select dates of the Funhouse Tour, although it was not included on the tour's subsequent DVD release.

In 2012, P!nk performed it at the iTunes Festival in London; the performance was later included on an EP featuring recordings from the concert. She also sang it the following month during her VH1 Storytellers special, although the performance was an online exclusive.[14]

Music video Edit

The video of P!nk's performance of the song live from Wembley Arena was added to the VH1 line-up of videos.

Track listing Edit

  • Digital Single
  1. "Dear Mr. President" – 4:33
  2. "Leave Me Alone (I'm Lonely)" – 3:18
  3. "Dear Mr. President" [Live from Wembley Arena] – 4:45
  4. "Leave Me Alone (I'm Lonely)" [Live] – 4:44
  • UK Collector's Set CD1
  1. "Dear Mr. President" – 4:33
  2. "Dear Mr. President" [Live from Wembley Arena] – 4:45
  3. "Leave Me Alone (I'm Lonely)" [Live] – 4:44
  4. "Dear Mr. President" [Video] – 5:00
  • UK Collector's Set CD2
  1. "Dear Mr. President" – 4:33
  2. "Leave Me Alone (I'm Lonely)" – 3:18
  3. "Dear Mr. President" [Live] – 4:45
  4. "Live From Wembley Trailer" [Video] – 0:59
  • Germany Collector's Set CD1
  1. "Dear Mr. President" – 4:33
  2. "Dear Mr. President" [Live from Wembley Arena] – 4:45
  3. "Leave Me Alone (I'm Lonely)" – 3:18
  4. "Live From Wembley Trailer" [Video] – 0:59
  • Germany Collector's Set CD2
  1. "Dear Mr. President" – 4:33
  2. "Who Knew" [Live From Wembley Arena] – 3:29
  3. "Dear Mr. President" [Live from Wembley Arena] – 4:45
  • Australian Tour Collector's Set CD1
  1. "Dear Mr. President" – 4:33
  2. "Who Knew" [Live From Wembley Arena] – 3:30
  3. "Dear Mr. President" [Live From Wembley Arena] – 4:45
  4. "On The Road With P!nk" [Video] – 10:00
  • Australian Tour Collector's Set CD2
  1. "Dear Mr. President" – 4:33
  2. "U + Ur Hand" [Live From Wembley Arena] – 4:39
  3. "Dear Mr. President" [Video] – 5:00
  4. "Live From Wembley Trailer" [Video] – 1:00

Lyrics Edit

Dear Mr. President,
Come take a walk with me.
Let's pretend we're just two people and
You're not better than me.
I'd like to ask you some questions if we can speak honestly.

What do you feel when you see all the homeless on the street?
Who do you pray for at night before you go to sleep?
What do you feel when you look in the mirror?
Are you proud?

How do you sleep while the rest of us cry?
How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye?
How do you walk with your head held high?
Can you even look me in the eye
And tell me why?

Dear Mr. President,
Were you a lonely boy?
Are you a lonely boy?
Are you a lonely boy?
How can you say
No child is left behind?
We're not dumb and we're not blind.
They're all sitting in your cells
While you pave the road to hell.

What kind of father would take his own daughter's rights away?
And what kind of father might hate his own daughter if she were gay?
I can only imagine what the first lady has to say
You've come a long way from whiskey and cocaine.

How do you sleep while the rest of us cry?
How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye?
How do you walk with your head held high?
Can you even look me in the eye?

Let me tell you 'bout hard work
Minimum wage with a baby on the way
Let me tell you 'bout hard work
Rebuilding your house after the bombs took them away
Let me tell you 'bout hard work
Building a bed out of a cardboard box
Let me tell you 'bout hard work
Hard work
Hard work
You don't know nothing 'bout hard work
Hard work
Hard work
Oh

How do you sleep at night?
How do you walk with your head held high?
Dear Mr. President,
You'd never take a walk with me.
Would you?

Charts Edit

Chart (2006–09) Peak position
Australia (ARIA) 5
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40) 1
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders) 1
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia) 3
Canadian Hot 100 55
Czech Republic (Rádio Top 100) 2
German Singles Chart 3
German Airplay Chart 1
Netherlands (Single Top 100) 43
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ) 11
Slovakian IFPI Chart 48
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan) 18
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade) 3

Year-end charts Edit

Chart (2007) Rank
Australian Singles Chart 41
Austrian Singles Chart 3
Belgian Singles Chart (Flanders) 16
German Singles Chart 13
Swiss Singles Chart 8

Certifications Edit

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA) Gold 35,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria) Platinum 30,000
Germany (BVMI) Platinum 300,000^
Summaries
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Personnel Edit

  • Vocals – P!nk and Indigo Girls
  • Backing vocals – Emily Saliers and Amy Ray
  • Mixing – Al Clay
  • Pro tools – Christopher Rojas
  • Guitar – Emily Saliers
  • Production coordinator – Lana Israel

References Edit

  1. Pink Pens An Open Letter To President Bush On New Album - MTV
  2. Amy Ray of Indigo Girls : Songwriter Interviews
  3. Pink: Will She Update 'Mr. President' for Donald Trump? | Billboard
  4. Jimmy Kimmel Live - Pink - Video Dailymotion
  5. Pink’s attack on Bush banned from radio stations · PinkNews
  6. Pink Discusses 'So What' And 'Dear Mr. President' | popdirt.com
  7. Welcome to P!nk Fans! - On Election Day, P!nk’s “Dear Mr. President” Performance Is Especially Relevant
  8. I'm Not Dead - Entertainment Weekly
  9. Think of Pink as a spectrum - latimes
  10. Critic's Choice - New CD's - NYTimes.com
  11. Pink: I'm Not Dead | PopMatters
  12. I'm Not Dead - Rolling Stone
  13. Pink I’m Not Dead | Album Review | Slant Magazine
  14. P!nk Storytellers - Dear Mr. President - PET - YouTube

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