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"Family Portrait"
FamilyPortraitSingle
Single by P!nk
from the album M!ssundaztood
Released
September 27, 2002
Recorded
2001
Genre
R&B, pop
Length
4:58
Label
Arista
Writer(s)
P!nk, Scott Storch
Producer(s)
Scott Storch
P!nk singles chronology
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"Just Like a Pill" "Feel Good Time"
M!ssundaztood track listing
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"18 Wheeler" "Misery"

"Family Portrait" is a song recorded by P!nk for her second studio album M!ssundaztood (2001). Co-written by P!nk and Scott Storch, and produced by the latter, the song is about relationships and her family that was about to fall to pieces, portraying the conflict through the eyes of her as a child. It was released as the album's fourth and final single in December 2002. It peaked in the top 20 in both the UK and US.

Background Edit

P!nk wrote "Family Portrait" with Scott Storch while working on the follow-up to her debut studio album, Can't Take Me Home. The song originated as a poem that she wrote when she was nine years old while trying to cope with her parents' divorce. In reference to the song's lyrics, P!nk told The Telegraph, "That was my life. I was a daddy’s girl and I was devastated when he left because my mom and I never really got along. But it was also, 'God what a relief.' You spend the first nine years of your life afraid of what’s going to happen in your house and then you just have quiet. I flinch now when people fight. I can’t handle it."[1]

In a 2012 interview with Entertainment Weekly, P!nk spoke about the song, stating:

That was from a poem that I wrote when I was 9 when my dad left. My mom cried for four days when she heard it. I’ve seen my dad cry three times and that was one of them; that was awful. And then my stepmom cried. She’s so strong—she was an Army nurse in Vietnam, and I’d never seen her cry. That was a song I wrote for me, and I didn’t realize how much it was going to hurt them.[2]

She further noted in an interview with The Independent that, "You can get over stuff, but when you're a woman you can forgive but you don't forget. And it's good that I don't forget, because I always need stuff to write about."[3] Speaking about the recording of the song, she said that, "I went into the studio and I didn't know what I was going to sing and 20 minutes later I was crying and didn't really remember what I did."[4]

P!nk later revealed to Q magazine that "Family Portrait" got her into trouble with her mother. The singer commented: "She went to the National Enquirer. We laugh about it now, but it wasn't the best way to address family problems."[5]

She explained during her performance for VH1's Storytellers that the song made her family more open to communication: "For us as a family, we used to sweep things under the rug and act like things were okay, and act like I didn't run away and I wasn't on drugs and it was all a dream. We opened up communications as a family and now, when we sit at the dinner table, we really ask each other how we are and we really answer and it's beautiful."[6]

Composition Edit

"Family Portrait" is a pop song with elements of soul composed in the key of C minor. It is written in common time and moves at a moderate 88 beats per minute. The song is divided into four-measure phrases with an i-iv-III-ii-V chord progression.

Critical reception Edit

The single received mostly positive reviews from the critics. Paul Matthew from UKMIX gave the song 4 out of 5 stars, saying that it is strong, catchy and different from anything she had released to date. Dr. Bruce L. Thiessen praised the song's stripped down nature, stating that "P!nk has never been afraid to show her true colors. The haunting, yet urgently importuning nature of the music matches and magnifies the meaning. The intensity of every earnest guitar strum and run echoes the sense of longing for familial harmony expressed in the chorus. P!nk's voice on 'Family Portrait' further reflects the urgency underlying the song." Malaimport from StudyMode.com gave P!nk the credit for the song in his article, "P!nk positioned the audience to understand and accept her representations of pain and frustration was clear through the uses language choices and imagery devices such as repetition and use of strong and forceful words."

Cultural impact Edit

According to P!nk's father, James Moore Jr., during an interview with E! Entertainment's E! True Hollywood Story, this song has been unofficially named the national anthem for young kids who have been through the harsh effects of divorce of their parents: "I have got letters from parents thanking us from this song." The song, which she wrote and composed in collaboration with Scott Storch, was still going strong as of late April 2012, with millions of hits on YouTube and millions of albums sold from M!ssundaztood. "It took me a while to listen to 'Family Portrait' without getting emotional," P!nk's mother, Judith Moore, told E! True Hollywood Story. Although the song addresses how P!nk struggled through her parents's divorce, it is also addressed to kids, to encourage them to talk with their parents about how they feel about their divorce.

Music video Edit

The song's music video was directed by Sophie Muller, who went on to direct the music video for "Trouble," the lead single from P!nk's third studio album, Try This. The video depicts P!nk as an adult, struggling to get through the day while her child self is singing the song.

P!nk told Entertainment Weekly that a child mouthed most of the song's lyrics in the video because the song became emotionally overwhelming after being asked about it in countless interviews during the promotion of M!ssundaztood.[7]

Live performances Edit

Since its release in 2001, "Family Portrait" has been included in the setlist of every major tour P!nk has done, with the exception of the Funhouse Summer Carnival in 2010. She performed an acoustic version of the song during The Truth About Love Tour.

Track listingsEdit

  • UK CD single
  1. "Family Portrait" (Radio Edit) – 3:50
  2. "Family Portrait" (Album Version) – 4:56
  3. "My Vietnam" (Live at La Scala) – 5:19
  4. "Family Portrait" (Video) – 3:50
  • European CD single
  1. "Family Portrait" (Radio Edit) – 3:50
  2. "Family Portrait" (Album Version) – 4:56
  • Cassette
  1. "Family Portrait" (Radio Edit) – 3:50
  2. "My Vietnam" (Live at La Scala) – 5:19
  • Australian CD single
  1. "Family Portrait" (Radio Edit) – 3:49
  2. "Just Like a Pill" (Jacknife Lee Mix) – 3:46
  3. "Just Like a Pill" (Karaoke Version) – 3:52
  • American DVD single
  1. "Family Portrait" (Music Video) – 3:50
  2. "Don't Let Me Get Me" (Music Video) – 3:30
  3. "Numb" (Live at La Scala, London) (Audio) – 5:03
  4. "Family Portrait" (Live at La Scala, London) (Audio) – 4:18

Lyrics Edit

Momma please stop cryin, I can't stand the sound
Your pain is painful and its tearin' me down
I hear glasses breakin as I sit up in my bed
I told dad you didn't mean those nasty things you
said

You fight about money, bout me and my brother
And this I come home to, this is my shelter
It ain't easy growin up in World War III
Never knowin what love could be, you'll see
I don't want love to destroy me like it has done
my family

Can we work it out? Can we be a family?
I promise I'll be better, Mommy I'll do anything
Can we work it out? Can we be a family?
I promise I'll be better, Daddy please don't
leave

Daddy please stop yellin, I can't stand the sound

Make mama stop cryin, cuz I need you around
My mama she loves you, no matter what she says
its true
I know that she hurts you, but remember I love
you, too

I ran away today, ran from the noise, ran away
Don't wanna go back to that place, but don't have
no choice, no way
It ain't easy growin up in World War III
Never knowin what love could be, well I've seen
I don't want love to destroy me like it did my
family

Can we work it out? Can we be a family?
I promise I'll be better, Mommy I'll do anything
Can we work it out? Can we be a family?
I promise I'll be better, Daddy please don't
leave

In our family portrait, we look pretty happy
Let's play pretend, let's act like it comes
naturally
I don't wanna have to split the holidays
I don't want two addresses
I don't want a step-brother anyways
And I don't want my mom to have to change her
last name

In our family portrait we look pretty happy
We look pretty normal, let's go back to that
In our family portrait we look pretty happy
Let's play pretend, act like it goes naturally

In our family portrait we look pretty happy
(Can we work it out? Can we be a family?)
We look pretty normal, let's go back to that
(I promise I'll be better, Mommy I'll do
anything)
In our family portrait we look pretty happy
(Can we work it out? Can we be a family?)
Let's play pretend act and like it comes so
naturally
(I promise I'll be better, Daddy please don't
leave)
In our family portrait we look pretty happy
(Can we work it out? Can we be a family?)
We look pretty normal, let's go back to that
(I promise I'll be better, Daddy please don't
leave)

Daddy don't leave
Daddy don't leave
Daddy don't leave
Turn around please
Remember that the night you left you took my
shining star?
Daddy don't leave
Daddy don't leave
Daddy don't leave
Don't leave us here alone

Mom will be nicer
I'll be so much better, I'll tell my brother
Oh, I won't spill the milk at dinner
I'll be so much better, I'll do everything right
I'll be your little girl forever
I'll go to sleep at night

Charts and certifications Edit

Weekly charts Edit

Chart (2002-03) Peak position
Australia (ARIA) 11
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40) 11
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders) 8
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia) 19
Denmark (Tracklisten) 11
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista) 12
France (SNEP) 23
Germany (Official German Charts) 8
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40) 9
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ) 5
Norway (VG-lista) 6
Poland (Polish Airplay Charts) 6
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan) 5
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade) 18
UK Singles (Official Charts Company) 11
US Billboard Hot 100 18
US Mainstream Top 40 (Billboard) 5

Year-end charts Edit

Chart (2003) Position
Australian Singles Chart 57
Austrian Singles Chart 72
Belgian Singles Chart (Flanders) 72
Belgian Singles Chart (Wallonia) 88
Dutch Singles Chart 73
French Singles Chart 98
German Singles Chart 72
Swedish Singles Chart 34

Certifications Edit

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA) Gold 35,000^
*sales figures based on certification alone

^shipments figures based on certification alone

ReferencesEdit

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