Sober (Pink song)

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Single by Pink
from the album Funhouse
B-side "When We're Through"[1]
Released November 3, 2008
(see release history)
Format Digital download, CD single
Recorded 2008
Genre Power pop
Length 4:11
Label LaFace, RCA[2]
Writer(s) Pink, Nate Hills, Kara DioGuardi, Marcella Araica
Producer(s) Danja, Tony Kanal, Jimmy Harry
Certification 2x Platinum (ARIA), Platinum (RIAA)
Pink singles chronology
"So What"
"Please Don't Leave Me"

"Sober" is a song by the American pop rock singer Pink, and the second single taken from her fifth studio album, Funhouse (2008). It was written by Nate "Danja" Hills, Kara DioGuardi, Marcella Araica and Pink herself, and produced by Danja, Tony Kanal and Jimmy Harry. The song gained airplay before release in Australia on Today Network's stations and the Hot 30 Countdown and was the number one most added song on Australian radio.[3] In the United States, "Sober" debuted at number 53 on the Billboard Hot 100, and peaked at 15, becoming her second Top 20 single from her album, after the huge success of "So What". Pink was nominated for the 2010 Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for "Sober", but lost to Beyoncé's "Halo".


Pink wrote the song at a party hosted at her home, where everyone was drunk or drinking except for her, and she wanted them all to leave. She went to the beach and had a line in her head saying "How do I feel so good sober?". Eventually it had nothing to do with alcohol but with identities. "How do I feel so good with just me, without anyone to lean on?", Pink says in an interview.[4] She also stated that the song was one of the darkest she wrote for the album. "Sober is a dark, kind of sad song. And it’s about the voices that we choose and I had this idea in my head, ‘Like how do I feel this good sober?...I don’t know it’s just a really, really personal beautiful song, one of my favorites…"[5]


"Sober" is a power pop song[6] written in the key of D minor. In the song, Pink's vocals span from D3 to B5. It is set at a moderately slow tempo of 92 beats per minute, following a chord progression of D5–B5–F–Dm.[7]

Critical reception[edit]

"A slick, stirring power-pop tune produced by Nate Hills and No Doubt's Tony Kanal, it finds Pink bellowing with a truck-load of angst. "I don't wanna be the girl who has to fill the silence," she hollers, "The quiet scares me 'cause it screams the truth." Not one of her most memorable singles, but this should find its way on to the nation's airwaves."

Digital Spy's review of the song.[6]

The song received positive reviews. Andy Battaglia from The A.V. Club stated that it is "a solemn song that slinks along at a slower speed, the better to bear out the grainy range of her voice." [8] Joan Anderman wrote for Boston Globe that the song "finds the sweet spot between "American Idol" and the Red Hot Chili Peppers."[9] Evan Sawdey wrote for PopMatters that "Pink launches into the surprisingly downtrodden, a song that once again spends time convincing herself that everything’s alright."[10]

Jonathan Keefe from Slant Magazine thought that the song was "oddly-chosen" to be the second single of the album, while commenting that the final result "is more mixed."[11] Digital Spy's Alex Fletcher realized that "it's a better representation of her Funhouse album than the clattering lead single."[6]

Chart performance[edit]

"Sober" made its debut on the Australian ARIA Singles Chart, entering at number 16 and peaking at number 6 . On the Australian Airplay chart it has been the most heard radio song peaking at number 1, staying there for 3 weeks.[12] In New Zealand, "Sober" debuted at number thirty-five on November 10, 2008 and peaked at number seven. On the Billboard issue dated December 13, "Sober" officially debuted at number 53 on the Billboard Hot 100 and has climbed to number 15 thus far, giving Pink her second top twenty from Funhouse. On the Adult Top 40, it climbed to #1, making it her third consecutive chart topper there ("Who Knew" and "So What" being the two prior). This is the first time an artist has scored three consecutive number ones on the Adult Top 40 in the chart's history, as well as the first time a female artist has achieved three number ones on the chart.[13] As of May 2011, "Sober" has sold over 2,037,000 downloads in the United States, becoming the second million-selling song from the Funhouse album.[14] In Europe it debuted at number 15 on the European Hot 100 on the issue of December 27 and the next week, peaking thus far at number 12. Also, in Canada it first made a 'Hot Shot Debut' at number 66 on the Canadian Hot 100 on the issue of November 15 based on downloads, but on the week of December 4 it made a re-entry on the chart peaking higher at number 31 and then rising to number 15. On the issue of February 14, 2009 "Sober" managed to enter the top 10 of the Canadian Hot 100 peaking at number 10, becoming Pink's second Top 10 hit from the Funhouse album in Canada. Thus far, the song managed to peak at number 8. In the Netherlands, "Sober" debuted at number 26 in the Top 40 (combined single sales and airplay chart) only due to airplay. Currently Sober stays at number 3, making it her highest charting single there since "Get the Party Started" back in 2001. On the chart week of December 25, 2008, "Sober" entered the Dutch Hot 100 Single Charts at number 82, her lowest debut ever on the chart, however due to the holidays the charts were published 3 days before normal date. However in the next week "Sober" moved 30 places to number 52, resulting in her fastest climbing single. Currently it stays at number 3. On December 28, 2008, "Sober" entered the UK Singles Chart at #80. On January 4, 2009, "Sober" moved up to #65. On January 11, "Sober" climbed into the Top 40 at #37. On January 18, "Sober" rose again to #26. These positions were based on downloads alone. "Sober" was released physically in the UK on January 19, 2009. Upon the physical release "Sober" rose to #9 in the UK, becoming Pink's second consecutive Top 10 hit from the "Funhouse" album in the UK, and her 14th Top 10 hit overall on the UK Singles Chart.

Music video[edit]

Pink and her doppelgänger in the bathroom at a party, in the video for "Sober".

The music video was filmed in the last days of September in Stockholm, Sweden.[15] A live video from London has been used in Australia and New Zealand to promote for the song until the official music video was released on November 25. It was directed by Jonas Akerlund. The video starts with views from the city and then a little TV is turned on in Pink's bedroom and Pink appears in white. The song starts, and Pink is shown in the bedroom lying on the bed alone, and a girl is shown walking out of the door of the room. As the first verse starts, Pink is shown sitting on a sofa in a party where her doppelgänger is drunk and flirting with different girls and guys. Pink's doppelgänger is shown in the bathroom, throwing up. Pink enters the bathroom and sits beside her doppelgänger who seemed disturbed and then walks out. Pink is now lying on the bed, her doppelgänger calls her up, but Pink doesn't answer her cell. As the chorus begins, Pink is shown singing on her bed in her bedroom and on the sofa in the party. And then pictures of a white room where Pink is dressed with white outfit and wearing a white pageboy wig are shown. The second verse is sung in the same location. As the chorus starts again, Pink is shown walking in the room where the party was held where everybody is blacked out and drunk, including her doppelgänger. As the song reaches its climax, the bridge kicks off and Pink is shown spanking and making out with her doppelgänger in bed. The scene was cut or replaced by almost all TV channels. Various scenes from the video are then shown and the video ends with one of the Pinks walking out of the door of the bedroom leaving the other Pink alone.


UK CD single
  1. "Sober" — 4:11
  2. "When We're Through" — 4:22
German CD single
  1. "Sober" — 4:14
  2. "When We're Through" — 4:22
  3. "Sober" (Bimbo Jones Radio Edit) — 3:04
  4. "Sober" (Junior's Spinning Around Tribal Dub) — 9:00

Charts and certifications[edit]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label
U.S.[60] November 4, 2008 Digital download Sony Music
Australia November 15, 2008 Digital download, CD single
Germany[60] December 5, 2008 Digital download, CD single
UK January 19, 2009 Digital download, CD single


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