Review : Ariel Pink's Haunted - Graffiti Mature Themes
PitchforkAriel Pink's music began its strange journey early in the last decade, as a CD-R lying on the floor of Animal Collective's tour van. Before then, he'd been heard by almost no one, despite that he'd recorded hundreds of songs, by himself, in what sounded like a windowless dungeon. The quality of those early recordings was poor, but something shined out of the murk: Pink became the first artist signed to the band's Paw Tracks label, which reissued his album The Doldrums in 2004. The path of his career since then has been wayward and strange, culminating in the spit-shined and highly professional Before Today in 2010. But there are through-lines. Whether you tuned into his world during the Paw Tracks era or after Before Today's "Round and Round" became an indie anthem, you probably sensed an intriguing off-note lurking in the L.A. home-recording savant's music.
In Pink's hands, the boundless sunshine of 1970s AM pop grows queasy, even malevolent, splitting the difference between a grimace, a smirk, and a smile. Even at its loveliest, his music radiates a mesmerizing sense of bad faith: Pink often incorporates humor into his songs, but it's hard to be sure if you're in on the joke. He may express seemingly sincere sentiments in one moment while mocking them in the next. In his most compelling material, these impulses curl around each other until his "fuck you's" sound like "I love you", and vice versa. ...full text
GuardianAriel Pink has become markedly more conventional since his early cassette-only recordings, when by his own admission he couldn't actually play – "I had no verifiable talent, no instruments, nothing. I was just completely disturbed," he told this paper in 2006. But it's all relative: for all that his second album for 4AD is full of normal pop sounds and melodies, it remains deeply odd. Kinski Assassin could have come from one of the early Julian Cope solo albums; Schnitzel Boogie revisits the lo-fi years with the chorus that repeats the phrase "I need a schnitzel"; Symphony of the Nymph sounds like Visage's Steve Strange recounting sexual fantasies to a therapist. But then there's the seemingly straightforward and glorious soft pop of the title track. Mature Themes poses questions of the listener: is this pop? Is this for real? Is he taking the mick? It will likely infuriate as many as it delights, but no one could dispute the singularity of Pink's vision....full text
PrettymuchamazingFull disclosure: Back in December of 2010, PMA asked me to compile a list of that year’s best albums. It was a year filled with big, important releases and for my number-one pick I could have gone with a number of obvious choices – Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, LCD Soundsystem’s This Is Happening, the National’s High Violet (which PMA named its top album). Instead I chose Before Today, the breakthrough record by Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti. I admit it was a self-conscious, symbolic, trickster vote on my part, in the spirit of Ariel Pink himself. But my primary motive was aesthetic. Before Today remains a densely packed, melodically breathtaking gem. When the complex calculus of vote tallying was done, Before Today landed at #33 on PMA’s final list, ahead of worthy albums by Gorillaz, Spoon, and Brian Eno. That #33 spot? I took it as a modest victory.
Further disclosure: I’m a weirdo, and Ariel Pink is a weirdo’s weirdo. His lyrics are often nonsensical; his vocal delivery ranges from a deadpan lower register to an impish falsetto and can approach clownishness. But I’m also a sucker for melody and Pink’s aptitude is striking. For Pink, bygone genres and styles are merely languages in which he is fluent. Euphony is his accent. His knockouts reinterpret the past with such a degree of expertise they obliterate quibbles over what is pastiche and what is authentic. Take Before Today’s masterpiece of early-80s yacht rock “Round and Round.” After an anxious bass verse, the song’s glorious payoff arrives like a trumpet blast, soaring atop tidal waves of harmonies. For me, only one pop chorus has been better in the last decade: Kelly Clarkson’s exuberant “Since U Been Gone.” That a rascal like Ariel Pink could pull off such a feat is astounding.
Disclosures and ovations aside, Mature Themes, the new album by Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, matches Before Today’s eclecticism and even approaches its predecessor’s woozy heights. But thanks to some serious missteps, particularly its slack and cumbersome final third, Mature Themes ultimately falls short. The seven-minute-plus “Nostradamus & Me” is largely to blame. Pink’s attempts at sprawling atmospherics only spotlight his knack with a sharp hook. “Nostradamus & Me,” a lazy cannabis cough, a puff of reverberated psychedelia, drifts nowhere fast. “Farewell American Primitive” and the “Live It Up” are better by comparison, but only just so. The former is rescued by its chiming instrumentation, the latter by its sprightliness. Despite these paltry virtues, both are equally unimaginative and tedious (a word Pink rarely conjures). Sometimes Pink’s bizarro tendencies can even exasperate a sympathetic listener like me. “Schnitzel Boogie” is a plodding goof that might have been charming as a brief interlude; over the course of its four-and-a-half minutes, it becomes unbearable....full text
Sweetslyrics Top 20 Artists
Do you think interacial dating is wrong ?