Album Review: Ariel Pink – Dedicated To Bobby Jamesson

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3.5 OUT OF 5 NUTS!

Ariel Rosenberg (stage name: Pink) has always approached his music with a post-modern sensibility. The man embraces a sort of distilled, extra-potent version of the rock star mythos, and he’s achieved quite a bit of notoriety for both his excellent songs and his mercurial personality. Rosenberg functions as a virtual wood chipper of influences and sounds, regurgitating various disparate elements into a pulpy mass.

Sometimes, this works beautifully, as in the pop-perfection of a track like “Bubblegum Dreams.” Sometimes it’s less successful. Rosenberg seems to be nostalgic for the 70’s “needle and crash pad” version of Los Angeles popularized by bands like the Doors. Actually, it’s unclear throughout the course of this album whether Rosenberg longs for this bygone reality, or simply thinks it’s still going on, with himself at the center.

It’s hardly an accident that the namesake of the album was a promising psych-pop star of the 60’s who was (as the popular mythology goes) devoured by the merciless L.A. music scene, ultimately dying penniless and quite possibly insane. Rosenberg delivers on this theme in spades with a few psych-influenced gems, (the title track and “Dreamdate Narcissist”), but the really interesting songs are much more in the vein of krautrock and Low-era Bowie. “Death Patrol” is a wiggly, perversely percussive highlight. Elsewhere, Rosenberg delivers what may turn out to be one of the key anthems for the 2010s with the album centerpiece “Time to Live.” 

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Ariel Pink can be counted on to deliver big, sleazy hooks, but he’s also able to display genuine pathos when the situation warrants such a thing. “Another Weekend” would trade pomp and affect for genuine security and safety. “Feel a body, warm and close around me/I turn around, but you are not there.” With this latest collection, Rosenberg presents another solid argument that he might be one of the great tune-smiths working today. That is, if you can catch his act before the on-stage meltdown.

 

 

 

 

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