Ariel Pink
Dedicated to Bobby Jameson


4.5
superb

Review

by DoofusWainwright USER (100 Reviews)
September 22nd, 2017 | 87 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Come Ask Me About My Career Tomorrow, and You Shall Find Me a Grave Man

Just what is it that gets up people's noses with Ariel Pink? If ever there's an artist in 2017 with a permanent 'kick me' note affixed to his back it's this man; he's treated like the 'office party animal' who turns up every Friday with a different wacky tie. Yes, the collective groan is audible. There's a feeling Pink's attempting the same joke on repeat, and that there's a general lack of authenticity to the dude. Nowt worse than fake fun, or a phoney freak. This is the way it goes down today for any artist operating in the genres of kitsch pop, novelty retro and lo-fi bedroom tape experimentalism; you choose this approach then mainstream success isn't just unexpected, it's actively opposed. Almost instantly Pink faced accusations of being a copy cat, some of downright plagiarism. A lot of wrinkled noses and sniffy sniping along the lines of 'he's just ripping off John Maus'. All in all, it's been more than a little tiresome.

It seems Ariel is all too aware of the fickle nature of the music industry, the album's title being a typical example of his dark sense of humour. The late Bobby Jameson was a failed singer who fell pray to alcoholism and an all consuming bitterness in his later years, bitching and revenge blogging to his ultimate end. Pink has tasted the success this man craved and soon realised it's not all that it's cracked up to be and could yet prove equally fleeting in the long run. In recent interviews Pink has admitted the industry makes his job a bit of a bummer and has even taken the edge of his passion. On this, his second solo release since he disbanded his Haunted Graffiti band, this cynicism shows. What's strange is that against all common logic it actually makes for a more appealing overall listen. If 2014'd 'Pom Pom' found the artist operating at his wildly scattershot extremes, this album zeroes in on a more consistent tone and reaps the rewards.

The tone he settles on is more mellow and reflective, and it's a look that really suits him. Is this music as stripped back and au naturale his pre release photos which surprisingly revealed Ariel now minus pink hair and associated garb? Not quite, but it's still obvious enough to those who've followed his music over the years. Sure, 'Dedicated to Bobby J...'s still packed with the sort of addictive pop nuggets we've come to expect, only they sound a little more restrained than usual. They're still unlikely to make any mainstream radio playlist any time soon of course; 'Feels Like Heaven', 'Another Weekend' 'I Wanna Be Young' and the title track are the most conventional tunes here, all excellent in their own way, but in each case there's an element too damn Pink for mass appeal. In the case of '...Bobby Jameson' the risqué use of the 'T' word has already been greeted with outrage in some quarters; within the song it's a historical reference ye gods, he was never referred to in those days as 'a Tinseltown man who's within his rights to wear women's clothes and make-up and whose choices I understand and respect'. This is Ariel Pink, a man partial to some dress up himself, there'll be no whitewash on an album this damn pink, thankfully. Let's move on.

It's most pleasing of all to report that the trademark AP surreal numbers are particularly strong here, conjuring up a by turns paranoid and resigned feel. There's a morbid obsession with the passing of time and an underlying mournful air to songs like 'Time to Live', 'Do Yourself a Favor' and 'Death Patrol' that affords them an uncanny depth. Elsewhere the swirling head-trip 'Santa's in the Closet' recalls previous classic 'Fright Night' and is an early highlight, while the straight-ahead retro rockers 'Bubblegum Dreams' and 'Dreamdate Narcissist' make for a welcome mid album sweetener. It's not wall to wall perfection all the way but I'll be damned if this doesn't feel like the closest this man has ever come to such an accolade.

The album signs off with a hidden track that plays out as a thank you from Pink to those who've supported him, one I'm interpreting as heartfelt. The scales of acclaim may be balanced somewhere in the middle for Ariel, he'll always have his fair share of non believers, but this isn't a man you could ever accuse of lacking self awareness. He's released a really exceptional album here, probably his very best, and yet a lot of people won't give it a try. He understands all that, and he's at peace with it too. After all, he could oh so easily have been another Bobby fucking Jameson.



Recent reviews by this author
Stuart A. Staples ArrhythmiaEvil Blizzard The Worst Show on Earth
Eleanor Friedberger ReboundKanye West ye
Janelle Monae Dirty ComputerPaddy Hanna Frankly, I Mutate
user ratings (122)
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
CanadianSpud (4)
A virtual encompassing of Ariel's stylistic range, Dedicated To Bobby Jameson is an album that comes...


Comments:Add a Comment 
SandwichBubble
September 22nd 2017


10109 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Need to check Pom Pom again before checking this, but I'm excited. Good writeup

Digging: A Witness - Red Snake

DoofusWainwright
September 22nd 2017


19991 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Meme review from the meme artist DoofistWainwrong

DoofusWainwright
September 22nd 2017


19991 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I wrote this very quickly as I was sickened this hadn't been reviewed yet fo' shame

DoofusWainwright
September 22nd 2017


19991 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks SandwichB



Will this make the Sputnik front page? Or has Ariel's stock fallen to an all new low?

butcherboy
September 22nd 2017


9464 Comments


will i like this?

DoofusWainwright
September 22nd 2017


19991 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Might do. As the review suggests a lot depends on whether you believe him to be authentic enough. Or if you indeed care either way (I never have)



He's someone you should at least give a try I'd say. This is top 5 of 2017 for me.

Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
September 22nd 2017


18924 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

it's a doofpink combo, front page is guaranteed (best new music? who knows, if godspeed can make it...)

Digging: Doopees - Doopee Time

DoofusWainwright
September 22nd 2017


19991 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is my most butt hurt review so far though Fripp

Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
September 22nd 2017


18924 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i can tell by the little typos, nowt too bad I must say

DoofusWainwright
September 22nd 2017


19991 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Typos? How dare you

butcherboy
September 22nd 2017


9464 Comments


i didn't know Ariel Pink's street cred was in question.. will check..

DoofusWainwright
September 22nd 2017


19991 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Took me 40 minutes on train/tube to write



Anger inspires me

SandwichBubble
September 22nd 2017


10109 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I thought Nowt was a word

Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
September 22nd 2017


18924 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I fall pray to hot toddy, of course, doof

Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
September 22nd 2017


18924 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Boredom generally drives me, when it doesn't put me to sleep

it's a miracle I even write properly anymore

butcherboy
September 22nd 2017


9464 Comments


i made a hot toddy last night actually - bourbon and saffron and dill..

(fuck people who order hot toddies in bars)

Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
September 22nd 2017


18924 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

while listening to hot toddy? 🤔

DoofusWainwright
September 22nd 2017


19991 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I have a really high tolerance for boredom, probably the secret to my survival :D



Also explains that 3.5 for latest GurdSpeed

butcherboy
September 22nd 2017


9464 Comments


while Hot Todd danced the night away..

Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
September 22nd 2017


18924 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

But at what cost?



But at what cost...



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2019 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy