Lo-fi multi-instrumentalist Ariel Pink released his eleventh studio album Sep. 15, leaving fans awed with its groovy yet sentimental undertones.
The album, entitled Dedicated to Bobby Jameson, channels inspiration from late cult favorite, American songwriter, Bobby Jameson. Jameson serves as a tragically beautiful illustration of growing disillusionment with fame and the music industry.
Jameson was active in the L.A. music scene, and attracted minor success in the U.S. and U.K. following the release of his politically charged and impassioned record, Songs of Protest and Anti-Protest.
However, his personal life was plagued with misfortune, ranging from alcoholism to criminal activity. Many rock fans, though, continue to regard him as an underground pioneer of the ’60s scene, for standing up to establishment and sharing his talent for folk rock.
Pink stays true to his sometimes-pretentious lyrical and thematic style through using an underground musician as his muse. While sometimes sardonic and cheeky, Pink gets refreshingly more serious and heartfelt in Dedicated to Bobby Jameson, as he pays tribute to the obscure late star.
Pink also touches on themes of self-exploration, withering trauma and lust — making it a broad yet telling glimpse into his artistic vision. Much like his previous works, Pink somehow makes at times dissimilar themes flow together through a cohesive musical style alone.
Pink shies away from his sometimes tongue-in-cheek irony in the LP, but remains true to his absurdist, in-your-face theatrics. The record feels reminiscent of his past works, through silky vocalizations and edgy subject matter.
The record opens with “Time To Meet Your God,” a song reflecting on his feelings towards Jameson and death at large. While sometimes ambiguous in the lyrics, Pink creates a hauntingly beautiful yet simple ode.
The one-man-band leans more towards a psychedelic sound in “Feels Like Heaven,” a song that just may be my favorite on the album. Pink touches on fear and on the personal coldness and distance that stems from longing for solace, or heaven, somehow.
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Pink gets more upbeat in “Dreamdate Narcissist,” channeling quite obviously a ’60s/70s inspired charm. With lyrics like “It’s so easy it’s almost a crime,” Pink gets sexy yet absurd, making a mockery of hookup and dating culture.
While at times lacking clear focus, Dedicated to Bobby Jameson sways between exquisitely inspired moments, and danceable, lo-fi jams.
It is a rare instance to be able to say a musician’s eleventh album is just as inspired and emotionally provocative as their earliest works, but Pink manages to impress skeptics, even after generating sound not heard since 1999.