Los Angeles’s prodigal songwriting son Ariel Pink and his band return to Australia this November to perform songs from forthcoming album Dedicated to Bobby Jameson (out September 15 on Mexican Summer via Rocket) and the singular body of work Pink has created over the first two decades of his career. Ariel Pink has today unveiled shared “Feels Like Heaven,” a lovelorn insta-classic playing tribute to the promise of romance.
Dedicated to Bobby Jameson’s title makes a direct and heartfelt reference to a real-life Los Angeles musician, long presumed dead, who resurfaced online in 2007 after 35 reclusive years to pen his autobiography and tragic life story in a series of blogs and YouTube tirades. “His book and life resonated with me to such a degree that I felt a need to dedicate my latest record to him,” Pink states.
Dedicated to Bobby Jameson begins at the end and ends at the beginning. “We follow the protagonist through a battery of tests and milestones, the first of which sees him reborn into life out of death,” Pink explains, referencing the opening track, “Time to Meet Your God.” “From there, he seesaws his way between the innocent love and the rock-solid edifice of childhood-worn trauma that together constitute his lifelong initiation into the realm of artifice and theatrical disposability.”
Ariel Pink’s previous solo release, pom pom, received a Best New Music designation from Pitchfork; The New York Times described it as “a delightful, typically schizophrenic collection: wickedly dark and funny one moment, sweet and sentimental the next, and at other times as gleefully unhinged as Pink has ever been.” SPIN noted that it’s a record “full of unforgettably kaleidoscopic melodies.” Pink has prolifically written, recorded and released his singular brand of pop music for well over two decades. Dedicated to Bobby Jameson sees Ariel Pink returning to the setting of his first recordings: his bedroom.
Raised in Beverly Hills, Ariel Pink started out as a visual artist before becoming a recording artist in the late ‘90s while attending Cal Arts. Though critically misunderstood at the time, Pink’s early, lo-fi recordings wielded an enormous influence with insiders and outsiders, including Animal Collective who signed him to their Paw Tracks imprint in 2003. In the late 2000s, Pink’s fortunes with critics began to reverse, and his resulting single, “Round and Round” (off Before Today), was named the #1 Record of 2010 by Pitchfork.
Since that period, Pink’s influence has grown, even as he and his work have waxed and waned within the popular political conversation. His music, in its earnest genre drag, continues to polarize. His embrace of the dark edges of human folly and despair is juxtaposed with superficial joy, touching on aspects normally avoided in pop music like sarcasm, suspicion, nihilism, self-loathing, and denial. These shadows of the self make their brighter counterparts—love, desire, nostalgia, dreams, acceptance, and epiphany—all the more transcendent, striking deep chords of emotion with fans. In his frenzied portrayals of humanity’s baseness and beauty, Ariel Pink spins pathos into paradise.
Standout tracks from Dedicated to Bobby Jameson include “Feels Like Heaven,” a lovelorn insta-classic paying tribute to the promise of romance, “Another Weekend,” which encapsulates the lingering euphoria of a regrettable weekend over the edge, “Dedicated to Bobby Jameson,” a rah-rah psych romp paying homage to L.A.’s punk history, and “Time to Live,” an ironic anti-suicide anthem that promotes survival as a form of resistance before devolving into a grungy, “Video Killed the Radio Star”-style breakdown that supposes life and death as being more or less the same fate and embraces the immortal anarchy of a rock song as an alternative to the prison of reality.
Alternately contained and sprawling, Dedicated to Bobby Jameson is a shimmering pop odyssey that represents more astonishing peaks and menacing valleys in the career of a man who, through sheer originality and nerve, has become an American rock and roll institution. The album marks his first full-length release with the Brooklyn-based independent label Mexican Summer. This extremely special night includes Benjamin Witt Quartet, Camp Doogs DJs (Coel and Bellair), Leopard Lake, and MC Matt Acorn.