Sorry in advance for the long post... I’m a new fan of Ariel’s and I just joined this board because I needed a place to gush about my newfound love for his music.
Some background — I actually listened to Pom Pom around the time it came out, and a few other tracks like Round and Round, Baby, etc. I liked a lot of what I heard, and I was already a fan of weird/experimental pop (for reference my favorite band is Animal Collective), but something was holding me back from totally loving it. I think it was the aspect of Ariel’s music where it sounds funny, especially the way he uses all these affected and goofy voices, it made me feel like the music was a joke (tho I realize now that this is a misguided assessment of the music). I also tried listening to House Arrest at some point and I did NOT like it at all, just couldn’t get past the lofi amateurishness of it
Just recently I decided to revisit his music for some reason. I listened to House Arrest again and somehow, something clicked with that album… I just couldn’t stop listening to it and thinking about it all the time. It felt like it came out of nowhere for me, all of a sudden it was my favorite album. Then I listened to Worn Copy, and I think by the end of Trepanated Earth (incredible song) I was like holy fuck, I can’t believe I’ve never listened to more Ariel Pink!!
The last couple weeks I’ve been on a complete binge, basically listening to Ariel almost exclusively. I don’t think I can even explain what it is about his music that I love so much, it just makes me feel different than any other music does and it makes me want to listen over and over. What’s weird is that his music is still funny to me like it was before, obviously it’s hilarious how many different voices and genres he switches between, but the music doesn’t feel like a joke or anything like that. It feels very real and sincere, but mixed with a sense of humor and playfulness that is so infectious.
It’s insane to me the way that he combines so many different styles of music so seamlessly, 60s psych folk, rock, funk, post punk, krautrock, metal, electro pop, etc. as well as basically every conceivable genre of radio pop from the 60s-80s. But he embodies all these styles so enthusiastically that it all comes across so real, and it all sounds like him. There are times when it feels like such a jumbled mess lol, but it somehow still makes sense. And even though his music can get so off kilter and messy, it’s somehow always grounded by this strong sense of rhythm and groove. It often feels like the basslines kinda hold everything together. It really just feels like his music is a journey into his twisted mind, I mean that in the best way possible lol.
I’m also totally on board with the lofi recording style of his early albums now, though it took a bit to get used to it. I’m not a purist when it comes to music and I don’t think either lofi or hifi is inherently better, they’re just different approaches, but I think with Ariel it often enhances the music. Because he’s copying all these classic pop tropes, it has this effect where it’s like you’re listening to an old cassette of lost obscure pop music…it’s sort of like vaporwave or something with the way it plays with context and memory (I know ppl have said he's like the godfather of vaporwave or whatever). But I also just like the way the music sounds visually obscured, it’s like the distortion sort of smears everything together in this really psychedelic way (btw Ariel is the fucking BEST music to listen to while stoned, wow)
Anyway I could probably keep typing forever lol... I'm sure nothing I'm saying here is very original or new, but I just can't stop thinking about his music and had to share my thoughts. I haven’t felt this strong of a connection with an artist’s music since I first got into Animal Collective, and it’s an amazing feeling. I’ve heard these albums so far:
Pom Pom (masterpiece)
DTBJ (fucking awesome)
House Arrest (prob my favorite, never gets old)
Worn Copy (unreal album, so intense and anxious)
The Doldrums (Very moving and emotional)
Lover Boy (Unbelievable melodies, every track gets stuck in my head)
FF >> (took a bit longer to click but this one is so fun and strange)
I actually still haven’t listened to Before Today or Mature Themes but I kinda want to finish going through all his early stuff first. I can’t believe I’ve slept on his music for so long, I’m so happy that it finally clicked for me