With a lo-fi aesthetic, pop singer-songwriter Ariel Pink scores alternative, retrofuturist versions of reality where the popular and cult cultures of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s never ceased and instead warped and blended into one another.
Pink’s postmodernist expression of self awareness assembles his album “Dedicated to Bobby Jameson,” released Sept. 15, into a fantastic bipolar mix of heartfelt songs of love, strange stories of warped realities and tongue-in-cheek satire.
Pink continues in the vein of artists like David Bowie by shamelessly wearing his influences on his sleeve, sampling elements from these artists and putting his own spin on those artists’ sounds to make something unique and original.
Both cherishing and satirizing popular music from the ’60s through ’80s, Pink twists these sounds to create something best described as a strange dystopian version of reality, retrospective of a time that never happened.
Every song contains many different influences, and each track stands out greatly from one another as Pink continuously changes his style and voice.
Pink expresses many personas with his endlessly changing voice to make a list of characters that shift throughout the album.
For instance, on “Feels Like Heaven,” Pink orchestrates and sings a passionate ballad about helplessly falling in love in the style of a warped version of ’80s dream pop.
Pink sings with a range perfectly fitting his aesthetic from a silky and smooth matured voice to the bright voice of a young ’80s pop star.
On top of his own evolving voice, Pink utilizes female backing vocals to create an even more vast and dreamy sound.
To create this heavenly warped dream pop sound Pink employs evolving background synths, whistling synths leads, popping and bubbling synths, subtle driving drums, arpeggiating keyboard melodies and acoustic guitars strumming up and down throughout the track.
Along with creating a unique sound influenced by ’80s dream pop, Pink also explores a twisted version of ’70s funk, disco and pop with “Death Patrol.”
“Death Patrol” features an abundances of rugged bass lines, many uniquely distorted guitars playing helplessly engaging licks, occasional, playful harmonica, background striking string sections, experimental shrieking bowed strings, and a mix of electronic and live drums.
Pink’s changing voice throughout the track makes for a complex and strange ride as he begins with a low, soulful and funky voice and switches off to a strange high pitched voice of a Hanna-Barbera cartoon character.
Pink knows no limits when it comes to the amount of styles and sounds performed in one track.
This is most evident on the album’s title track, “Dedicated to Bobby Jameson.”
Telling the story of “A Tinseltown Tranny and mayor of the Hollywood Hills,” Pink takes a sonic journey through ’60s British invasion pop, psychedelic rock, blues rock, acid rock and early metal.
This track shifts from jingling tambourines, groovy ’60s pop drums, and high pitched groovy vocal tones to deep, deathly vocals. The Doors inspired keyboard bass melodies to synth strings pierce through the mix throughout the track with a guitar solo directly inspired by Jefferson Airplane.
This track and album evolve sonically with Pink’s constantly changing voice, rapidly changing tempo and a slew of surreal, distorted instruments.
This album is for any listener who ever wondered what would happen if an other worldly civilization tried to replicate popular music culture through listening to warped recording and viewing distorted footage from the 1960s through the 1980s.