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Ariel Pink - Dedicated to Bobby Jameson
When you get through the weirdness of “Time to Meet Your God,” the first track on Ariel Pink’s latest release, you’re met with the shimmering synthesizers of “Feels Like Heaven,” a pretty goth-pop tune remnant of The Cure. While it’s not as electronic or as lushly produced as his 2014 release, Pom Pom, Dedicated to Bobby Jameson is hazy and haunting. Psychedelic 60’s sounds come together with 80’s new-wave; picture Robert Smith backed by The Doors and you’ve got the feel of this album. The concept of this record narrates the failed career of a musician named Bobby Jameson, a once promised “phenomenon” whose ambitious promoting during the late 60’s ultimately backfired as a result of a tanking single. Fittingly, the title track consists of a wafting melody evoking hopeful and dramatic tones, the chorus dubbing Jameson as the “mayor of the Sunset Strip.” Each track is completely different and evocative of something new. “Another Weekend” is lethargic and acoustic while “Bubblegum Dreams” is upbeat new-wave tinged by psyched out sitar notes. While the concept of the album might be somewhat lost within Ariel Pink’s typical distractions, this album really transcends any sort of specific genre. Sprawling and ambitious, it’s a showcase of nostalgic iridescence: probably one of the best albums of the year so far.
Photo from https://phoebebridgers.bandcamp.com/album/stranger-in-the-alps.
Phoebe Bridgers - Stranger In The Alps
Phoebe Bridgers sings of ghosts and forgotten pasts in her newest album, through snarky storytelling and ethereal echoes. “I hate you for what you did,” she opens on “Motion Sickness,” before softening up and disputing with, “I miss you like a little kid.” Bridgers tells it like it is and contradicts herself through her own feelings. “Funeral” is a heartbreaking self-requiem that takes place in the midst of an untimely death. “Demi Moore” explores feelings of vulnerability and loneliness that come up while sexting, an activity (for lack of a better word) that puts an otherwise very adult sounding song in the perspective of a younger person. “Smoke Signals” mourns the loss of David Bowie and Lemmy Kilmister, while also intertwining memories of living in LA with stories of her lost significant other. While her lyrics are sometimes jarring (she compares her feelings of abandonment to those of Jeffrey Dahmer on “Killer”), they’re set against a beautiful backdrop of haunting melodies. Her straightforward point of view is refreshing and relatable, and her unexpected poignant lines will go straight for your heartstrings. On Stranger In The Alps, the stories she tells will stay with you.