Ariel Pink's Bad Case of Foot-In-Mouth Syndrome
  • TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2014

  • Posted by: Austin Price

There is a sense that because their art allows us to transcend our daily limitations (or at least to find pleasure in those same limitations), the artists behind it are a reified form of the best of their work. The truth is much more likely they will end up, as William Gaddis noted, "the dregs of (their) workthe human shambles that follows it around." So I shouldn't, hell, no one should be, surprised that Ariel Pink, who couldn't make a song to save his life (do people really enjoy his brand of hyper-produced, soulless synthetica?), is about as charismatic as the gunk at the bottom of an empty oil barrel.

It's not so much because he's disparaged Madonna or because he is, as Grimes and so many others claims, a misogynist, it's not even because he took a second in a recent interview with The Guardian to call Grimes "retarded." After all, Madonna is a bit of a hack, her attempts to flaunt her sex appeal instead of making listenable music remind us all of the worst parts of popular culture's emphasis on spectacle over substance (which was the point of the Ariel Pink comment that started all of this) and while Grimes may not be mentally stunted her music might easily be titled "vegetable core" for all of the synaptic power it possesses.

The problem with Pink is that he's terrible at articulating himself, he's wretched at presenting a consistent philosophy and he's got nothing much of real value to say. At some point, when asked if he "disagrees with celebrity culture" (whatever it means to "disagree with a culture"), he responds, "No, I disagree with the massesthe American people don't feel responsiblethat for every $2 box of chocolates they buy their grandmother, someone dies." It's not just a non sequitur, it's also nonsense; Pink seems to think that sounding smug, cynical and informed allows him to recite common saws about the evils of globalization without actually backing his comment up. At another moment he rambles on about how "we're all making castles in the sand, wonderful tapestries but is it meaningful? No. It's dogs barking. It doesn't mean anything beyond our yelping, at the paint of being alive." This is adolescent nihilism, a third-rate Holden Caulfield imitation from someone who never understood that Caulfield was an emotionally stunted nitwit. Pink's problem isn't that he talks, it's not even in his opinions, it's in the fact that he communicates like a child.

But hey, maybe you're still in the mood for some of Pink's music. In which case we've got his latest video, "Picture Me Gone," up for a view below:

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