Ariel Pink finds his muse on the impressed Devoted To Bobby Jameson

Photograph: Eliot Lee Hazel
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It’s not exhausting to see why Ariel Pink can be fascinated with forgotten pop singer—and fellow Los Angeleno—Bobby Jameson. Jameson discovered minor success within the 1960s, solely to see his profession derailed by unhealthy enterprise dealings, substance abuse, and psychological well being points. He spent a lot of the ’70s in establishments or dwelling on the streets; by the ’80s, he’d left the music enterprise fully and was presumed lifeless, solely to resurface in 2007 with a weblog and a collection of YouTube rants in which he detailed his tragic tale. It’s a classic underground story, and Ariel Pink has long been focused on what lurks in the shadows of his sunny hometown, creating music that brings that murky past to life in vivid, psychedelic hues. There’s nothing ironic about Pink’s investment in Jameson. And with an album dedicated to the recently deceased singer, Pink has managed one of his most heartfelt and gorgeous works.

Dedicated To Bobby Jameson is explicit in its concept, which the artist describes as a seesawing trip “between the innocent love and the rock-solid edifice of childhood-worn trauma that together constitute [Jameson’s] lifelong initiation into the realm of artifice and theatrical disposability.” And while that narrative certainly adds depth and weight to Pink’s typically flippant, absurdist take on L.A. nostalgia, Dedicated To Bobby Jameson is more notable for how personal it feels.

As he has on his 10 previous records, Pink hops unabashedly across aesthetics and fidelity. “Feels Like Heaven” explores Captured Tracks-esque haziness; “Another Weekend” twirls a slow dance under a mirror ball; and “Do Yourself A Favor” works as a tie-dyed campfire sing-along. Even the songs that could fit most comfortably with Pink’s recent albums—the freaky death-as-birth mediation “Time To Meet Your God”; the danceable, Dâm-Funk-featuring “Acting”—ditch the winking quality that he’s virtually turned into a brand. Pink likely knows how easily his own career could resemble Jameson’s, and is grateful that his own music has so far avoided record-crate obscurity. Dedicated To Bobby Jameson is the most comfortable Pink’s ever sounded with his own success, turning legitimacy into a noble weapon: ambition.


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