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Riffs: I'm not going to try to like Ariel Pink anymore

ariel pinkFuzzy microphone? What's not to like? Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti performs tonight at Rock & Roll Hotel. (Photo courtesy the artist)

By David Malitz

I don’t like Ariel Pink.

This isn’t really much of a problem. Maybe you don’t like Ariel Pink either. But there’s really no reason why I shouldn’t like Ariel Pink. He’s a prolific, lo-fi, retro, psych-pop mystery figure. I love prolific, lo-fi, retro psych-pop mystery figures! He records for Animal Collective’s label. He’s been called the psychedelic, West Coast version of Robert Pollard. My like-minded friends love him. Every time there’s a new album I try to jump on board. But it never takes.

I really tried to get into Pink’s latest, “Before Today,” a universally-praised album that’s supposed to appeal to people who may not enjoy his earlier stuff. Again, nothing. And then I decided I won’t ever again try to like anything. This seems to be a pretty common phenomenon -- “trying” to get into something that you simply don’t like. But why bother? Not to say we shouldn’t listen to new things or even give something we didn’t like another chance. But to commit yourself to liking something that you already know you don’t like? There’s got to be a better way to spend time.

Or maybe I'm simply being stubborn? Have you ever tried to force yourself to like an artist and actually succeeded?

By David Malitz  |  July 28, 2010; 3:00 PM ET
Categories:  Riffs  | Tags: Ariel Pink  
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Comments

It took me years to get past the obnoxiousness that is Jeff Lynne (Beatles coattail rider, worst hair in rock) and just enjoy ELO for the music.

I try to devote no psychic energy to Ariel Pink. his stuff just does not interest me.

Posted by: M__N | July 28, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Yes, just about every too-precious indie band of the past several years. Oh look, another one.

Posted by: ana1ana2 | July 28, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

It's not so much that I "want" to learn to like something that initially doesn't interest me, but if enough friends or reputable sources like them, I'll give them more listens just in case I might have missed something. This happened more frequently when I first started listening to music that was outside the mainstream. TV on the Radio, Menomena, Mercury Rev and Deerhunter all vexed me at first, but I kept going back for more and now they're all favorites of mine.

Posted by: gmburris | July 28, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Stereolab is a band I should like given their musical attributes but cannot get into for the life of me. I've tried multiple times with many albums and...nothing. Yes, I love Broadcast and don't think I'll ever take a liking to Stereolab. This has been an impossible pill to swallow for people who have found this out about me. I do like the High Llamas, though. Whatever happened to them?

Posted by: azaghal1981 | July 29, 2010 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Stereolab is a band I should like given their musical attributes but cannot get into for the life of me. I've tried multiple times with many albums and...nothing. Yes, I love Broadcast and don't think I'll ever take a liking to Stereolab. This has been an impossible pill to swallow for people who have found this out about me. I do like the High Llamas, though. Whatever happened to them?

Posted by: azaghal1981 | July 29, 2010 12:06 AM | Report abuse

---------

That's kind of surprising. I enjoy High Llamas but I didn't think anyone would prefer them over Stereolab.

In general, though I understand peoples' ambivilence to Stereolab. Without close listening the last 6 or so albums all have a certain sameness, and I say this as a huge fan.

Posted by: M__N | July 29, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Some people might say Ariel Pink is an acquired taste, that it takes a few listens to warm to his sound. I think this is erroneous in both Pink's case, and in a lot of other music. I fell in love with Ariel Pink and his music from the first AM radio-esque transmission of "Good Kids Make Bad Grown-Ups" and 3 years later I've never looked back. Granted, half of his albums are almost unlistenable, but either something calls to you from the murky depths or it doesn't. To call Pink another indie flash-in-the-pan is kind of ignoring the fact that he's been doing this since the late 90's, and his fan base has been at a cult level. And if "Before Today" is but a brief shining moment before a return to obscurity, I'm sure Pink will keep on as before. Though I've evangelized for this music in various ways in the last few years, I would never force it on anybody. Besides, if too many people liked him, I'd have never been able to get right in front of the stage at the show last night and witness one of the best performances I've ever seen.

Posted by: chrisrudy777 | July 29, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Some people might say Ariel Pink is an acquired taste, that it takes a few listens to warm to his sound. I think this is erroneous in both Pink's case, and in a lot of other music. I fell in love with Ariel Pink and his music from the first AM radio-esque transmission of "Good Kids Make Bad Grown-Ups" and 3 years later I've never looked back. Granted, half of his albums are almost unlistenable, but either something calls to you from the murky depths or it doesn't. To call Pink another indie flash-in-the-pan is kind of ignoring the fact that he's been doing this since the late 90's, and his fan base has been at a cult level. And if "Before Today" is but a brief shining moment before a return to obscurity, I'm sure Pink will keep on as before. Though I've evangelized for this music in various ways in the last few years, I would never force it on anybody. Besides, if too many people liked him, I'd have never been able to get right in front of the stage at the show last night and witness one of the best performances I've ever seen.

Posted by: chrisrudy777 | July 29, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

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