Before Today

Ariel Pink's audience has been growing over the last several albums of shambolic, four-track pop zaniness, to the point that Before Today's release was met with feverish fanfare (and a feature in the L.A. Times). Part of that excitement was stoked by teaser single "Round and Round," which found Ariel Pink exploiting more sophisticated recording methods and delivering one of the most deliriously fun songs of recent memory.

"Round and Round," perhaps expectedly, is the best song on the album, though there are several other would-be contenders. "Fright Night (Nevermore)" features tacky-chic synthesizers and a melody that is simultaneously stupid, hilarious, and awesome. "Beverly Kills" is catchy, coming across like a lost hit from an ’80s cop movie soundtrack, while "Bright Lit Blue Skies" sounds like a distortion-free version of an early Misfits classic.

The only confounding song is "Butt House Blondies," an overwrought mess that is kind of just idiotic. It's a minor misstep, and viewed differently perhaps contributes to the overall fusing of low and highbrow culture on the album. Pink's ability to encapsulate both the pretty and ugly aspects of his hometown of L.A. is part of what makes Before Today such an interesting listen.

  • Album: Before Today (2010)
  • Artist: Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti
  • Label: 4AD
  • Songs: (1) Hot Body Rub (2) Bright Lit Blue Skies (3) L'estat (4) Fright Night (Nevermore) (5) Round and Round (6) Beverly Kills (7) Butt House Blondies (8) Little Wig (9) Can't Hear My Eyes (10) Reminiscenes (11) Menopause Man (12) Revolution's a Lie

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