Ariel Pink has been an extremely polarizing figure in the blogosphere, what with his cantankerously ironic lo-fi aesthetic and soporifically catchy Dirk Diggler-like tunes. But with “Round And Round,” the first single off his band Haunted Graffiti’s upcoming album Before Today (out June 8 on 4AD), Pink seems to actually be taking himself and his music seriously—and not in that cheeky and disingenuous art-school-student sort of way that made him such a divisive figure to begin with. “Round And Round,” from its episodic structure to its slick production, is a wannabe-Thriller delight, as sugarcoated as his earlier records were drenched in syrup. Gone are Pink’s masturbatory antics in lo-fi esoterica and his seeming need to elicit the is-he-fucking-serious reaction to his music. With glo-fi and chillwave bands popping up on every indie kid’s iPod from Williamsburg to Silver Lake, it’s no surprise Pink decided to clean up his act, get Quincy Jones’ grandson in the studio and ditch the whole Daniel-Johnston-by-way-of-Westwood crap. Regardless of whether this was a joke to begin with, the joke is now over: “Round And Round” is the type of dancey, though thoroughly nostalgic, music that everyone wanted Pink to make in the first place.
“Round And Round” (download):