The Michigan Daily discovered in November 2004 that several articles written by arts editor Alex Wolsky did not meet the newspaper’s standard of ethical journalism. Parts of these stories had been plagiarized from other news sources. Although the article below has not been found to contain plagiarism, the Daily no longer stands by its content. For details, see the Daily’s editorial.
As the newest (and first non-Animal Collective) member of the prepubescent Paw-Tracks label, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti had some major weight vested on its debut Doldrums. Originally released on CD-R, this imperfect, lo-fi pop record is one of the most interesting releases of the year: It’s hybridization of normal songwriting sung through the eyes of an abnormal person gives his songs layers in which the listener can unravel.
Pink follows a long list of artists whose songs simply can’t live up to their originators: Andrew W.K., Iggy Pop and others. Therein lies the problem with Doldrums: No matter how many times one person listens to the songs, its totally indeterminate whether or not they’ll find songs secondary to the artist or not. His personality is infectious, and the energy he exerts creating the material often outweighs the material he creates.
“Good Kids Make Bad Grown Ups” is a glowing example of Pink’s paradoxical complex. While the song itself is fairly normal — A typical lo-fi verse-chorus-verse structure ripped straight from Guided by Voices’s landmark Bee Thousand, which lays the backbone for Pink’s shriek — his presence on the song turns it on its side and rearranges it like a jigsaw puzzle that’s missing pieces.
On the outside, tape hiss and lo-fi production prevail. Anthem rock is buried inside, from the likes of Bowie and Led Zeppelin. In other words, Doldrums is half scavenger hunt (those looking for genius buried underneath the acid-fried tunes) and half-neverending journey (those who concede genius doesn’t exist and give up). In the end, the path is ultimately up to the listener.