Ariel Pink’s timing is curious. After a very public dismissal of Madonna’s work since “Everybody”, along with the ensuing accusations of being a misogynist, releasing a song with the loaded title of “Black Ballerina” would leave any publicist no choice but to start drafting a resignation letter.
Fortunately for Pink, the song is as irreverent as his music has ever been, equally catchy and ridiculous and mesmerizing. Sounding like “Tiny Cities Made of Ashes”‘ nerdy cousin, the song sounds like a perfect description of the scene, young Billy being escorted to a strip club by his grandpa. “What goes up, must come down,” he sings, seemingly looking upon the “black ballerina.” “Elevators, manufacturers,” he follows.
Is it Pink’s own odd way of critiquing the ballet’s difficult history on race? More and more though, thinking of Ariel Pink and his music on those terms is more akin to getting angry over Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert getting a news story wrong. There are a lot more important people saying a lot more outrageous things; although “I like your aureolas” takes the top prize.
pom pom is out 18 November through 4AD. Spoiler alert: it’s pretty great.