Ariel Pink ::: Picture Me Gone

‘Picture Me Gone’ is the first single to be taken from Ariel Pink’s third album, ‘Pom Pom’ released under 4AD in 2014. Although this is Ariel Pink’s 3rd album, it is in fact his first album to be released under his solo name. On my first listen to this album, Ariel Pink’s influences are very obvious. A keen ear can hear influences from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean – from ‘The Stranglers’ and ‘The Cure’, to ‘The Beach Boys’ and ‘The Eels’.

Appearing at track fifteen on his album ‘Pom Pom’, “Picture me gone” is a densely-layered contemporary pop song with dreamy synth-percussion and a smoothly textured ambience that builds an eerie but pleasantly somnambulist state for its listener.

From the get-go, synthesizers swell and pulse into a fuzz of intoxicated crescendos; while their waves peak and dissipate the left-overs into a fog of pop bliss. The drums remain in a distant echo throughout the song and create a unique rhythm that is strikingly reminiscent of 80’s rock-ballads. Resonating in the trebles is a touch of glistening vibrato trickling with kissable light-energy and a distinct whistling of the main melody. The bass guitar adds a rich layer of bottom-end distortion that seems to surge like a hungry beast from a cavernous vacuum. Pink paints an after-world spiralling with the ghosts of sounds and whistles his melody like a curious and mesmerising poltergeist, that send us into a daydream.

Lyrically, Ariel Pink finds an hypnotic melody to celebrate someone special in his life as he ‘makes a toast to the glory days’. He seems to be talking about someone who he has a very close personal relationship with.

An added element of nostalgia grooves alongside his elated sensibilities,”…When you were 8 and I was only 41″. The lyrical time-frame is most interesting here as he pictures himself in the future, looking back at the time spent with (possibly) his young family and considers how their lives might be without him after he has died, “I dedicate this selfie to the little guy, Who will outlast me when I’m done”

As with the title of the album, this songs continues in an optimistic frame of mind. The protagonist takes photos of his child(?) and says that ‘you’re a lot like me’, which along with the mood of the music depicts a relatively happy and healthy relationship, contrary to a regretful experience where a parent may try to relive their youth through the next-of-kin.

Also, he exercises a modern-day vernacular in this song where his terminology resonates with consumer culture; as if he is directly engaging with the technology mid-song, “I backed up all my pictures on my iCloud so you can’t see me when I die”. This could well be read as an attempt to ensnare the listener to peak into his life via online social networks; adding an intriguing factor to this song that seemingly pokes fun at the voyeuristic potential of modern media circles.”I left my body somewhere down in Mexico/Give “Find My iPhone” app a try”.

For me, the most captivating insight of this song is Ariel Pink’s use of the simple but catchy title phrase, ‘Picture me gone’ in the chorus to express a nostalgic future. He is very smart in his choice of words though, and delivers a quintessential moment that validates the strength of his song-writing skills. A photograph is traditionally something very dear to many people; however it has emerged, in the 21st century, as a very disposable item conveying the essence of our throw-away society, where materialism has left nostalgia, ironically, as a thing of the past.

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