Magazine article The New Yorker

Pink Slips

Magazine article The New Yorker

Pink Slips

Article excerpt

PINK SLIPS

Last Tuesday, Ariel Pink, the Los Angeles musician known for pop songs that are catchy and inscrutable in equal measure, jumped into an S.U.V. outside his Williamsburg hotel and plugged in his iPhone as he headed to Staten Island for a gig. He directed his attention to Twitter, where he had become a sudden target of vitriol. An Australian Web site had just published an interview in which Pink said that Madonna's label had asked him to write songs for her new album, which Pink thought was smart, given the "downward slide" of her career. This assessment did not sit well with Madonna--the Queen of Pop "has no interest in working with mermaids," her manager said--or her fans. "Keep yourself in your irrelevant world, u're nobody," one tweeted. "All right, MySpace has chimed in," Pink said, reading a tweet from the social network's official account. "'Ariel Pink is indie rock's most hated man right now.' Yes!"

Pink, who is thirty-six and has shoulder-length blond hair, has been an indie darling for the better part of a decade: Pitchfork, the Millennials' Rolling Stone , named "Round and Round" the best song of 2010, and Entertainment Weekly declared a recent concert, during which Pink crowd-surfed with a beer, to be the singer's "coronation as some sort of hipster king." "I've been the next big thing for, like, ten years now," Pink said. He wore an unbuttoned plaid shirt over a plunging V-neck, with splotches of red nail polish on both thumbs. "I feel really old."

Conversations with Pink tend to veer off course. "I love pedophiles. And I love necrophiliacs," he once told an interviewer, who had asked about neither. In the car, Pink began to explain his feelings of persecution while fingering a cigarette with one hand and scrolling Twitter with the other. "What if I committed suicide and tweeted, 'Thank you, guys. You were right'?" he said, of Twitter's mob mentality, which he then equated with the Hutu Power movement. "This is how, uh, Rwanda happened." His publicist, a young woman, leaned forward preemptively from the back seat. Pink was particularly irked that his criticism of Madonna had been deemed misogynistic, a charge that he has faced before. "Everybody's a victim, except for small, white, nice guys who just want to make their moms proud and touch some boobies," he said. His publicist gave up.

Pink saw his new album, "pom pom," as a maturation. …

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