January 21, 2011

Douglas Martin still prefers Conan.

This is the part where the belle of the ball gets the solo dance. After a trophy case full of year-end accolades for both Before Today and its unfuckwithable lead single (and my favorite single of 2010) “Round and Round,” it seems that the next logical step was to bring the lounge-lizard disco sounds of that tune fully into the mainstream. Of course, Pink’s network television debut would have been weird enough in and of itself, but leave it to Ariel Rosenberg and his Haunted Graffiti to conjure a performance that likely freaked out the overwhelming majority of Jimmy Fallon’s studio and nationwide audience.

Resplendent in sequined blouses, tight pink trousers, and full use of the network’s makeup artists, the five band members use their moment in the spotlight to evoke a weird post-millennial version of the glittery, drug-fueled seventies, the four exceptional session players backing up their diminutive, charismatic frontman. Pink is especially compelling to watch in his big sunglasses and slouched posture, diffident and showmanlike in equal measure. One minute he’s looking at the floor like a bashful karaoke singer, the next he’s whipping the microphone away from his face and tossing back his hair, making poses like the rock star every kid making tapes in their bedroom dreams of being.

By the time the acapella finish of the song comes along, Pink is whipping his head around, owning the moment and relishing in it, taking a bow as the prom king (or queen). When Jimmy Fallon comes out, Pink makes the true rock star move of standing beside of him and pointing at the album, as if to say, “Buy this, America.” With such a bizarrely fascinating performance of a song that deserves being a surefire hit, I’m sure someone was convinced to fork over some cash for Before Today.

MP3: Ariel Pink-“Round and Round”

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