Before Today

  • Record Label: 4AD
  • Release Date: Jun 8, 2010
Metascore
85

Universal acclaim - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 25
  2. Negative: 0 out of 25
  1. He’s no slouch in his endless catalogue of exhumed pop tropes, and here he treats radio pop’s past with the all-encompassing vagueness of its title.
  2. In fact, every track on this superb album is a winner--and, draped in the quiet glamour, fun and stateliness of bygone radio pop-rock, evidence that Ariel has emerged from his bedroom to exact his revenge on Hollywood's Hills.
  3. For those who've been following along for a few years, this is a groundbreaking record that condenses and amplifies Ariel Pink's most accessible tendencies. But the brilliant thing about Before Today is that no prior knowledge of his catalog is required.
  4. Before Today is the best collection of pure pop songs released this year, and the experimental odds and bits only add to its considerable charm.
  5. Pink has an amazing ability to surprise and does so again and again on Before Today.
  6. It's strange second-hand pop, deconstructed and represented as something entirely new, augmented by a range of melodies and affectations. Good for him and good for the world for the opportunity to be exposed to his music-pop music in its purest form, pop informed by pop.
  7. Filter
    82
    With Before Today, Pink achieves congruence in the album's construction, but does so without sacrificing his peculiar flair. [Spring/Summer 2010, p.104]
  8. This isn’t a few Eighties synth presets stuck through a distortion pedal--it’s music that resonates far beyond a simple aping of well established precedents, often managing to be funny, sad and thought provoking in the space of a single track.
  9. It's like the strangest early-80s radio station you can imagine, complete with a song about gender confusion entitled Menopause Man. Beguiling stuff.
  10. At times you kind of wish he’d settle down and just write a proper pop song, but the intoxicating mess of textures and ideas is too addictive and fascinating to complain about.
  11. The clarity is chill-wave level rather than that of a tape that had been dropped in a bath, then dried with a hairdryer. And, more importantly, the songs sound better than ever.
  12. Even with some of the smoke and mirrors removed, Ariel Pink is still a singular talent.
  13. Before Today is another fun Ariel Pink pop/rock record, more solidly constructed than any of his past efforts. Even more importantly, it’s also more joyously musical than most full-lengths that have been coming out in recent years, aware not of self and scene but only of the fact that music is fun and feels good.
  14. There are still the bursts of ’60s and ’80s melodies, astral synths and slashing guitars, but this record, crisp and unhesitant, leaps beyond his previous inconsistency and preciousness.
  15. Uncut
    80
    Impressively, it achieves the feat of enghancing Pink's legend with out puncturing his mystique. [Jul 2010, p.105]
  16. Before Today, while easily his best album to date, still feels like it's just the tip of the iceberg for this staggeringly talented songwriter.
  17. Q Magazine
    80
    His seventh album bristles with ambition, merging influences ranging from hair metal and Merseybeat. [Jul 2010, p.136]
  18. Mojo
    80
    Though the production is by no means slick, the music emerges vividly from its hithero murky world. [Jul 2010, p.93]
  19. Even better is “Round and Round,’’ with its jagged interludes and echoes of Arthur Russell. A metaphor for life as a merry-go-round, the song eventually comes into focus and ramps up into a wild roller-coaster ride. The same could be said of this exhilarating album.
  20. Rosenberg has spent time in a real studio with a real band, and while the resulting album, Before Today, is still lo-fi and crackpot, it’s remarkable how good Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti can sound with just a little cleanup.
  21. While he may be fundamentally un-reconstructed, Pink’s clearly a more polished revisionist, more polished than he’s ever been, and while it may not be conventionally recorded, Before Today still feels punchily archetypal.
  22. Before Today accomplishes exactly the same thing all his other good records do, so I’m not sure it does much for me that, say, House Arrest didn’t. Nonetheless, it’s still one of his better records--there are some excellent pop songs here, and it’s a good place to start for listeners who are unfamiliar with Pink’s bizarre schtick.
  23. There are times when the garish rehash feels a tad too on the nose.
  24. 70
    Before Today still sounds like it was dubbed to cassette and left on the dash of a 1983 Datsun for an entire summer. Every aspect seems faded and warped, but that doesn't obscure Pink's savvy maneuvering.

Awards & Rankings

User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 72 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 7
  2. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Nov 3, 2010
    10
    In my opinion the best album of 2010, not that this was a good year in music anyways, but still a great album with every song being unique andIn my opinion the best album of 2010, not that this was a good year in music anyways, but still a great album with every song being unique and still related. Arial perfects the lo-fi formula with this album improving on his previous work and finally reaching his peak to this day. Full Review »
  2. Jun 10, 2012
    9
    What a outrageous album! It's elegant, cool, psychedelic and at the same time, different, from anything I've ever seen (even if the albumWhat a outrageous album! It's elegant, cool, psychedelic and at the same time, different, from anything I've ever seen (even if the album contains influences from the '80s and '90s. Love it, and you must love it too. Full Review »
  3. Jul 9, 2011
    9
    One of the best album of 2010 in my opinion and one of my favourite lo-fi albums of all time. It sounds a lot like music from the eighties,One of the best album of 2010 in my opinion and one of my favourite lo-fi albums of all time. It sounds a lot like music from the eighties, but there isn't a band from the era that sounds like them. Full Review »