Ariel Pink

Long live the Queen    

Photo: Sasha Eisenman

From Antonio Banderas beach fantasises to Mickey Mouse memories: Ariel Pink on his top five Madonna tracks

Ariel Pink: "Pom Pom"

Rose-tinted spectacle: Ariel Marcus Rosenberg, aka Ariel Pink’s new album “Pom Pom”


As a kid, Ariel Pink would make tape recordings of his weird folk-punk songs, producing the rhythms using a mouth harp or from his armpit. He was discovered in 2003 by American indie stars Animal Collective, who released his music through their label.

Now this super-gifted madman of pop is riding the wave of his 10th album, “Pom Pom”, a crazy mishmash of new wave, slush, jingles and mangy freak rock. In response to a recent interview in which Pink said Madonna’s career has been on a downward slide, the 36-year-old wanted to put the record straight. And so, landing the opening blows of Pink v Ariel Pink, here are his Madge masterpieces. 

1) Madonna: “Borderline”

“Madonna was considered girl music in my school, but I didn’t care. When I was a kid, this song was the embodiment of happiness for me. It made me feel like I was listening to Mickey Mouse. Wanting my parents to pick me up from school and take me to the mall, just having a good time with them. Up to today, I think Borderline is incredible.”

2) Madonna: “Oh Father”

“This is the saddest song Madonna has ever written. It’s strangely haunting. Very few pop songs ever get to be so scary. She’s singing about her mother’s death, her Catholic upbringing and conflicts with her father. It’s autobiographical, I think, and you can sense that. The single was a flop commercially, but I think of it as her most touching song of all.”

3) Madonna “Live to Tell”

“Another sad one: her sad songs are the most incredible pop tunes. She’s not really known for her ballads, but it’s still clear from the first bar that this is Madonna. There’s a melodic simplicity to her songs. It’s like with Morrissey, this particular style she never stopped doing that makes her unique. Obviously she’s a very smart, cunning woman.”

4) Madonna: “La Isla Bonita”

“This is my favourite Madonna song. It has a pre-Sade vibe, it’s meant to be played for people to have a romance and martinis on the beach of Cancun with Antonio Banderas. Or at least it pretends to be that: perfect music for a romantic escapade with the flamenco guitars and hot dancing from the video. Madonna created a whole world with this song.”  

5) Madonna: “Cherish” 

“Her last classic great song from the early era. It came out in 1989, at a time when I was too wrapped up in working at a record store, discovering thrash metal and other even more deviant music, to follow Madonna. I still enjoyed Cherish, though. Listening to it, it makes me feel like I’m in church due to the wonderful girl choir in the background.”

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