Here’s a short blog about my newest favorite song, “Ariel” by Dean Friedman.
Spotify definitely isn’t the best at recommending me music I want to hear. Part of that’s because my taste was forged in the fires of OCRemix tunes on my Samsung Juke and anime character songs ripped off Galbadia Hotel. Even today, I’m always willing to kick it to Battle of the Bits or Yamashita Tatsuro. This is, to say, I sadly listen to a lot of stuff that’s just way too obscure to actually be on music streaming services.
But I’m trying to get better! Especially with 70s pop music, which is fast becoming my favorite part of music (yes, I’m one of them). And, thankfully, due to a glitch or quirk in the Spotify algorithm, I was finally recommended a really fucking good song out of nowhere!
It’s called “Ariel,” by Dean Friedman, and I’m absolutely in love with it.
Ariel, the Song
The song “Ariel” is a smash hit from beginning to end. Everything from its catchy, jazzy instrumentation to Dean Friedman’s unique voice to the portrait painting lyrics just win me over every time I listen.
It’s a chef’s kiss of goofy, funny, sincerely romantic goodness. Nothing is cynical, nothing is bitter, there’s no ironic twist at the end. It’s a boy-meet-girl story that’s oh-so-cute. (It’s also a member of my growing club of songs that really need a good old-fashioned lesbian cover version.)
I’m such a fan of the 70sness of it all. Both characters are potheads, public radio is a vital and important part of society… They swoon over each other and go on a date to Dairy Queen!
It might sound stupid to say, but I just love the storyline here. Each verse progresses through the characters’ date, as these chilled out stoners meet up, get to know each other. They’re stuck in their early-twenties, kinda-not-that-impressive lives, but who cares? Having fun is way more important than that marginal middle class lifestyle.
I’ve heard a lot of good 70s songs. In fact, probably hundreds of them. But “Ariel” might genuinely be my favorite one. It’s so friggin’ great!
The Song Ariel Lives On
Sadly, Dean Friedman was sorta a one-hit wonder in the U.S., although maybe “McDonald’s Girl” counts? (That song is kinda fantastic as well, a lovely portrait of a teenage crush, but “Ariel” still beats it.) He should have had a long and fruitful career in making awesome music, but he kind of dropped off after the early 80s and only made indie stuff after that–although, really good indie stuff!
And, importantly, he’s still out there going! He has a ton of music, and he’s even touring as we speak. If Spotify is anything to go off of, some of his non-“Ariel” songs are starting to gain some steam just in the last couple months. Maybe mysterious algorithms will save this lost pop icon!
I hope so. But until then, I’ll keep listening to “Ariel” over and over.