Yours, Dreamily

October 25, 2015 09:00 AM

The Arcs - Yours, Dreamily

Dan Auerbach, of The Black Keys, is back with a new band. Yours, Dreamily fittingly opens with what could be a psychedelic underground carney barker (perhaps a subtle reference to Auerbach‘s Black Keys partner, Patrick Carney?), lasting only 32 seconds. The first true song, Outta My Mind could be mistaken for a Black Keys track with its thumping drums and catchy blues hooks, and Auerbach‘s distinctive voice.  

That psychedelic carney atmosphere returns throughout the album, infusing tracks with a swampy mystery that holds anxiety; as if the listener doesn’t know quite what is behind the next lyrical corner. On Everything You Do (You Do for You), Auerbach sings, “The milk inside the fridge, it turned/The bridge between us, it burned,” a tidy parallel sentence structure that alludes to his broken marriage. On Stay In My Corner, inspired by the Pacquiao-Mayweather Jr. fight, Auerbach‘s vocals shoot into falsetto, matched by a tinkling piano on the upper registers, while a searing slide guitar keeps the song grounded in blues.  

Yours, Dreamily sounds as if it were recorded on vintage analog equipment with more of an R&B feel that wouldn’t be out of place on a Tarantino soundtrack or blaring out the windows of a ‘70s conversion van.  

The album is a true collaboration among a group of musicians with whom Auerbach has been collaborating with for a decade or more, and you can hear that collaboration in the looseness of the tracks; they feel loose, fuzzy, and a little dangerous.

Miguel - Wildheart

Miguel is going to be huge—Kanye or Prince huge—both of whom can be seen as major influences in his music. On Wildheart, Miguel wrestles with 21st Century love and porn themes wrapped in an R&B/rap package that goes beyond what we have heard so far this century.  Miguel blurs the lines across genres both within and across songs. An otherworldly synth opens over an 8/8 time signature in The Valley where lyrics confuse the lines between what young men are taught about sex and what they see coming from computer screens by imagining his lover as his porn star where he is 100% in charge.

Don’t let the razor’s edge of these lyrics stop you from moving on in the album. Coffee, which follows The Valley, starts with, “I wish I could paint our love”; and through a series of events, which culminates in “coffee in the morning” that tastes like new love rather than the end of a one-night stand.  

Other songs like Leaves describe a breakup with heartfelt agony, “Heart caught in a riptide, cold Pacific waters / Keep on pulling me under, drowning in my sorrows” while sung over a crispy spare Telecaster for 2/3 of the song before any beats arrive to amplify his sorrow. Face the Sun, with Lenny Kravitz, shows off a guitar-driven backbone under Miguel’s falsetto R&B croons about how “I belong to you,” so clearly moving 180 degrees from his viewpoint in The Valley or NWA.

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