Sunday 25 Sep 2016

Sunset Rubdown
Gregg Sandler

I like music with stories. If you close your eyes and listen, you hear something taking place in your mind. In your imagination, this story is completely subjective, of course. It is like a movie playing between and behind your eyes and in the black void within your consciousness, much as a dream.

This is what you get listening to “Shut Up, I Am Dreaming,” by Sunset Rubdown. Spencer Krug, lead singer of the band, is an amazing song and writer. I first heard this album five years ago. I was probably 21.

At the time, I was friends with a young woman, who was about 16 years old. She told me about Sunset Rubdown and “Shut Up, I Am Dreaming.” She recommended the band and the ablum to me after I shared my interest in “Xiu Xiu,” a band I liked at the time. I am very fond of “Shut Up,” partly because it brings me back to a time in my life that was memorable. The album title first captured my attention before I listened.

The songs are pop, on Shut Up,” and the writing is creepy. Spencer Krug has an annoying voice, in many ways. The music is interesting and weird.

I get bored easily. I need something that is the opposite of boring. I also need something that makes me think, think and think and think.

One of my favourite songs on the album is “The Empty Threats of Little Lord.” What I like about this cut is it doesn’t follow a simple verse-chorus-verse-chorus structure. Much like a creative short story, Krug speaks a highly odd, yet interesting, narrative. He says things such as, “If I ever hurt you, it will be in self defense,” and “No, I’m not that kind of whore, but I am a little Lord, Lord, Lord.” This may be a personal story of a violent relationship, which Spencer had, or he may have made it up. It doesn’t much matter. He calls out the person, at the end of the song, saying they’re a snake, repeatedly. This is a recurring theme on “Shut Up, I Am Dreaming.”

Annoying or not, I love the voice of Spencer Krug. His voice adds much to the music, bringing a different perspective to the plate. His voice is unique and captures my attention whole-heartedly.

A good example the effect of his voice is the song, “The Men Are Called Horsemen There”; another beautiful story told about another time, but, yet, the cool-factor remains. This song feels as a story of a man wandering through the forest searching for something, in him and in the world at large. “I am no horsemen,” writes Krug, “and you are no Angel. If I was a horse, I would throw up the reins.” These lyrics speak of anger a feeling of discomfort; something everyone can relate to whether or not they admit it.

By far, my favourite song on the album is, “Shut Up I am Dreaming of Where Places Lovers Have Wings.” This song stands out, most, for me. It may be because that young woman from my past put it in my mind, but there are other reasons. If the other songs felt as stories, this one is the anthology or anthem of the CD. It really feels as a book for children, in song form. I love books for children, especially the sad ones, which tell you about life and coming-of-age.

 “Shut Up, I Am Dreaming,” by Sunset Rubdown is my favourite music CD. The pop songs, written by Spencer Krug, tell stories that fire my imagination. That “Shut Up, I Am Dreaming” makes me work, think, makes the time, listening to it, well spent.

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