A great thing about music is the artform’s versatility. Whether you’re listening to a list of top 20 hits count down on a radio station or you’re sitting down to listen to your favorite Bob Dylan record, every single song can offer something different. While some artists choose to emphasize catchy hooks and melodies, others pay more attention to their lyricism and put their energy into crafting an emotional story with their words. In this case, we have a song which, in a way, comes across as a poet simply singing her poetry over a looping guitar. Sure, it doesn’t have those catchy hooks like those songs on the radio, but those songs don’t have the deep and meaningful lyrics that songs like this do. With “Bad Dreams,” Indigo Sparke sets out to describe the falling out of a relationship in a sincere way.
Beginning in a lo-fi vibe, a guitar picks out a pattern of chords. Immediately I am reminded of alternative artist Sufjan Stevens and his style of music. However, that lo-fi guitar is where the comparison ends. Within seconds, Indigo Sparke begins singing in a sporadic melody which at times clashes with the chords being performed by the guitar. The range of the melody ranges from low whispers to loud falsetto notes. All in all, the instrumentation of this song is incredibly barebones. The picking pattern on the guitar which starts the song off continues all the way through the track until it ends, never really changing it up or deviating from its locked-in path.
Without a defined chorus or verse, the song follows a pretty loose structure which in a way allows the listener to focus more on what is being said and not how it is being said. Without trapping herself within the limitations of making a catchy song, Sparke has managed to instead write a poem which happens to be read out over a looping guitar pattern. Singing of misunderstood love and the falling out of relationships being destroyed, she comes across as sincere in everything she sings. While describing these feelings, she sings, “You broke all of my ribs / And I dreamed the other night / You said you were not hurting me / Just trying to hold me tight.” The song ends on the words, “This love feels like a curse to me.”
What this song continues to offer are its many surprises, especially in regard to its lyricism. While, as stated, the instrumentation leaves a bit to be desired, I would imagine that it is so sparse as a way to prop up its bold imagery and storytelling. That being said, I could have done with a tad more occasional flare added in the form of various sound effects, guitar patterns, or whatever else just to continually push the song forward while keeping everything interesting. Even so, the song stands on its own and is definitely worth listening to.