Evolution in music is controversial these days.
I think most of that controversy comes from fans. When their favorite punk band goes indie, they think the new music has lost it’s original soul or integrity. When their favorite country singer goes pop, they think the singer has sold out to radio and society’s favor (shout out to Taylor Swift). What many don’t understand is evolution equates to growth. When artists spend years in the business within the same box, they often feel the urge to explore. As time passes, everyone’s tastes expand. You do not have to be a musician to know its true. Sometimes your passion pulls you in a different direction, and though some of your audience may detest that change, that change can also create some of your best music and some of your greatest success. When The Dream Eaters decided to embrace this and throw a little pop influence on one of their newest songs, “One of the Gods”, they didn’t know what it would bring them.
I see this song as a success.
The Dream Eaters, a dreampop/shoe gaze indie rock duo from Brooklyn, NY, have been in the game of making out-of-the-box music for a while. Members Jake Zavracky and Elizabeth LeBaron came together in 2015. They released 3 EPs and a full length album titled Too Much Sugar under the name Jake and Elizabeth, until they desired a change of direction. Upon introspection and further looking into what sound they wanted to create, they wanted to create something new and that began with their name. They became The Dream Eaters in 2017 when they released their debut EP, Five Little Pills. Since then, they have released two full length albums, their latest titled Pagan Love. In an interview with Vents Magazine, Jake described this album as “bigger and more hooky, more poppy. It also has a lot more energy”. He also said, “the lyrics are mostly inspired by living in New York City, the things we go through on a daily basis, the environment we live in”. This connection to New York really shines through in track five, “One of the Gods”.
The pop overlap in this song becomes immediately apparent when pressing play. While two guitar melodies intertwined produce an indie folk sound, an electronically produced hum, sounding like a hybrid of human voice and guitar, takes over the focus. It’s very similar to sounds one hears on the radio these days, but somehow the duo have made it seem like it belongs there. That pop effect is not out of place. Then the percussion hits, and the clap inducing beat just adds to this mosh posh of genre. The male and female harmonies are smooth and perfectly in line, their higher notes almost angelic, which funny enough fits the theme of the song. The softer verses are broken apart by that contagious percussion and hum, almost like they are separate parts of one story. It relieves the listener, but still maintains the poetic integrity of the lyrics.
Athena came down wearing a gown and a halo of stars.
She got off the L, took one look around, and went straight to the bars.
Though Athena is the name of the character in the song, it also referring to the Greek goddess Athena, who was the goddess of wisdom and warfare, and, funny enough, was heavily associated with the city. This whole song discusses her life in the city. Athena is heavenly, beautiful and angelic. She gets off the train and decides to go to the bar for a drink.
Rented an apartment on Kent and Metropolitan,
bent on getting drunk in her room.
She is now living in NYC, and the first thing she wants to do is get completely intoxicated alone in her room. It seems she is either a habitual drinker, a party girl, or she is drinking to escape some kind of sadness.
All the painted lovers, dressed in pretty colors, messing up crystalline view.
People are going to do what they do.
Everyone one around her is bright and in love, and being surrounded by this is clouding up her usually very clear vision (this is where Athena’s wisdom comes in). People will do whatever they want and it’s just a fact. There is no stopping it.
Outside her door, the world she ignored was a deafening noise.
Nobody blinks, nobody thinks about the things they destroy.
New York is often dubbed “the city that never sleeps”. Outside of her apartment is full of noise, the train, cars honking, people talking. Nobody stops their busy routines to take a break or a breath. They often carry on, never considering the things they ruin for other people along the way.
Glitter from the rooftops, littering the sidewalks,
royals throwing crumbs to the poor.
The skyscrapers shine high above the ground. The people who inhabit the city throw trash on the ground. These two images contrast each other, showing how NYC can be both beautiful and dirty at the same time. The “royals” and “poor” metaphor, to me, felt like people don’t care about their trash, because they know the homeless will just pick it up. It’s a very sad city mentality.
They built another high-rise blocking out the moonlight.
Who can even tell anymore? People will always do things you deplore.
Everyday, new buildings are going up and making the city lose sight of the beauty of nature and earth as it is. Because this happens so often, no one even notices or cares. Athena must get used to it because you can’t control people’s bad decisions.
Athena come down. Let’s light up the town.
Let’s free ourselves from ourselves.
Don’t let them deny you. Let me untie you.
Let yourself come unbound.
Lay down on the linens. It’s only the beginning.
The city gets a little too hard.
Don’t let them rip your heart out. Don’t become a burnout.
You were made from millions of stars.
People are going to be what they are.
Oh, they can’t kill you.
You’re one of the gods.
Now this narrator is beckoning to Athena, the goddess, asking her to bring the world back to its former glory and to release them from their worries and insecurities. They will help her, even if the world protests it. The city is hard on everybody, but there is no reason to give up. They remind Athena that she is a god, magic and untouchable. No one can take that away from her.
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