If you’re like me, and waking up early on a Saturday morning with the entire day ahead of you is the highlight of your week, and even if mornings aren’t your cup of tea, you will love Mae Powell’s new single “Weird Dreams”. “Weird Dreams” stays true to its title, and in both lyrics and music, transports the listener through a sleep-induced haze, leaving me feeling like I too had just woken up as the song wound down.
I really love the music in this song. The music is soft and dreamy, but more than anything else it gave me a very retro feel, a very LA in the 70s energy, and the overarching guitar riff coupled with marimba and a funky bass line gives the song an almost tropical sound. The canned string track in the background adds texture that dates the song as well–in a good way. Listening to the instrumental made me feel like I was sitting by the pool at the Beverly Hills Hotel in 1975, or like I was an extra in a Tarantino movie back in the 90s. The soft percussion, supported by the bass line and the crisp guitar chords move the music, propelling the listener along a journey outlined by the lyrics.
Mae Powell’s songwriting is ingenious, as exemplified in “Weird Dreams”. The song is divided into several lyrical “scenes”, and the cadence of these scenes is non-linear, as the story bounces around from seemingly disconnected topics. Similar to how dreams many times seem to be isolated from one another and blurry/fragmented when trying to be remembered, the lyrical scenes are blurred and separated, belted out by Mae Powell’s vibrato-filled voice. That being said, there is something deeper explained by the lyrical content, and anecdotes incorporated into the song give it depth and reveal the personality of its artist. Lines like “why are there two sides to everything but no one’s in the middle” and lines like “I got three snakes tattooed on the back of my neck and when I wake up I try to figure out what these snakes mean” encapsulate the alternation between whimsical musings about the dream world and more pertinent philosophical statements. That intrinsic irony that all dreams have is captured within this song. The irony of dreaming is that dreams many times manifest our real world desires, but in a way in which we have no agency. This dichotomy between desire and happenstance is captured well in Mae Powell’s lyrics.
Mae Powell, as part of an interview with Paste, explained further her relationship with dreams and the subconscious: “I woke up one afternoon from a really anxiety-fueled stress nap. I had such a weird dream and it brought up all of these emotions regarding my partner at the time and my current state of mental health.” The power of “Weird Dreams” is in the relatability. Any listener can hear the lyrics, can feel the tropical energy of the music, and can reminisce on their own fuzzy dreams. For that reason, keep a lookout for Mae Powell’s upcoming album titled Both Ways Brighter, releasing on August 20th.