#TBT Morning Fuel: Lyrics Born - Bad Dreams
In 2003 I finished grad school in the beat-up frostbelt husk of Syracuse and moved to Washington, DC. Actually, I moved to Arlington, but the point is I moved to an area I wasn’t from and had never lived in. I was full of anxiety. My plan to wait out the bad economy in grad school after 9/11 didn’t exactly pan out as the economy was still pretty shitty. I scored myself a GS-7 government job, which didn’t exactly carry me very far at the time. I didn’t know many people. I had a few friends, a couple from college and a handful from grad school friends who’d also come from Syracuse. One of them was jobless and crashing on my couch for a month while he temped and looked for a steady gig. He was a living embodiment of all my fear, that my first job wouldn’t work out and I’d be laid off in the same situation as him (he found his feet soon enough, but it was a tricky time). That I’d seen so many in more dire straights in Syracuse didn’t help. I was trying to find my way, I was having trouble with everything: sleeping, paying bills, carving out a social circle, and along the way I was overthinking and worrying about damn near everything.
Lyrics Born’s “Later That Day” had dropped around that time. I’d discovered him through the old Solesides compilation I’d listen to in college way too many times, so obviously I was going to check it out. The album more or less became my soundtrack. I clung to it hard. I played the CD in my car, I carried it on my disc man in the metro, it and I were inseparable. While I’m not going to pretend to know the hardships Lyrics Born faced, the way that the album confronted all the hassles of everyday life and cathartically wrestled them to the ground with a combination of determination, humor, funky basslines, and Lyrics Born’s unimpeachable voice and lyricism energized me. Especially “Bad Dreams.” As a huge insomniac who’s often plagued by terrible nightmares both surreal and mundane, “Bad Dreams” spoke to me like few other songs did and still have. It’s plodding bass with electric pianos and keyboards wrapped around it in a way that almost sound like an old Hammer film soundtrack gone extra funky is one of a kind. I still go back to it and think about it all the time, especially the chorus. “We have a deep passion, we can’t keep dwelling on problems …” is a better shock to the consciousness than a million hours of motivational speakers. Since then, I’ve never missed a Lyrics Born album, and neither should you.
Like the track? Support the artist and buy it wherever you do such things. Oh, and here’s the Morning Fuel Playlist.