San Francisco-based songwriter and accomplished poet Dean the Dream has earned a reputation in recent years for his signature blend of brooding psychedelia, hypnotically shoegazey blues, and a groove-laden pop/rock sensibility that invokes in the listener the exhilarated, glittery doom of the unsettled psyche wandering through John Rechy’s fabled City of Night.
Now, Dean the Dream saunters deeper into the ether to present a dance-ably dark tourism of the universal mind – with a stylistic nod to the Italian disco of Chromatics and the heartache-inspiring poetics of The Magnetic Fields – on his new post-punk/hyper-pop club track “Heartbeat” (single to be released May 26, 2023).
With the driving bpm of a disco-delirium-dream replicating the pulsating cardio-cadences of the human life-force itself and an almost urgent lyrical mantra of “heartbeat, please!” – evoking Jack Kerouac’s multi-layered concept of the beatitude of the suffering human heart – “Heartbeat” is described by Dean the Dream as “an earnest exploration into the pervasive universal sense of darkness and depression so many of us have felt in the past few years; what causes it, how we cope with it, how we unintentionally (or, sadly, intentionally) pass it on to others …but more importantly, how we do or don’t rise above it.”
On his debut album Pink Sun, Dean the Dream approached such existential questions from a very personal level, specifically, from the spiritual depths of heartbreak. And on his sophomore effort Hitchin’ It to Heaven, he grappled with concepts of sexuality, freedom, death, violence and disillusionment – yet, this time, on a community-based level and from the perspective of the LGBTQ community with which he strongly identifies.
But on his upcoming album, Dean the Dream is attempting to approach these themes on a much more universal, raw, and collective level.
“Each song on the upcoming album delves into these ideas, with ‘Heartbeat’ posing the ultimate question I’ve never asked myself before: can dance music, while upbeat and active and moving, be an effective means to exorcise depression out of the body? Can two seemingly opposite moods – the fun and hype of dance/club music and the stagnation of depression- offer a place for the soul to revive and heal? I’m not sure what the answer is, but psychedelic music, at its core, is a genre that attempts to blur the lines between what we think we know and what we don’t. And in this case, I’m truly not sure.”
Dean the Dream (born Brendan Alpiner) grew up in Detroit, Michigan in an Orthodox Jewish family. In perhaps a fitting foreshadowing of his musical destiny, his first words were, rather, sung, Jewish songs that his parents would often play. He would eventually go to school for theatre acting, and after moving to Los Angeles in 2020, was selected as one of West Hollywood’s Top Pride Poets.
“I keep thinking how best to connect to people, how best to get things across, says Dean the Dream. “And sometimes the best way to communicate is through dancing. I think that’s why dance music is so popular, it connects people in a unique way. I feel like if you’re making really dark music, and you’re singing about really dark stuff, some things just can’t be solved or approached lyrically. But dance has a spiritual element to it. I’m really drawn to the whole idea of just dancing your way out of things. It’s a kind of healing.”
Featured on American Top 40 with Ryan Seacrest, Earmilk, and Sweet & Sour Magazine, Dean the Dream has earned critical acclaim for his unique blend of disparate genres, guided by his innate poetic sensibility and a knack for raw, honest songwriting. His ever-growing portfolio includes two albums Pink Sun and Hitchin’ It to Heaven, both produced and engineered by prolific industry staples such as Tom Campbell (Adele, Little Simz), Austin Asvanonda (The Rolling Stones, TheWar on Drugs) and Dean Reid (Lana Del Rey, Stevie Nicks).
“Heartbeat” was co-produced by Dean the Dream and Brian Ross of Brian Ross Music BMI with beats provided by Amsterdam-based producer NJK. The single will be available on all major streaming platforms on May 26, 2023.