The 2010s were a decade of tremendous development for indie singer/songwriter types, and in its latter years, Canada’s Whitebeard emerged as one of his scene’s most adept players for sure. In a follow-up to the album Plaid Is the New Black, Whitebeard’s first single from his new LP Gunfighters Only Lose Once, “Dream of Me,” is out this April and firing up the hype like nobody’s business. A tempered foray into dancehall-inspired grooves, “Dream of Me” is a tough song to categorize by traditional genre terms, and my gut tells me this was exactly what its composer was trying to accomplish when recording it.
Whitebeard is great at utilizing tension for sonic purposes, and in this sense, his new single is no different from the other songs in his discography. What truly sets apart “Dream of Me” has little to do with aesthetical framework and almost everything to do with execution. On this occasion, rather than employing urgency in his attack, Whitebeard is relaxed and carefree – even when his words are painfully yearning. He forms the narrative through his tone instead of his prose, which is an art I’d love to see his mainstream counterparts try and master on their own sometime.
Conceptually speaking, both the video for “Dream of Me” and the track itself are pretty plain and simple. In that same breath, however, you could make the argument that Whitebeard’s sound comes across at its most accessible when bells and whistles are left on the sidelines (where, in most instances among pop music, they undisputedly belong). “Dream of Me” is already outfitted with a white-hot harmony that spellbinds even more than its poetic content does, and whether adorned with visuals in the video or left as-is, it’s an easy song for almost any audience to relate to.
Gunfighters Only Lose Once isn’t going to be out until the autumn, but I think Whitebeard chose to share this first cut from the album as a means of introducing its core identity to fans expecting more of the same. Plaid Is the New Black was a statement release, but this feels like the next stage of development for its star. There’s no hesitation in his harmonies here; on the contrary, he sounds more willing to put everything out on the table than he ever had in previous recording sessions. I’m eager to hear the rest of the LP, and after this song gets into steady rotation on college radio, I think other listeners will share in my sentiments.
Those who haven’t already heard the music of Whitebeard would be wise to check out what he’s up to in “Dream of Me” this April. “Dream of Me” is a sonic lazy river that is easy to get lost in, especially on days when it feels like five o’clock can’t arrive fast enough, and taking into account how fast-paced the world has felt lately, it’s a breath of fresh air for certain. Whitebeard keeps adding jewels to his discography, and this is unquestionably one of the shiniest.
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