Haley Bonar – Impossible Dream
Impossible Dream, by Haley Bonar, was released on August 5, 2016. The album is a collection of stories, and it is Bonar’s 7th studio album. Haley Bonar currently resides in St. Paul, MN.
“Hometown” begins with a plodding beat, vocals washed in reverb, and live drums that stay in the pocket. There’s a brief interlude with some surf guitar. The lyrics are melancholy, the vocals are pleasant and the 3 minute length make this a radio-friendly song. This is quiet background music for a drama series.
“Your Mom is Right” captures our attention with a solo drum hook on the face, joined by a fun bass line, and capping it off with an interesting watery effect on the guitar. Again, Bonar’s voice is awash in reverb. I enjoy the moments when her voice dips low and we hear the huskiness of her lower register.
“Kismet Kill” has a strong, catchy chorus. I’m not a fan of the guitar riff during the pre-chorus and chorus, though I give points for trying something original. It feels like a runaway horse, and the effect makes the rhythm sound sloppy.
“I Can Change” begins with another catchy drum riff, rolling acoustic guitar, and Bonar’s voice floats beautifully over the top. This was my favorite on the album. Her voice is so high, soft, and delicate. I’m not usually a fan of repetitive lyrics, but she does a phenomenal job of developing the melody. I love the pulsing electric bass sound that builds midway through the song.
“Stupid Face” combines more of the same driving drums, water guitars, reverb vocals, and ideas left to interpretation. It feels like the verses break free during the chorus and there is an almost new wave, punkish Gwen Stefani quality to her voice. I like the mix of different sounds in this one.
“Called You Queen” feels a bit 90s. Upbeat and rebellious.
Haley Bonar says,“’Called You Queen’ is at once an anthem for growing up gay in a small midwestern town and a love story about a woman in love with a man who’s going through just that. Standing by him through painful times, she makes peace with the form of love that they can have together.”
“Jealous Girls” has a strange feeling to it. The intro feels like Lenny Kravitz meets John Lennon – very simple, with a strong melody and rhythm. The instrumentation feels confused as the song progresses. There are layers of what sound like keyboard bagpipes (that’s not what they are, but sonically, this is what it sounds like) and angry lyrics. I didn’t get it.
“Skynz” is more of the same with an experimental fluctuating tempo. I like the concept, but the intentional speeding up of the tempo never presents itself again in the song, making the intro unconvincing. Still, this is the beauty of live drums and creativity.
“Better Than Me” reminded me of The Bangles for some reason. This song didn’t really hit me until I read the lyrics. Its’ more about the story.
“Blue Diamonds Fall” is one of those songs that is “Footloose” and fancy free, but the lyrics are tragic. The main guitar riff is a variation on the Bo Diddley beat, as well as the drums. The album version could have used a harder, Weezer-like edge. I also listened to the acoustic version of the song and preferred it. Again, that version sounded more new wave/punk, and I was reminded of Liz Phair’s style.
I’d love to hear what you think! Leave your comments below.