James Albarn – Looking For A Dream That Doesn’t Kill Me
Each one of us has to ask ourselves, What do I really want? Do I really want to be Number One? Or do I want to be happy? If you want success, you may sacrifice your happiness for it. You can become a victim of success, but you can never become a victim of happiness. — Thich Nhat Hanh
My grandfather told me the story of a man who walked in his sleep…
Back in the day, the morning task of a southern subsistence farmer was to hitch up his mule: to a plow, a cultivator, a wagon, an implement that would, if one was lucky, transform dirt into life. When the freed people of the south were falsely promised forty acres and a mule, the mule was a requirement. Without the mule, the forty acres became an airy expanse on which to starve.
The subject of my grandfather’s fable would rise from his bed each day before dawn – still in slumber – and sleepwalk out to his barn where he would hitch up his mule for the day’s work. He would then return to his bed where he would awaken. The man was trapped in his own struggle for survival. Even in his sleep, he could not escape from the debilitating task of attempting to extract existence from the cherty Tennessee soil.
Like our somnambulistic friend, James Albarn is trapped in a desire of his own design. In ‘Looking For A Dream That Doesn’t Kill Me,’ the chimera is not packing literal heat, the threat being of the emotionally existential variety. Pick a passion from the metaphysical hat: the relationship that looks sweet on the outside but has a bitter filling that sets your teeth on edge; the job that someday will look good on your CV if you don’t fill your water bottle with vodka when you leave your flat each morning; the craving to create that keeps you up all night writing a musical sermon that no one will hear.
I realise that I’m slowing down
I’m looking for a way out of here
I know that my options are waning
I’m looking for a dream that doesn’t kill me
I don’t wanna look like I’m complaining
But it’s getting harder to drag myself out of bed
So don’t hate me when I say I’m leaving
It’s the only choice for you and me
‘Looking For A Dream That Doesn’t Kill Me’ floats in a shimmering sea beneath clouds of tremolo-laden guitars. The sonar operator, always named Kowalski in the American films, provides the low-pitched pinging lead as a vocalist wanders in from the country session in the studio next door.
Based in London, James Albarn is a freelance filmmaker and writer, podcast host, stand-up comedian, and singer-songwriter. ‘Looking For A Dream That Doesn’t Kill Me’ appears on his new five-song EP, Light Shining Hurts. James describes the tracks as ‘dark and melancholic alternative music’ that ‘centres around a big sense of guilt.’ All instruments on the EP were played by James. Light Shining Hurts was mixed and mastered by Jake Raywood.
The music of James Albarn is available on Bandcamp, Spotify, and Apple Music. Be sure to visit James Albarn’s website to learn about his many projects, and follow James on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.