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  • Andrey Psyche

James Anaya & the Current breathe life into our childhood dreams with “Jimmy, Dream On”

Release Date: January 16th, 2019

Photo courtesy of James Anaya/Tanner Wendell Stewart

"Jimmy Dream On,” by James Anaya & the Current, is as alluring visually as it is sweet to the ears. The video, shot by Tanner Wendell Stewart, features a very beautiful, red, 1958 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 driving Anaya around from place to place as he tells the story of personal development, moving forward, and staying positive in the face of adversity. We get many wonderful drone shots of the streets of Seattle, the waterfront, and even the Space Needle as we get lost in a groovy intro.

The song opens up with a mind-encompassing synth as the bass guitar lays down a gentle string of notes, capturing a feeling of optimism in the air. A strum on the guitar, a four count on the drumsticks, an ascending melody on all the instruments, a cymbal crash — and we arrive at the first stop of the main melody. The trumpet gets a couple measures to stand out above the steady drum beat and a backing guitar melody, leaving a heavenly image in my mind that brings us to the first verse of the song. As the melody dies down, the sultry vocals of our lead singer take center stage.

The visual story strengthens the lyrics through the symbology of the rusty-colored classic car. Anaya sings of childhood dreams which seem so distant now and the world’s ability to wear you down if you give it the slightest opening. The Oldsmobile can be seen as our childhood dreams, still as beautiful and precious as ever, standing out from the surrounding environment anywhere it goes — but it carries with it the battle scars of growing up. It might be old, it might be beat up, but it’s still ours, and we’re still driving.

After the first verse, the Oldsmobile delivers us to a restaurant where we meet with all of our friends for happy hour. We remember the good times, share some laughs, have a few drinks, and land on a hook from the chorus: “after years of constant dedication,” the friends clink their glasses, and Anaya stares into the camera on “I’m here to get what’s mine.”

After they drink to future victories, the whole group makes its way back to the car, the vehicle of our childhood dreams, and the second verse comes in in full swing.

Religion, family, friends or foes / They all have ideas, but how can they really know? / Don’t hate what you don’t understand / How ’bout you be you, and I’ll be a better man.

So much beauty is jam-packed into a short line — sweet philosophies of sticking to your own path, understanding that nobody else walks in your shoes and can never know what is good for you, accepting others and yourself for the life that’s been lived, and striving for growth with every step you take.

We make a second run through the chorus, ending with another ascending melody, which terminates at the foot of a stripped down chorus. Anaya and an electric guitar take center stage. Bass comes in, drums, and the rest of the band follows shortly to go through a more energetic version of the chorus, leading to an instrumental outro, and just like that, fade to black.

While the cinematography of this entire video is pristine, there is one visual component lacking in this track. When we are first presented with Anaya in the car, you can tell he is physically singing the song because you can see his throat move, which captures emotion for the viewer to connect to. We don’t see that visual detail at the restaurant, on the walk to the car with his friends, or during the second chorus. Because Anaya is only mouthing the words, there’s a disconnect between the emotions heard and emotions seen. The audio also contains fuzz — it was record and mixed to tape — harkening back to the age of the 1958 Oldsmobile, which can be seen as a boon or a bust, depending on the listener.

But, either way, the instrumentation provides a full sound that engulfs the listener. Straight from the intro, feet start tapping and heads start bobbing to very groovy and uplifting melodies with soulful vocals. The presence and prominence of the trombone really brings the melody up, and the backing vocals and harmonies add a shiny bow to an already great vocal track.

Overall, the song and video are independently stunning and also work very well in unison. As I mentioned above, the car can be a symbol for our childhood dreams, and, by perusing and sticking with our dreams, we get to reunite with our closest friends we never knew we had. Later in the video, we’re delivered to a stage with roaring fans — or, in other words — a community that cares and supports you.  All of this can only happen if we strive to be better, let others be who they want to be, don’t let the world bring you down, and make sure you stay true to yourself.

Originally written for Dan's Tunes Seattle


© 2018 Andrey Psyche

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