David Lynch Album Review: The Big Dream

I was in Grimey’s record store in Nashville in early September and browsing for anything that caught my eye, but something caught my ear instead.

It was this weird, spacey sound with reverbed vocals, trip hop beats, and a strange sense of eroticism and darkness.  It sounded like something you’d hear playing on the hi-fi if you could ever visit DC Comics’ House of Secrets in real life.

“What is this?” I asked a clerk.

“It’s David Lynch’s new album,” he said.

Of course it is, I thought.

The Big Dream is well on its way to being my favorite album of the year.  I never tire of it.  The neat title track is followed by “Star Dream Girl” – a song mixed with spoken word and sung vocals as spaghetti western guitar and handclaps (or is that marching troops?) underlines Lynch’s sexy salute to an exotic dancer.

“Last Call” (the “House of Secrets” track) is a song I imagine playing on the jukebox in every bar in every David Lynch film.  It’s a song for the lonely, the haunted, and the dangerous.  You can picture all of these songs in his films.  If you love his movies, you’ll love this record.  You’ll swear you’ve heard “Cold Wind Blowin’” on the soundtrack to Twin Peaks, but you haven’t.  It seems like it’s a nice tribute to his longtime film composer pal Angelo Badalamenti – as does “The Wishin’ Well.”

I dare say that his cover of Bob Dylan’s “The Ballad of Hollis Brown” is better than the original.  “Say It” is a bit frightening and probably something you’d hear on a fading AM station as you cruised across New Mexico at 3am.  “We Rolled Together” is my new favorite psychedelic track.  It’s about David Lynch’s missing girlfriend and ice cream.  “Sun Can’t Be Seen” is like a sequel to “Star Dream Girl,” but with weirder vocals and a darker edge.  It also has a fun tribute to Blue Velvet’s Frank Booth at the end.

Not one to shy away from eroticism, Lynch figuratively nails it on “I Want You” with throbbing synths, gasping-through-your-teeth guitars, and strip club drums.  You’ll be putting this on every mix tape for people you want to seduce from now until you are dead.  “The Line It Curves” is a six-minute love poem to the common theme on this album – a lost lover.  The entire record is filled with laments for lovers who haunt our memories in both good and bad ways.  The album ends with “Are You Sure,” another song about love and if we want to let it into our lives knowing the danger it can bring.

The digital download of the album ends with the fantastic bonus track “I’m Waiting Here” with Lykke Li singing like she’s draped across the piano in the Black Lodge.  I hope she and Lynch do more together.

I also hope Lynch records more.  It’s great to see someone like him re-inventing himself, and even better to hear it.


~ Nik Havert




Nik Havert is a writer, DJ at WSND 88.9FM University of Notre Dame, harmonica player, martial arts instructor, comic book publisher, crime fighter,music lover, cult movie enthusiast, and modern day Renaissance man.  He hopes to shark cage dive sometime in the next few years and enjoys travel and good natural root beer. Visit his web site at http://www.picklepress.net. 

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