SONG: Dream Agency


“Dream Agency” [Download]

ARTIST: grant.

SOURCE: Science, 11 June 21, “Are advertisers coming for your dreams?,” as used in the post “Advertising in your dreams.”

It was pretty clear to me that this would be the subject of this month’s song as soon as I read it. But there were about 23 different ways I could go with something about companies using dream incubation to advertise to you while you sleep.

I started diddling around with a simple chord progression and a repeating riff, just sketching something out in MIDI. (I don’t use a keyboard; I literally paint these notes on a grid.) I figured I’d re-record both with guitar eventually, and do a real bass.

I wound up, under the influence of a particular podcast episode, writing lyrics in as self-consciously a Robert Pollard style as I could. Which is fine – when I heard my first GBV album, I thought his words sounded a little like mine. And gnomic phrases seemed exactly right for dream incubation anyway.

Well, I’m writing this tethered to my phone’s hotspot in the back of a car speeding north for something like a family vacation. I’m on a computer with a hotspot because I’m working remotely while the ladies in the group drive. And doing this.

There’s no real guitar in this song. There are two vocal tracks, one high and one low and neither of them really in my range. Capos are for the weak, even on fake guitars… or something. Did a lot of mixing with my hands squeezing my old cheap headphones against my ears for lo-fi noise cancellation.

I really like the chorus, and the way the song ends just soon enough, with no fat on the bones.

Maybe someday, I’ll re-record this as a softer acoustic song with dreamy creepiness on cheap microphones with tape hiss. But it’s plenty ominous like this. They’re reaching into our heads, man!


Lights out now / Our product launches 
Placed in pictures / Close your eyes

Toss and turn / Our fiscal quarter
With bedroom angels / curtains rise

Nightly caverns / Await in beauty
Ivory / Gates open wide

The hungry hands / Of market forces
Pull the puppets / Deep inside

Nightmare whispers / Pitch dark tonight 
In our dream agency 

Lights out now / The sandman’s selling 
Placing pictures / Behind your eyes

Incubate / with viral verses
You’ll barely notice / New desires

Nightmare whispers / Pitch dark tonight 

In our dream agency
Harness biology
What we want you to see
In our dream agency