Armed with the sounds of English goth and post-punk, Ryan continues to challenge the old world folk identity of his Miramichi home with his latest release, Dreaming of Love (One More Time).
On June 10 of this year, Kate Bush’s 1985 single Running Up That Hill reentered the UK Singles Chart besting its original third place position from 37 years ago to reach the number two spot. A week later it reached number one, giving Bush her second career number one single and her first in 44 years. That same week, the song became the most streamed song on Spotify, globally. Bush also replaced Cher as the oldest chart-topping artist at 64 years of age and set a new record of the longest period a single has taken to reach number one, beating out George Michael’s Last Christmas by a year. That song took 36 years to top the charts.
The story behind Running Up That Hill’s resurgence is fascinating, but no longer an uncommon occurrence. These days our appetite for nostalgia seems insatiable. Just look at the popularity of Stranger Things, the Netflix series that introduced Bush to an entirely new audience more than a decade on from her last album. And let’s not forget the reason Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours went from being the most easy to find album at Value Village to one of the most coveted second hand finds around. All thanks to Nathan Apodaca, a resident of Idaho Falls who posted a video of himself on TikTok skateboarding along the freeway while lip syncing to the song Dreams after his truck broke down. This simple and innocent action saw the band’s 1977 single reenter the charts with similar success years after its original release.
Stories like these say a lot about our present day culture and the speed at which trends can spread to command global influence. And there are hundreds of ways we could dissect why and how songs that are roughly 40 years old are reentering popular culture. But no matter how you choose to look at it, and no matter how each passing decade has attempted to move beyond that which came before it, we can never truly escape the influence of the past. And why should we bother? Everything we are today is a result of what we were yesterday. For good reason.
While it would be easy to credit the sound of Dreaming of Love (One More Time), the latest album by Dillon Ryan & The Dream Romantic, to this recent wave of everything old being new again, Ryan’s obvious affection for this era of music predates much of the current craze. In fact, he’s been singing lonely love songs and washing his hooks in reverb for nearly a decade now. Beginning with his 2014 debut Charlotte Street Haze, Ryan has been challenging the old world folk identity of his Miramichi home with a growing catalog of music greatly influenced by the sounds of English goth and post-punk. An admirable feat in and of itself.
Dreaming of Love (One More Time) is a smooth ride. It’s Ryan’s first collection of music to exist free from the driving bass and gated snare drums that helped propel his earlier releases. With a dreamy bed of melodic textures carrying throughout these seven songs, the album provides new space for Ryan’s lyrics and rhythmic guitar work to explore.
While he hasn’t reinvented the wheel here, I think it’s safe to say he has certainly earned his place among Atlantic Canada’s most consistent and dedicated songwriters, those who unabashedly take the sounds of the past that affected them the most and repurpose them for the benefit of new ears. My only hope is that it won’t take 40 years for people to appreciate what he’s doing.