David Lynch “The Big Dream” Review: Episodic Ideas That Don’t Move Forward

Photo Credit: Pitchfork

David Lynch – yes, that David Lynch – has released his second solo album, but it falls frustratingly between conventional and surrealistic.

Do you remember the movie Kazaam, with Shaquille O’Neal? It was a fun movie, totally depth-less and objectively terrible, but enjoyable nonetheless. This is usually the best to hope for when a celebrity of one medium attempts to transition into another. David Lynch’s “The Big Dream,” his second album after 2011’s “Crazy Clown Time,” is similar to this. It isn’t great, by any means. It drags on through some rough patches. But Lynch is trying, and he obviously cares about what he is recording, even if only he ends up enjoying it. “The Big Dream” is yet another artist trying out a different medium than the one they are used to, with even more mixed results.

But “Kazaam” is about as far away from David Lynch as you can get, so let’s compare it to the first episode of Lynch’s near-perfect show “Twin Peaks.” As far as pilots go, “Twin Peaks”‘s is a pretty good one. The episode starts on a dreary note, with the discovery of Laura Palmer’s body. From there, it continues throughout the small town, introducing the key characters, one by one. “The Big Dream” operates in a similar way, introducing many ideas without actually acting on them. The opening song, “The Big Dream,” is perhaps the album’s weirdest, equating finding a dead body to what comes after. Lynch’s tracks often go nowhere from where they start, as if he intentionally did not finish a single one of them. Like a character, whose future is not yet known. For every Shelley Johnson, there’s a “Last Call.” For every Big Ed, there’s a “We Rolled Together.”

Unlike the pilot of Twin Peaks, however, these songs don’t sound like precursors to something great. They just sound like ideas, and they aren’t anything more than that. Every song is a song, and that’s that. It maintains a consistency, one that borders between surrealism and conventional music. Unfortunately, it is not enough of either, which leads to a collection of tracks that are enjoyable, but feel wholly unnecessary. As for the music itself, Lynch is not a strong singer, so he hides his voice behind ambient and dreamy microphone settings, which often complement the dreamy electronic-influenced music. He has surrounded himself with some talented names, and there is genuine inspiration in the work they’ve done. It is just an inspiration that has not been properly drawn-out. The album’s only great song is a bonus track (but lead single) called “I’m Waiting Here,” and features the only guest spot, with Lykke Li on vocals. It is not a bad album, but it is slight and annoyingly uncreative. I’m not sure who the target audience is for “The Big Dream,” but it is only a footnote on Lynch’s career. Definitely not worthy of massive quantities of cherry pie.

Grade: C

By: Andrew McNally

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