She Haunts My Dreams by Spain (Review)

The perfect album to see you through those long dark hours as you wait for her to call, but know she never will.
She Haunts My Dreams, Spain

How many times have you ever caught yourself thinking of her? You know… her. That certain someone who has the ability to fill your thoughts with their face, their words, and all of those other trivial things that wouldn’t matter one bit if it were anyone else. That someone who can turn your heart inside out and make you love every minute of it. We’ve all had a “her” — or a “him,” depending on your gender or sexual preference — in our lives.

So you’re thinking about her. Before you slip much further into the depths of longing, allow me to make a humble suggestion. Buy a copy of She Haunts My Dreams first. Then light some candles, sink down into a comfy chair, and prepare to wallow in your unrequited love.

You see, She Haunts My Dreams may just be the greatest “why won’t love ever work out” music recorded this side of the Red House Painter’s “Katy Song” or Starflyer 59’s Gold. Spain’s previous record, The Blue Moods of Spain described smoky nightclubs where you made contact with a dark, alluring woman in black velvet who promised you desire and love. She Haunts My Dreams describes the day after, when you realize that it was all a mistake and those promises are never going to be kept. Nearly every song on here describes a love that never worked out, might have worked out but didn’t, or was working out but went terribly wrong.

The Blue Moods of Spain oozed with a mixture of jazz and blues-tinged slowcore so glacial that it could give Low a run for their money. She Haunts My Dreams’ musical formula has opened a little bit, losing the jazz and blues for country-western twang (“Hoped and Prayed,” which sounds like the music Mojave 3 wished they’re making), Hammond organs (“Nobody Has to Know”), and swelling string arrangements (“Easy Lover”). The result is music which seems lighter, looser, and more intimate, though not as dark and brooding as some of their previous stuff. The songs are shorter, more listenable, and more importantly, stop before they become dragging and excessive.

Haden’s vocals, which don’t have a terribly big range, also sound more natural and in tune with the music. And nobody will ever accuse Haden of being terribly original as a lyricist. The one criticism that could really be leveled against this album are the lyrics, which read like every other song about loves that didn’t work out as intended. And if it were any other album, the lyrics would probably elicit a groan or two. Thankfully, the music and arrangements are just so good at being poignant and moving that they make up for the lyrical clichés.

That’s why songs like “Waiting For You to Come” and “Every Time I Try” come across as heartfelt and honest when they’d seem trite for anybody else. When Haden sings “So love me right now, though it won’t last/Girl don’t make me try ’cause I’ll lose you forever/Every time, every time,” the catch in his voice and the gently backing strings convey the desperation those lyrics might have lost due to cliche. And even songs that should sound triumphant (“I’m Leaving You”) carry with them a sense of bittersweetness.

The result is an album that, in spite of its single-mindedness, is the perfect album to see you through those long dark hours as you wait for her to call, but know she never will.

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