“Beside the bed, I read this past week’s New Yorker,” and it hit me. Luckily I resubscribed in time to get the exact issue that I wanted (thanks to a sweet $6 deal complete with a free tote). I’ve been thinking a lot about what my personal song of the summer is, partly because I can’t stand that “Despacito” is getting that attention globally. I start to reflect on my summer, one that’s been quite eventful in comparison to what my summers are usually like. What is the song that defines my state of mind, yet has that energy and vibrance that we associate with Songs of Summer?
I’ve seen my pick on many lists, and every time I come across it, it always makes sense. I sit here reading Rostam Batmanglij’s profile in the latest New Yorker after having listened to his episode of Sound Exploder, now realizing why I needed to get to this review. Maybe the fact that I spent a full weekend reminiscing and (over)thinking the past couple months has pushed me to finally confront my connection with this song.
Sometimes you just feel like writing a review, it festers in your blood while your mind makes sense of why a song or album is so important to you. “Bike Dream” is a song that I’ve had on constant repeat since I first heard it, there’s something just so exact about the feelings evoked from the pulsing synthy beat, swelling strings, and the soothing yet fuzzy half-asleep trance of it all. The way that that chorus lyrics just fade and melt so sweetly like the sleepy words you say to the person in your bed when you first wake up. It’s a sort of late-Morning Mood-esque theme for the modern romance taste.
Maybe it helps that I’m gay, maybe it helps that I myself am trying to figure out which type of boy I want to be with–hell what type of boy I want to be–but I think this song goes deeper. In this New Yorker profile, Rostam says “As a person who doesn’t identify as straight, any love song I write is contextualized by a queer identity.” I think that succinctly captures what I feel when I listen to this song, or at least it captures the reaction of what I want to do when I listen to song; this song really makes me think about my experiences with the queer men I date or befriend, and makes me want to gush and talk about them. I feel that in order to properly comment on love songs, or any songs of identity, my own writing needs to be contextualized by my queer identity. I feel the need to come-out as a queer-writer, in order to properly talk about my own dreams and how they relate to the music I experience.
As Rostam has made clear in multiple interviews, this song is not really about two boys, it’s about wanting the person that you’re with to be two different people, and deciding which one is the life worth pursuing. When I listen to this song, I think of myself of the two boys most often. Who do I want to be, what do I want to act like, what makes my life more fulfilled? I’ve been sitting at a crossroads for a year, personally, professionally, and emotionally.
Making life choices is not the easiest thing to do, especially when you feel you’re at a point where even the smallest decision can change the entire course of the next decade or longer. Sometimes you just want to stay still in that dream state, but you know that you can’t and that you have to act. I think “Bike Dream” is that moment in between, still dreaming yet on the cusp of making that move, because you realize life is “telling me something or nothing, never the one thing I wanna hear.”
I spent too much time wanting “to try to go back in time to just that moment in my life where I should have spoke up but I lied.” Those times where I wasn’t being completely open about my identity when I should have (let’s be clear that I haven’t been completely in the closet since high school, but I haven’t been completely out either). Those times when I wanted to express my feelings, to tell a guy he’s cute, to kiss my flirtations, to let myself be happy in the moment.
“Where could I go? What could I do?”
Questions I’ve continually asked myself, holding myself back instead of just jumping at opportunity.
Now as we’re embarking Fall, I’ve caught my breath, slept into the day, and woke up with the light across my room. This summer taught me who I want to be, where I want to explore, why I’m here. So that’s why “Bike Dream” is my anthem of Summer ‘17, because my heart has began to work as the person I truly am, and the sounds of it all made me excited to get out of bed and begin my perfect summer days that turn into fun summer nights.