Today’s Song: Zen Mantra and the Power of Dreams

Zen Mantra

We think of dreams as being wonderful things.

Dreams function as synonyms for hopes. They’re magical domains, where anything is possible. The word evokes a floating feeling, a spacey, ethereal world, like sailing through a cloud.

But that’s actually a little strange. Because dreams aren’t necessarily nice. They’re full of emotions, sometimes ones you wouldn’t like. They can be foreboding, and anxious, and they can even be nightmares. Sometimes they can be all of these things at once.

Listen: “Maybe I’ll See You In My Dreams” – Zen Mantra


“Maybe I’ll See You In My Dreams,” by New Zealand’s Zen Mantra (which is just one guy named Sam Perry, who is also in the band Yumi Zouma) gets at the myriad different feelings of dreams. It’s ethereal and spacey. The guitars ring and reverberate in the fuzzy production, and Perry’s voice is drowned in masking effects.

But in addition to the chilled out vibe, “Maybe I’ll See You In My Dreams” has a bit of a dark side. It’s nothing overt. It’s just a little bit of a creepiness that comes through the music, a little bit of a sense that something isn’t quite right.

Maybe it’s the slight warbling of the jangly guitars, which gives the whole song a bit of a fun-house/carnival effect. Or maybe it’s the melody, the mildly unsettling moans from Perry’s voice in the pre-chorus. There’s something sinister about the way he sings the title in the understated chorus, “cause maybe I’ll see you in my dreams…” he repeats, until you can’t tell if it’s a threat, a warning, a lament, or a hope. And then a series of ringing guitar stabs come crashing in at the end of the line, and the songs is brought to a whole new place.

“Maybe I’ll See You In My Dreams” still manages a sweet vibe throughout. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable song that brings to mind summer nights, and sun-kissed days. And it’s that contradiction that makes it so enticing.

A dream can be a perfect facsimile of real life and still not feel quite right. It is made of things you know and yet everything feels foreign. They happen while you rest, but can bring your heart to a sprint.

“Fall asleep I/wish I could sleep through/my life” sings Perry as the guitars swirl and ring around him. It’s hard to tell if that’s really something he wants, or something he fears.

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Zen Mantra – Zen Mantra

released April 15, 2016 via Flying Nun Records

Zen Mantra - Zen Mantra

Zen Mantra – Zen Mantra

New Jersey-bred writer (or more accurately, ranter) living in Brooklyn. I spend all my time listening to music, thinking about music, and insisting that all my friends appreciate my thoughts about music, so I sometimes write about it on the internet to give them a break. I also do a bunch of odd jobs in and about New York City, because I'm obsessed with the place. I literally make a living out of knowing obscure trivia facts, so I'm always interested in hearing about some weird topic you know about.