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The onset of windows-down weather in Chicago means that from now until the end of summer we’re going to be hearing radio’s heaviest-rotation hits pretty much constantly. I’m actually fine with that. There’s a corny kind of pleasure in big summer singles—the sort of “we’re all in this together” sentiment that pop music inspires in its best moments. And it follows a predictable course: I will absolutely love hearing “Throw Some D’s” every one of the hundreds of times I hear it until the one time that is absolutely too much, and from then on I will be madly over it.
But when you find yourself unable to get away from a song that’s nowhere near the Hot 100, it feels kind of sinister. Accidentally overhearing a decade-old single once can inspire pleasant nostalgia, but hearing it a dozen times in a dozen different places can evoke a kind of Dickian existential paranoia. Which is what the Cranberries’ “Dreams” has been doing to me for the past month. For some reason, it’s following me everywhere. In Chicago coffeehouses, on the streets of Austin, I am suddenly hearing it way more than pure statistical chance warrants. Last night the experience peaked with a set by the solo synth-pop project Bruno & the Dreamies, which ended with “Dreams” done as weightless new wave with a DIY-sounding slant, like the Psychedelic Furs crossed with a K Records four-track project.
After his set I found Bruno and told him about how “Dreams” seems to be following me around. He told me the same thing happened to him and that’s the reason he decided to cover it. We both agreed that hearing it so many times forced us to admit that it’s actually not too bad of a song. And also that the whole experience is totally freaky.