VELVET DREAMING spirals through Boston nightlife

'Spiraling' is the freak-pop artist's siren song to stay out just a little bit longer.
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Izzy Astuto
Izzy Astuto (he/they) is a writer currently majoring in Creative Writing at Emerson College, with a specific interest in screenwriting. His work has previously been published by Hearth and Coffin, Sage Cigarettes, and The Gorko Gazette, amongst others. He currently works as an intern for Spoon University, and a reader for journals such as PRISM international and Alien Magazine. You can find more of their work on their website, at Their Instagram is izzyastuto2.0 and Twitter is adivine_tragedy.

Perfect for your next night out, VELVET DREAMING, aka Kade Thibodeau, has released their second EP, Spiraling. Born in Brooklyn, Thibodeau moved to Boston in their early teens and dove headfirst into the thriving DIY culture. After their successful debut project BODYMOVE that allowed them to perform live all across New England, their newest release combines their more pop punk roots with hyperpop. The record captures an obsessive vibe, hungry for connection and, more than anything, escape from the typical day-to-day slog.

Many of the songs on Spiraling were written at the conception of the confident VELVET DREAMING persona, and the self-titled opening track is no exception. “Velvet Dreaming” is effortlessly seductive, drawing listeners into the dank nightclubs these songs exist in. The lyrics actively taunt, with tantalizing visions over the hypnotizing synth: “Every fantasy / close your eyes and breathe in.” The song’s final lines fade away as the backing track spins out, over as quickly as it started.

But before you can mourn, “Fun 2night” with its more new wave beat sucks you right back in. The lyrics seem to represent a failed night out of sorts—trying to find distraction and “somebody to take [you] home.” It’s a desperate plea for acknowledgment, but the most VELVET DREAMING finds is the club around them. Through the lyrics, “I feel it taking control of me,” the environment is personified as an almost eldritch being with its own sentience, throwing you from song to song in a dizzying daze.

“Everybody,” in my reading, is the song after VELVET DREAMING has been possessed by this nightlife spirit. “Underneath [this ghost] I’m just a person, you know,” Thibodeau distantly sings. They don’t recognize anybody around them yet they can’t help but dance. The electronic backing doesn’t change much in this song versus the others, but it grows more sinister as it continues in a never-ending loop of modulations. During the last chorus, they experiment with their vocals, over-autotuning to achieve a detached, robotic result that sounds trapped directly in the DJ booth.

The final track, “Spiraling,” is the most unique, as vocals clash with the beat to show VELVET DREAMING slowly breaking free from their toxic relationship to nightlife. Clubbing isn’t inherently harmful, but recognizing a reason for going out helps to center one’s mind. If all I want to do is get away from the constraints of my day-to-day, like this singer appears to be doing, I’m much more prone to being sucked into this unhealthy codependency with my favorite dive. All isn’t lost for VELVET DREAMING though, by the end, as the thumping bass builds into a final, acapella-esque line, like a gasp of fresh air after hours of dancing.

While the four songs all blend together in terms of their electrifying beats, this doesn’t create a negative listening experience. Rather, we get an incredibly cohesive EP, ripe with the overwhelming, liminal feeling of staying out too long. While not necessarily speaking against the pleasures of partying, it paints a grim picture for those who abuse the pastime. With the consistent rhythm, it’s easy to become disoriented at the transition between songs, unsure of where one ends and the next begins. Spiraling spits you out with its last line, freeing you from the project’s siren song to stay out just a little bit longer.

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