Abigail PinterParsons and Hannah Catlin
Adventures in Real Time by Dylan Gardner
“I’ll be singing, you’ll be humming”, writes Dylan Gardner, and that’s pretty much what you’ll be doing while listening to his music. Whether voluntarily or not, his catchy tunes will get stuck in your head and his easy-to-remember lyrics will float around your brain for days.
Not least to mention his super-catchy opening track “Let’s Get Started”, which has all the makings of a summer pop hit.
But let’s start on the man himself. Or, boy, really. Gardner is only 18 years old and released his debut album, Adventures in Real Time, just last October. From an unassuming suburban American town, Dylan Gardner is beginning to make his mark on the world.
The self-proclaimed “music nerd” collects 60’s rock albums and owns his fair share of vinyl records. To improve his own songwriting, he looks to his idols – The Beatles, The Kinks, Alice Cooper, and Prince – and studies their songs, trying to see just what make them so great.
Adventures in Real Time consists of just ten of the hundreds of songs that Gardner has written. And, yes, he did actually write them. He puts tons of hard work and dedication into each song he’s written. In a Twitter interview we held with him, he said that “my music and my style will always be who I am”.
So what is this new singer-songwriter made of?
The album, though nothing extremely memorable, is definitely worth a listen and potentially a buy. For just a debut album, Dylan shows massive potential.
Along with Gardner’s own unique and modern sound, he has strong influences from his idols, most apparently, throwbacks to The Beatles from their earlier days. A little bit of their sound is incorporated in his songs, (and a little bit of their style is incorporated into his hair cut.)
For the most part, Adventures in Real Time consists of up-tempo pop songs, like his opening two tracks, “Let’s Get Started” and “Heroes Tonight”. Joined by “I’m Nothing Without You” and “Too Afraid to Love You”, they also make up the strongest part of Gardner’s album.
The album is written and played well, with just an outlier or two, namely, his weakest piece, “The Actor”. Compared to the general easy-on-the-ears vibe, the under-tempo ballad is not up to par with the rest of his album. With lyrics such as “I am the maker of my own demise”, the song lends an unnecessary and out of place tune that disrupts the flow of the rest of the album. Take note artists: if your album is cohesive, you don’t need that trademark, tear-jerker, slow song.
If fun, classic pop tunes are your thing, consider buying Adventures In Real Time. Once you have the album, it is best to start at the beginning. It is not only track number one, but “Let’s Get Started” is also Dylan’s strongest and most dance-worthy tune. Keep going and listen to track number two, another potential hit of his.
Once you reach the Actor, track number six, skip it – or save it for the end if you really want to listen. It interrupts the flow Gardner builds up continually from the beginning.
After you have conquered “The Actor”, it’s up to you how you listen to the rest of the album, which is better than his ballad, but generally weaker than the first half.
For optimal enjoyment, don’t listen like a music critic. This album is (mostly) happy and upbeat, and you should be when you listen to it. Perfect for that spring-into-summer type day, it’s smile-along, feel-good music, that goes down like a tall glass of lemonade.