Dean Friedman keeps it strange and sweet on the delightful golden am pop vibes of “The Dean and I.” A whole slew of styles gets sampled, from new wave to glam rock to R&B to singer-songwriter traditions to yacht rock to too many more to list. Vocals center the entirety of the album and indeed serve as the album’s main focal point. Virtually anchoring it all down, the vocals nicely flow the lead of the music, adding and removing itself as needed.
“You’re Such a Flirt” brings the Human League vibes with clarity, opening the album off with style. On the opposite side of things is the stripped-down acapella of “Wind Blows, The.” Glowing neon-hued guitar lines shimmer with “First Date.” Jerky, Talking Heads rhythms take hold of “Nookie in the Mall” right down to the taut rhythm section. Like a long-lost pop classic comes the golden-hued “Special Effects.” On “The Kite Song,” they go for a jazzy kick. Verses are chosen with care on the Beck-stylized feeling of “McDonald’s Girl.” Catchy to its core is the infectious “Sentimental Fool.” Weird, wonderful funk rushes through “Yo-Yo.” Bringing it all home comes the epic “Don’t You Ever Dare,” complete with symphonic bursts. Delicate keyboards give way to the album highlight, the truly deliriously joyful “Rocking Chair (It’s Gonna Be All Right).” Finishing things on a reflective stance comes the sparse “How Does This Story End.”
Such a joy to behold and a wonderful kaleidoscopic stream of colors, Dean Friedman creates their own unique aural universe with “The Dean and I.”
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