An extended review of this full-length 2022 music recording
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Curb/Word Entertainment, 2022. $41 (MP3 $8)
Into the Wild is the fifth album for Dan Bremnes, and also his second for Curb/Word Entertainment. It is available on CD and as a digital download. It can also be streamed free, complete with accompanying music videos, on YouTube Music.
Bremnes, a Canadian-born, Nashville-based singer, guitarist and drummer, is a Covenant Award winner for two independent singles and an EP: “Hear Your Voice” in 2012 and “After All” in 2013 and the EP “Light My Way” from 2012. Although Into the Wild is only just 31 minutes long, the album packs a lot into that time.
Bremnes’ catchy, mostly upbeat songs seem simple, yet they are actually quite thought-provoking. His strong, mature faith is not blatant in most of the songs, but it comes through the more one reflects on what his lyrics are saying.
The title track is an invitation to comes along on a trip, not knowing exactly where you’re going but trusting you’ll find your new home. This vaguely Celtic-sounding ditty sets the tone with multi-layered vocals over crisp acoustic guitar.
At first, “Run Away with Me” appears to be about just having a good time. Consider the lyrics: “we could get lost on some street, dance to the beat, let’s waste some time, ’cause I’m taking you away inside my mind.” However, it goes much deeper than that. “I wrote ‘Run Away with Me’ at the height of the pandemic when all dreams felt cancelled,” says Bremnes. “We asked ourselves, ‘Where would we go with the one we love right now?’ This song is about dreaming impossible dreams in impossible times.”
“Hold You Tight,” the lead single, reminds me of the pop-oriented songs by Genesis in the 1980s. I can imagine Phil Collins singing it. Although the song is radio-friendly, the message belies the beat. “I wrote this song for a few friends who were dealing with deep depression and anxiety,” says Bremnes. “I wanted to speak to the lie that says, ‘It’s over. Give up.’ This is for anyone who’s ‘in the middle of it.’ You are loved, you are amazing, you are held.”
In the jaunty “Wouldn’t Change a Thing,” which has a funny and witty supporting music video, Bremnes pokes fun at life, saying “some things were, and some weren’t meant to be, and that’s just the way things go.” At the same time, he notes “nobody knows what could’ve been different and I love this life I’m in, and I wouldn’t change a thing.”
The slower, more sombre “Lover of My Soul” switches gears and goes straight for the heart. Strings and dreamy angelic voices drive home the faith expressed in the chorus: “Even if I fall a thousand times, you won’t let go, you won’t let go, even if I run and try to hide, you hold me close, you’re the lover of my soul.”
Another radio-friendly pop song, “One Day at a Time” is the first here to mention God outright. For Bremnes, it’s more of the same expressed in “Wouldn’t Change a Thing.” He’s not only accepting his life for what it is but says he’s “learning to trust you, Lord, one day at a time.”
The funky, piano groove of “Fingerprints” takes this view of life even further and points out how amazing it is. “It’s so much more than ordinary, it’s nothing less than extraordinary, no, it’s the fingerprints of God.”
All in all, a very interesting and deceptively challenging album.
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