11. Rhett Miller – Sweet Dreams
From: The Dreamer
Released: June 5, 2012
Label: Maximum Sunshine
Buy it: Here
Rhett financed The Dreamer through one of those Kickstarter campaigns that’s already become rather tedious and a little controversial in music circles. But instead of just doling out “thank you”s in the liner notes, I’ll give Rhett credit for putting some nifty merchandise up for sale that fans could appreciate (rare 7” copies of “Help Me, Suzanne,” old guitars, wardrobe). It was a self-financed and self-produced affair, which can be a double-edged sword for an artist. You get freedom, sure, but you also lose second-guessing of someone in the big chair. As a result, The Dreamer came out sounding a little flat between the one-two punch of the Old 97s’ The Grand Theatre project last year and the 15th anniversary celebration of Too Far To Care this year. The songs on The Dreamer weren’t as punchy as some of his previous solo efforts, but he still knocked out a little classic in “Sweet Dreams,” which closes the album. Sure, the music is just another knock on that chord progression that’s been basing little pop lullabies since “Sh’Boom,” “Blue Moon” and “I Will,” but the reason artists eventually mine it is because it always delivers a bit of gold. But beyond cribbing a tried and true chord progression, the thing that really makes “Sweet Dreams” work is that it sounds like Rhett’s a lot more relaxed performing it. The lesson? Relax. It sounds great here and for a guy who’s always been renowned for making up slightly crazy stories for his lyrics, self-assuredness and sincerity have always been the key to selling it.