By Ayelet Ehrenkranz
Business of Dreams is the solo project of Magic Bullets and Terry Malt’s guitarist Corey Cunningham. Cunningham left his musical base in California a few years ago to return to his Tennessee home following his father’s death. In a vulnerable and honest state after the passing, Cunningham started the indie band Business of Dreams, releasing the debut album in February 2017 on Slumberland records. Two years later, Cunningham releases Business of Dream’s Ripe for Anarchy, a shimmering, reminiscent, and often somber sophomore album.
Ripe For Anarchy begins with “Chasing That Feeling,” the drum stomping 80s pop synth style opener. Cunningham said the album is about “living in the moment,” and this is explicit in his lyrics: “Focus on the moment/ be free.” Unfortunately, the song produces a false auspicious feeling in its lyrics and upbeat melody. In reality, the album is about letting things go but also about the grim sadness that comes with this notion.
“In Ripe For Anarchy,” Cunningham sings in a dreamy haze “It’s time to say goodnight to those lonesome ghosts forever,” emphasizing the overall theme of moving on and the pain that comes with it. In “N.R.E.A.M,” an acronym for Negativity Rules Everything Around Me (which may or not be a play on the Wu Tang Clan’s “C.R.E.A.M”– Cash Rules Everything Around Me), Cunningham briefly questions his whole ideology: “Why can’t today be yesterday/things were so much better then.” Though he quickly accepts that “now is now/and the past has past.” Cunningham touches on personal and large concepts such as existentialism and perseverance, but falls short of expressing them due to the vague and simplistic lyrics throughout the album.
Cunningham’s sadness is so prevalent that it has even been addressed. A Slumberland Records press release explains that “Cunningham is most at home making soft sounds extolling the wounded and mournful.” Whether Cunningham sings “This is the meaning of life it seems/restless nights/ bad dreams” on “La La La La,” or “life is for the privileged and the few” on “Life Is Dread,” it is clear that he himself is wounded. There is no doubt that listeners can hear the sadness, but whether they can connect with the sadness is the more important question. The emotion comes from a seemingly uncertain source.
Overall, the album is a beautiful layered pop abyss, reminiscent of sensitive rockers like The Smiths and the soft voice of Sufjan Stevens. While Cunningham’s first album was more focused on the aftereffect of his father’s death, Ripe For Anarchy is slightly all over the place. Business of Dreams finished a U.S tour in January, and heads to Europe in May.