Ghostpoet
Emma Dudlyke

In a time that is undoubtedly eerie, Ghostpoet’s fifth album, I Grow Tired But Dare Not Fall Asleep, speaks to our deepest fears and anxieties, touching on the dystopic present – and future.

If you haven’t listened to a Ghostpoet album before, I Grow Tired But Dare Not Fall Asleep doesn’t make for easy listening. In fact, if you’re looking for something that will make you feel better, then this isn’t it. It’s an album that speaks about the truth, an inconvenient, sometimes uncomfortable one.

Musically, Ghostpoet doesn’t belong in a specific genre. Or better, he doesn’t want to. He wants to experiment with everything, and this record proves it once again. Having several Mercury Prize nominations under his belt, Ghostpoet returned with his new album singing about the never-ending stress we feel every day – the alienation, the injustice – all blended with indie and electronica music with breaks of distortion.

From the opening track, Ghostpoet makes clear what this record is about. “I am alive, I am alive, I am alive / I want to die” he sings in ‘Breaking Cover’. It’s not a paradox. It’s the thin line between good days and bad days. Days you feel that the world is your playground and other days you feel that the world has swallowed you up. It’s a matter of moments to go from the “I’m alive” to the “I want to die”. “I need a break. I need a break. You need a break. We need a break. They need a break. It’s all on top. There’s too much noise” he continues. The world needed a break. We needed a break. To take a step back, to look after ourselves, to connect again with the ones we love. To breathe again.

The whole record continues with the same mood. Sometimes the music gets more upbeat, sometimes lining up with the lyrics. In the title track, music gets more cheery, but the lyrics do feel like a pair of hands around your throat. Ghostpoet wants to escape from this world, from this noise. He’s sick of it. He tries to stay awake in a sleepwalking world, a world that is making the same moves – mechanically – every single day. In ‘Humana Second Hand’ the songwriter admits that even the happy pills are not helping, and wanders what the inside of him has become. He questions his own existence, his own strength, his own will.

The times in which we live – not just during lockdown – are rough. And this record is not for the ones who think that ignorance is bliss. This is a record for the ones who still worry, who still can’t sleep even if they’re tired, the ones who have their thoughts swirling around their heads, the ones who feel that there is an invisible noose around their throat, preventing them from breathing. This is a record for the ones who still feel, who still care, who still trying to find some humanity in this inhuman society.

Rating: ★★★★☆

I Grow Tired But Dare Not Fall Asleep is released this Friday, 31st April and is available to pre-order now.

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