During a time when many people are grieving various losses, Eddy Lee Ryder’s “There in Dreams” gives a voice to that grief. Originally written about the death of the singer-songwriter’s father when she was 16, the single is intended to speak to anyone who has lost someone they care about. “[It’s about] finding your own peace in a situation you have no control over and speaking to someone who’s not there and saying, ‘It’s gonna be all right,’ and just trusting,” she explains.
The song opens with a simple melody, minimal guitar and piano accompaniment, and natural imagery, creating a folky aesthetic: “I know the ocean/She tells me I’m insane/I know the waters/They have crumbled in my brain.” The escalating melody of the chorus, meanwhile, contains hints of Ryder’s training in opera and classical music; her voice elegantly soars above the piano as she sings, “There in dreams, you come to me.”
“I tried to make it very vague when I was writing it so people could put their own stories in there and make their own meanings when hearing the lyrics,” Ryder explains. “I think everyone has someone who visits them in different ways, and they get meaning when that happens.” Her goal with the sound was to sing in a light, approachable manner to give hope to a heavy topic.
The single is part of Expected To Fly, Ryder’s debut EP under her current name, which comes out in July. Along with the ’80s-inspired title track and “There in Dreams,” the EP includes Ryder’s three previously released singles: “Silver Chain,” “Small Apartment,” and “Vultures.” The influence of Fleetwood Mac and Tom Petty is audible, from the dramatic vocals to the electric guitar; Ryder describes the sound as “shimmery.”
The NYC-based artist, who has been making music that she classifies within the rock genre for around seven years, initially under the name Liz Brennan, describes “There in Dreams” as more serious than her other singles, which were “more theatrical and a little bit more comedy-driven and outrageous,” she says.
“Small Apartment,” for instance, a catchy 2019 single that gives off ’70s vibes, centers on a “lady prick” neighbor who got Ryder evicted. The funny video shows her enacting the whole saga, from “the way her voice would shake the window” to “the way she kicked the door unhinged,” with the two fighting by dropping and banging objects on their respective floor and ceiling.
The video for “Silver Chain,” an 80s-rock-inspired single about spending your nights at bars at an older age than appears appropriate while your friends are doing grown-up things, is equally enthralling, taking place in a strip club and featuring a cameo from porn star and filmmaker Ron Jeremy.
Ryder has also written a number of other songs she plans to turn into concept albums, including one called World War 3 that she finds “very fitting for the current state of the world.” Given the versatility she’s already shown as an artist, both sonically and thematically, we’re not sure what to expect of her future work, except that it’s certain to be intriguing.
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