Dreaming Lucid: A Coming-of-Age Album
By: Daisy Murguia
Ambar Lucid is an 18-year-old Dominican-Mexican singer-songwriter from New Jersey who set her sights on becoming a frontrunner in the ‘Bedroom Pop’ and ‘Indie’ genres. She unequivocally stands out because of her seamless blend of Spanish and English in her songs and her non-conforming music style; her lyrics are emotive and the music is minimalistic. Perhaps this first album is Ambar Lucid’s way of giving us a small taste of the musical direction and mature sound she’s pursuing. The album features 8 songs and lasts only 24 minutes, leaving a desire for more, but then again, more just wouldn’t feel right.
As she posted on her Instagram when she released her album on March 1, “Escribiendo Dreaming Lucid fue mi forma de encontrar el camino hacia la realidad que yo quería, not only did I write these songs for myself, I wrote them for you. To inspire you, to remind you you are capable of a lot more than what you realize, take my words & experiences as consolation & motive to do and be everything you only imagined, because that’s why I create music, not just for myself, but for us.”
The album starts off with “Dreaming Lucid,” its eponymous track, which begins with, “Do you think you can understand what it’s like to see the world through my eyes.” It opens the listener’s heart up to the rest of the album and creates a sense of purpose: we are going on a journey into Ambar Lucid’s mind and emotions, on the off-chance that we can relate. The next song on the album is “Pineapple Death,” which feels like a continuation of “Dreaming Lucid” except it is more somber, yet not quite sad. It feels like the “talking stage” of a relationship, where your feelings haven’t been hurt yet, even though you can sense you’re well on your way to getting there.
“Eyes” is next and is the most romantic of the tracks, a typical “I can’t live without you” anthem. The song is sweet, and reminds you of childlike crushes, an innocence far gone that has only just escaped your youth. “Somewhere in Between” begins dramatically- the type of song that belongs on a film soundtrack. It resembles the instrumental that played in the “Moonlight” trailer. Once the singing begins though, this resemblance diminishes quickly. The lyrics, “Si te pidiera que me busques / would you find me,” feel emotionally provocative and soothing all at once, a complete contrast to the stressful beginning of the song.
“A letter to my younger self” is a great coming-of-age song, its ukulele and sweet message creating a long-lasting, freeing feeling. The lyrics, “Ya no quiero que llores, the universe is gonna give you muchas flores” are memorable and empowering. Contrasting the chaos and deep despair in the other songs, this song makes you feel like everything will be all right. “Letting Go” is another song that defines growth and growing up, except it feels more painful. Ambar’s voice fills the song and she sounds wise beyond her years. Her mature voice helps in culminating these feelings. The next song is “i hope you,” the only song that is strictly lower-case, and sounds exactly like any Kali Uchis song from a few years ago, with a sultry sound and laid-back tone.
“Painted Red” is a shining, glorious closing scene to “Dreaming Lucid.” Ambar builds up to an intense, “Who am I to ever believe in myself?” It feels more daring, even more heartfelt, and seems disconnected from the previous songs on the album. It’s raw; the type of song you must close your eyes while listening to and perhaps even light a candle. There might even be a slight stinging in your eyes, but don’t worry, those are only repressed emotions escaping through the eyes in the form of tears. The song perfectly showcases Ambar’s singing ability; her voice fluctuates from low tones to louder and more penetrating vocals, making the song an easy favorite.
“Dreaming Lucid” is more than just another indie bedroom pop album, it is an indication of where young Latinx artists can seek refuge. They can break from the reggaeton and latin pop genre molds and infiltrate the indie and alternative genres while singing in both English and Spanish. Ambar Lucid chose not to conform to a monolingual album, but instead decided: why not both? The album feels like opening someone’s diary; it’s intrusive but gives listeners an incredibly intimate experience. The boundaries between English and Spanish have been broken and all that’s left are genuine, raw emotive tracks.