The Smoke Signal, MSJ's Official Newspaper

Arts and Entertainment

Dylan Gardner Takes Us on a Real Time Adventure


By: Staff Writer Andrew Choi


Dylan Gardner, an 18-year old singer-songwriter from California who gained fame through his YouTube covers, released his debut album Adventures in Real Time independently in May 2014 to much critical acclaim. After its lead track “Let’s Get Started” garnered close to three million plays on Spotify, Warner Bros. Records re-released Gardner’s album in January 2015. Adventures in Real Time is a new and refreshing debut pop album that is difficult to find many flaws in.

If his name sounds familiar, it may be because Gardner had recently gone viral on YouTube for his covers of artists including The Beatles and Vampire Weekend. He is among the new generation of artists who gained their success through YouTube, which includes musicians Tyler Ward and Dave Days.

The first track of the ten-song album, “Let’s Get Started” has potential to be a legendary hit single. The energizing song presents a bouncy tune and the crisp and upbeat piano, guitar, and drums add a slightly romantic feel to the song. The album continues with a handful of upbeat tracks, including the fantastic “I Think I’m Falling for Something”. The song ends the first half of the album brilliantly with its cheerful tune that includes a superb piano and horn introduction.

Gardner starts the second part of the album on a different note with “The Actor.” This track is a more solemn and beautiful melodic tune with darker lyrics than any other song in the album. The 18-year old singer’s beautiful vocals tell the dangers of show business in a thoughtful yet haunting way.

The final song in the ten-song album, “Invincible” ends the album the way it started – sensationally. The optimistic and exciting tune is a song you can expect to be played at stadium sporting events, with the audience happily singing along.

One small flaw of the album is that most of the songs sounds similar, with the exception of “The Artist”. They all effuse the same feel and after a few listens of the album, it is quite easy to become confused about which song is which. Gardner will have to find some variation in the future for further success.

There is a very special level of depth contained within this collection of songs. This album is a magical collection of ten memorable songs. There is not really one single track that sticks out because all ten are truly excellent. The haunting lyrics and the amazing vocals combine to make Adventures in Real Time one of the better debut albums we’ll likely see this year. It is an album worthy of its constant praise and fans of pop will definitely look forward to more of Gardner’s work in the future.


Grade: B+


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