The Gated Dream

Welcome to the third weekly installment of our free tune series. Scroll down to the bottom to listen to and/or download this week’s entry. To check out previous weeks’ selections, go here


I never considered myself a punk rocker (too happy and well-adjusted, I guess), but I spent enough time in my teens and twenties listening to the Violent Femmes, Fugazi, and Buzzcocks, among other bands, to consider myself a fan of the genre. At least a little bit of that sensibility is brought to bear in this week’s tune.

We start off with a languid little intro. No drum track, just a bit of manual tapping on the cymbal pads for accompaniment. Then the song opens up–a driving, discordant guitar line, naked and alone, after which the bass and drums join together in lockstep. I’ve always loved the contrast between the leisurely pace of the vocals against the frenetic tempo of the instrumentals. And I had great fun adding a few extra layers of guitar in the second half.

The song is short and sweet–two verses, no chorus. Almost two decades of listening to GBV have taught me the value of brevity. Lyrically, a little abstract and somewhat ambiguous–another trait I learned from Robert Pollard. So what is The Gated Dream? A reactionary commentary on the degradation of today’s youth at the hands of progressive educational policies or a populist condemnation of the growing concentration of wealth and social stratification? I sing, you decide.


The Gated Dream

He does the kind of things
You’ll talk about tomorrow,
Then suddenly realize that
You were right the first time.
Wasn’t it fun?
Wasn’t it too much fun?

So put yourself into this scene,
Throw the blinders out, grasp the edge
Of what’s to come.
You’ll be surprised at what you’ll find:
Pretty brutes who always ask for more;
It’s all they know.

So maybe now’s the time to save
For that beautiful community,
The gated dream.
Sweet little things can stay outside
And go place to place, try to sell
Their self-esteem.

To download this tune, right-click here and select “Save Link As.” For best results, apply headphones. Thanks for listening! Be sure to come back for next Friday’s installment…

(Written, performed, and recorded by David Stahler Jr. All rights reserved.)