Today's Song of the Day, as chosen by Larry Mizell, Jr., host of the Afternoon Show on KEXP, is "Dreamer" by Nabihah Iqbal, from the 2023 album DREAMER on Ninja Tune.

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photo by joseph hayes
written by jasmine albertson

In late April, Nabihah Iqbal dropped her long-awaited sophomore record Dreamer via Ninja Tune. Five years after the release of her debut, Weighing of the Heart, and six since Iqbal’s last EP under her former moniker Throwing Shade, the record is a resplendent re-introduction to the London-born artist, curator, broadcaster and lecturer. Blending elements of early ‘80s electronica, shoegaze, and trance with ruminative lyricism, it’s a record that hits the heart as much as it does the body.

The story behind the record starts in agony, as many great records do, with Iqbal’s studio being burglarized in early 2020 and all her work lost, including what was supposed to be her sophomore record. Piling onto the trauma, her grandfather suffered a brain hemorrage leading Iqbal to fly to Pakistan shortly before the pandemic hit and stranding her there as the world shut down. But as all creatives know, what doesn’t kill you, gives you better material for your work. It was there that the first seeds of Dreamer appeared, with just an acoustic guitar and a harmonium.

Our Song of the Day is the album’s title track “Dreamer.” One of less trancey songs on the album, the song is a combination of Best Coast breeziness and Cocteau Twinsian dreaminess. The lyricism is pure unadulterated bliss, “Dream of me /And I'II dream of you,” Iqbal coos. “Sun so soft /And sky so blue /This love is happy love.”

The song comes with a video shot in 700-year old palace in Old Lahore, Pakistan and directed by Zayan Agha, who said this of the video, “Taking a documentarian's approach to directing the music video, I gave Nabihah the freedom to discover the vibrant chaos of Lahore. I filmed her navigating through the city's mundane cacophony, resulting in a surreal and dreamy visual experience that vividly portrays the city's essence.”

Watch the video below and catch Nabihah Iqbal at Barboza on Sunday, June 4th.



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