Dean Wareham: "Love is Colder Than Death"

from Emancipated Hearts (Double Feature; 2013)

By Maura McAndrew | 12 September 2013

It’s safe to say that at age fifty, Dean Wareham has earned the designation of indie rock elder statesman, not just due to the duration of his career, but also his seemingly effortless evolution from lo-fi cult hero to indie pop workhorse to, lately, a free agent of sorts. Though Dean & Britta’s last traditional full length was 2007’s Variations, Wareham has been consistently busy the past decade, most notably with the fantastic 13 Most Beautiful: Songs for Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests, scoring films, and even appearing in friend and collaborator Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha as a dour dinner party guest.

In October, Wareham will release his first completely solo work, Emancipated Hearts, and first single “Love is Colder Than Death,” produced by Jason Querver of Papercuts, bears the influence of his work in film. It’s an extremely cinematic ballad with a rich sound—Magnetic Fields-esque in a way, though likely a bit too earnest for Stephin Merritt’s blood. “Love is Colder Than Death” is a simple walking-in-the-rain song, an upbeat melody drowning in plenty of atmospheric synth and piano. It’s a bit old-fashioned in a good way, kind of like Burt Bacharach underwater. Wareham rambles through, in his trademark textured whisper, evocative lines like “The sky is dark / The trip was long” and playful refrains like “Cats and mices have their vices / And so do I have mine.” It’s hard not to want to put on headphones and go brooding around the city.

“Love is Colder Than Death” is a promising sample of what to expect of Dean Wareham: Solo Artist. If not quite a bold new direction, it’s a second wind—a continuation of a remarkably consistent, yet subtly maturing, career.

► “Love is Colder Than Death”