The Juliana Theory Walk Us Through “A Dream Away,” Their New LP of Reworked Favs
Returning from a 15 year hiatus, Brett Detar and Joshua Fiedler share how these tracks have changed over two decades.
Fifteen years is a long time to step away from a project that brought you global acclaim in another lifetime—and naturally, returning to that world after a decade and a half of personal and creative development can result in you rethinking some of the choices you made as a relatively young person. Such is the case with alt/emo icons The Juliana Theory, with founding members Brett Detar and Joshua Fiedler recently polishing off their dated discography in order to reimagine them for what would become their first LP since 2005’s Deadbeat Sweetheartbeat.
The record Detar once described as “The Juliana Theory on speed” feels like lightyears away from the revisited material, which takes more cues from symphonic pop, drawing inspiration from Detar’s work as a film composer. The record’s eight tracks see the now-duo in a totally reworked state with a considerably broader instrumental palate, leaving the door wide open for what future music from TJT could entail.
With the record finally out today via Equal Vision Records, listen along below as you read through Fiedler’s commentary on each track.
1. “Better Now”
A song for seeing someone you love go through some terrible things in their life, and you want to lift them up in any way you can. This song’s meaning really evolved as well during the pandemic. It was a song that we felt the world truly needed to hear. So many people are struggling in so many ways, and we are firm believers in the healing power of music. “Better Now” deserved to be on this record, at this time, and during this point in our lives.
2. “Into the Dark”
Our glorious waltz. One of our trademark songs that identifies who we are. This version puts a stamp on the reimagined record as being just that as well. Brett created this beautiful cinematic masterpiece of this version, which reminds me of Aimee Mann and Elliott Smith.
3. “Is Patience Still Waiting”
The last second addition to the album. While tracking guitars, we were debating on a few different options, because Brett and I had played a few other songs during our 2019 acoustic tour. This is one I had toyed around with, but never really brought it out. I suggested we should try it, and Brett and I went into the vocal booth to mess around with it. What seemed like five minutes later, I was laying down the basic chord structure and away we went.
4. “We’re at the Top of the World”
This song, while being some people’s favorites, was always one of my least favorite songs. However, now that we recorded it for this “reimagined” record, this is the version for me. When initially writing out the chords and bassline at home ages ago, I always envisioned this song as an ode to The Beatles. This rendition is exactly the way I imagined it to be back in 2000. We were just too young to truly imagine it in this way. If I could have a time machine, I would go back to put this version on Emotion Is Dead.
5. “If I Told You This Was Killing Me”
This is the song Brett and I opened up with each night of our acoustic tour, which would just set the tone for the entire set. Even the heavier original version just puts you in a very specific vibe. Now, 21 years later, this sets the tone for the second side of the record.
6. “Bring It Low”
One of our heaviest songs turned into an indie folk song that, when I hear it, I envision us walking down a dirt road in the country after some travesty just happened. Someone needs to put this in a movie for that kind of scene.
A perfect name that paints a picture for what this song is: Staring at the starry night sky and realizing you don’t want to ever let go. This version of “Constellation” features a little bit of a restructure from the one we played on our acoustic tour. It went from campfire sing-along to another cinematic orchestrated jewel for the record.
8. “Duane Joseph”
Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined this little punky song that we wrote in our guitarist’s old basement and played at almost every show since 1998 would have turned into this interesting, dark, almost Depeche Mode in its vibe, but with mandolin and dark brushed drums.