Shakey Graves Explores Themes of Sleep in ‘Can’t Wake Up’

In the past several years, Shakey Graves has garnered a sizable following with his good vibes and folky sound. Shakey Graves is the project of mastermind Alejandro Rose-Garcia, and it’s an impressive one man band. Lately, he’s been pouring his musical efforts into the forthcoming Can’t Wake Up, a full-length record that he calls his “most intentionally worked on” project thus far.


At the beginning of April, Shakey Graves released “Mansion Door,” the most recent single off the record.


The song is proof that Shakey Graves has evolved, and his sound has a new depth. It takes that Americana sound that Shakey Graves has become known for and wraps it up in a beautiful and clean indie package. You can find comfort in its languid quality, with its unhurried sense of pace that still manages to find a gentle groove.


For Rose-Garcia, “Mansion Door” is “a love song to mid-late ’90s indie bands.”


With musical nods to Built to Spill and Heatmiser, it’s unmistakeably an ode to the era.

Shakey Graves Offers Two More Singles from Can’t Wake Up


“Mansion Door” isn’t the only song off Can’t Wake Up that you can listen to before its release; Shakey Graves released two others in the form of the brief The Sleep EP. 


First is “Counting Sheep,” a song with an ethereal and dreamlike atmosphere. Far from Shakey Graves’s Americana roots, this song is the epitome of sweet, fuzzy indie.


The guitar lines are gentle and twinkling, a contrast to the song’s slightly dark lyrics.


“If I die before I wake / save my dreams for another day,” Rose-Garcia sings. Throughout the song, his voice is smooth and mellow, but in this moment, it takes on a bit of a crying, desperate quality. This soars into the final iteration of the chorus, which is a new level of intensity that fades just as quickly as it came.

In comparison, “Kids These Days” is a more upbeat, positive contribution. Together, these two tracks show the versatility of Shakey Graves in both lyrical and musical themes.


This song is a steadfast portrait of teenage ideation, with a youthful flair and a sound that leans more towards indie rock. The rock vibes, more unusual for Shakey Graves, offer a sense of naivety that proves effective in face of the lyrics.


“I’m too young to die / Gonna live forever /I just wanna talk tough, look mean / Life is good at seventeen,” Rose-Garcia sings.


This blindly optimistic perspective of youth is relatable to many, and Shakey Graves approaches it from an adult point of view. He’s lived it, learned from it, and now he’s exploring it through song.


It’s an altogether different mood entirely from “Counting Sheep,” but the two songs play off each other to create complementary sonic and thematic worlds.

Ahead of his newest album, Shakey Graves has released three singles that exemplify a variety of his influences and abilities. Though these songs have different sounds, Rose-Garcia’s creativity and reflective nature remain true through every moment. Can’t Wake Up is sure to feature an even greater diversity of sound, pointing Shakey Graves in a new direction while he remains true to his roots.


Can’t Wake Up is set to release May 4.



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