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Enman / "Chase The Dream" album art

Artist Name:
Enman   Title: Chase The Dream   Genre: Retro-Pop  Rating:


DAW – PreSonus Studio One 6 Sphere; Interface – RME Fireface UCX II; Plugins – Slate Digital, Waves, SSL and iZotope Ozone 10; Vocal Mic – Slate Digital VMS Modeling Mic; Guitar Effects – Line 6 Helix Rack and TECH 21 Sansamp; Electronic Drums – Alesis Strike Pro; Drum VST – Steven Slate Audio; Monitors – Focal Alpha 65 Evo, Yamaha HS 5 and M-Audio BX8a Deluxe; Monitor Controller – PreSonus Monitor Station; Headphones – Steven Slate Audio VSX


“Chase The Dream,” performed by Enman, is a retro-pop song with a 1980s vibe. Songwriter Brent Enman sang all of the vocal parts and played all of the instruments on the track. According to Enman, the recording was primarily done in the box, with the drum tracks played on an Alesis Strike Pro triggering Steven Slate Drums. Bass and Guitars were recorded with either a Helix Rack or a Sansamp, while the vocals were recorded with a Slate VMS Modeling Mic. Brent notes, “No auto-tune, loops or backing tracks were used—I’m kinda old school that way.”

Review By Dave Martin

The first thing I noticed about “Chase The Dream” is that compared to most contemporary pop songs, Brent Enman’s track is in no hurry to get to the words. This isn’t a complaint, though; it’s an observation of how music styles and composition styles change over the years. A 16-measure introduction was common in the era when this sort of writing was ‘current’ rather than ‘retro’.

Once the “band” enters, I like that they’re playing the chorus pattern; besides the fact that it’s a cool band part, once the song gets to the chorus, you are already familiar with the music that underpins the chorus. Does this kind of familiarity matter? In the long run, I don’t know, but in this song, it works for me. Another thing I liked about “Chase The Dream” was that it doesn’t depend on layers and layers of instruments to get the song’s point across, and there is a fairly minimal track count, especially by today’s standards.

Lyrically and musically, “Chase The Dream” is well put together, and in keeping with the idea of retro-pop, there’s an actual guitar solo that’s long enough to develop into its own thing. Those of us who played (and recorded) music in the 1970s and 1980s remember when guitar solos were a regular part of the musical landscape. And yeah, I kinda miss them! So, yes, I very much enjoyed Enman’s guitar solo. I also liked how Enman uses harmony voices to help reinforce the message of the lyrics; they are well thought out.

Dave’s Suggestions

While some artists create music for themselves, others may still strive for “airplay,” be it radio or streaming playlists. In that spirit, here’s some information that might help those competing in the broad marketplace of music—songs are getting shorter again.

In the days when singles were released on 45rpm records, there was a physical limit to the length of a song, which was about 5 minutes (though if the song was mastered to have as much volume and low-frequency information as possible, that limit was closer to 3 to 3½ minutes. The maximum limit went up with the rise of the Album Oriented Rock (AOR) genre, where radio stations were playing songs off of the full-length LP songs like “Hey Jude” or “Stairway to Heaven,” both more than 7 minutes.

Once compact discs became the delivery method of choice, singles (and albums) got even longer, culminating in 1992 when the average length of a pop single was 4 minutes and 21 seconds. 

However, with how the average person listens to music these days, musical trends have changed again. For example, Spotify only pays an artist royalties if the listener is engaged for at least 30 seconds. If you are using TikTok to hook possible listeners, you have 21 to 34 seconds to grab a listener’s attention.

As such, artists have been moving to shorter intros and bringing in the hooks earlier in the song. Shorter songs mean more revenue for the artists; the shorter the song, the more often it can be replayed, which means more money the artist can make. 

At this year’s GRAMMY Awards, 20% of the nominated songs were less than 3 minutes, and the average song length on the Billboard Top 100 is around three minutes, regardless of the genre. While I’ve read both anecdotal stories and clinical studies about Americans’ shortened attention spans compared to 30, 40 or 50 years ago, I don’t think shorter songs are related to that as much as to the indirect pressures of the marketplace.

Where am I going with this?

While I have opinions and the above observations, I always default to agreeing with the creator’s vision. When the song meets (or exceeds) the artist’s vision, it’s a success. The above wasn’t a reflection of Enman’s song, which I think works very well, and I’m guessing that it suits the artist’s vision of an old-school production, complete with a rather minimalist track count. However, it does have a hook in the intro that foreshadows the chorus, and perhaps it could be a fun experiment to craft an equally old-school, yet modern single edit.


Enman’s “Chase The Dream” is a retro-pop song that performs the rare feat of sounding and feeling like a retro-pop song, and it was done in the box with very modern equipment. On all fronts, I call that a win!


Dave Martin is a producer, engineer and bassist. Dave owned Nashville’s Java Jive Studio for close to 25 years. Dave has recorded, produced and/or played with symphony orchestras, rock and roll icons and country music legends ranging from the Old Crow Medicine Show, The Dead Pickers Society, Porter Wagoner, Robben Ford, Billy Cobham, The Box Tops, Carl Verheyen, Richie Faulkner (Judas Priest), Adrian Belew, Rick Nielsen (Cheap Trick), Eric Johnson, Robbie Fulks, Steve Vai, The Coasters and others. Dave is also a member of the Western Swing Hall of Fame.


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