Review: Geekd lives inside his own dreamlike reality on ‘The Fairytale Starlight’

By Ryan Rosenberger, Staff Reporter

Courtesy Christian Moreno

In his newly-released EP “The Fairytale Starlight,” Chicago-based musician Christian Moreno, also known as Geekd, cannot get out of his own head.

He said so himself on the EP’s third track, “Taylor-Taylor.”

“I feel stuck inside, lost inside my own mind,” Moreno crooned in the song’s first verse.

It is that mantra which sets the foundation for “The Fairytale Starlight,” a four-track invitation to Moreno’s dreamlike fantasy land, chock-full with elaborate psychedelic instrumental passages and lyrics centered around one creating their own ideal reality when the real world has grown too dull.

Written and recorded during a period of quarantining because of the pandemic, Moreno said he wrote all of the lyrics and played every instrument himself, citing a desire for complete creative control.

The album’s intro cut, “Rema,” opens up with a heavy dose of grumbling bass, before cascading into a distant set of guitars and cymbal hits. Over this instrumental palette, Moreno paints a vivid portrait of the world that exists inside his own head, using it as a coping mechanism to escape from a failed relationship with a former flame, which he touches on in the chorus.

“Travel late at night, a world so far, the child in me, he flies away to see,” Moreno sings.

The second song, “Hikikomori,” features bouncy guitar lines and heavy percussion work that creates an invigorating wall of sound, building tension in the second half before exploding into a fiery instrumental passage which ends the song.

The aforementioned “Taylor-Taylor” comes next, which has a lighter lead guitar and a heavy, mid-paced groove. Things pick up once again in the song’s latter half, with some heavier guitar passages and a swifter pace from the guitar and drums.

Perhaps what most makes “The Fairytale Starlight” work as a cohesive listen from front to back is how the soundscapes and lyrics mirror each other aesthetically. The instrumentation takes the listener through a colorful, adventurous journey through different hues of sound, and the songwriting is no different.

Accompanying the instrumental tension of “Hikikomori” is the tension that simultaneously exists inside of Moreno’s mind. On this song, the sun is shining, almost inviting him outside into the real world, but instead he retreats back to where he is most comfortable.

“What to do when the sky turns blue, walk outside and take a look around, don’t open your eyes cause they don’t know you … don’t open your mind cause they won’t hear you,” Moreno belts.

“Taylor-Taylor” brings forth an interesting lyrical juxtaposition to its predecessor in the track list, as Moreno explores the discomfort he feels with being trapped in an alternate reality. There is a sense of desperation in the lines, which might stem from a feeling of being on edge.

The project closes out with “Daydream,” an instrumental cut that differs from the other songs presented. In lieu of the drums and guitar work that had been previously driving the project, “Daydream” is driven by a set of watery, insulating synth motifs. The mood is dreary and somber, marking a somewhat murky end to a record that had already covered a vast range of feelings and emotions.

In all, “The Fairytale Starlight” is one man’s account of trying to escape a world that feels all too claustrophobic. During a time where we are all encouraged to stay inside as much as possible, the most trapped among us will retreat even further into a world that is their own—one nobody else can see, hear or interact with.

Whether or not existing in his own head worked to the benefit of Moreno’s wellbeing remains unknown given the wide variety of moods and themes at play here. However, the cohesiveness and uniformity of the lyrical focus remains throughout this project, with zero margin of error, a triumph in and of itself. The artistic legitimacy Moreno shows throughout is definitely worth celebrating.