The Actor

Album: The Dream (2022)
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Songfacts®:

  • On March 5, 1982, the comic actor and Blues Brother John Belushi died of a drug overdose in his bungalow at the Chateau Marmont Hotel in West Hollywood. This fictionalized story recounts how a struggling actor-turned-dealer sold Belushi the speedball that killed him.
  • The tale of an actor subsidizing his dream by becoming a coke dealer feeds into the idea of the hedonism of 1980s America. "When we were producing it, it was very guitar-heavy, but the greatest discovery was this arpeggiated synth that created this intoxicating vibe," vocalist Joe Newman told Apple Music. "It reinforces this whole '80s, Reagan, drug-excess world."
  • Alt-J's fourth album, The Dream, is not for the fainthearted. There are plenty of dark themes, from this song's tragic tale of the Hollywood dream gone wrong to one's last moments in "Philadelphia."

    "We experience a lot of harrowing things in our lives," explained Newman to The Guardian. "They build up and you write about them in time, and you come up with ideas that fit those emotions and you put it all together."
  • Keyboardist Gus Unger-Hamilton's wife April contributes backing vocals.

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