In Your Dreams
Updated: May 14
A Sweet Dream or A Beautiful Nightmare?
Side A: Sweet Dreams
Picture: Henry Fuseli, The Nightmare, 1781, The Detroit Institute of Arts
A blog on the history of dreams in Western art (Renaissance to Surrealism) shows a reverie can be a dream or a nightmare. Sigmund Freud was so taken by Henry Fuseli's painting of The Nightmare he hung an engraving of the image in his 1920s Viennese apartment. With Covid being a never-ending nightmare, maybe reality can be a bit waring. So let The Hub take you on a two-hour return trip to the alternate reality of Dreams in music.
Note: This playlist was first broadcast on The Hub's Facebook Live Wednesday evening Theme Show. Upbeat Side A (The Eurythmics to Roger Hodgson) opens with Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) made in 1983 by The Eurythmic's Dave Stewart's new synthesiser sound and Annie Lennox's lyrics. The song was written after the break up of new wave band The Tourists and of Stewart's and Lennox's relationship.
Contrary to popular opinion, Lennox says the lyrics are not about "sex or S&M" but reflect her pessimism, and feelings of being "vulnerable" and "in a dream world" at that sensitive time. Stewart thought the lyrics too depressing and added the "hold your head up, moving on" line to make them more uplifting.
YouTube video: Eurythmics, Annie Lennox, Dave Stewart - Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)
The Judd's Had A Dream and Aerosmith's Dream On add contrasting country and rock notes to the opening section.
Triple girl vocal power follows. On Sweet Dreams Beyoncé sings: You can be a sweet dream or a beautiful nightmare; Either way I, don't want to wake up from you. Coupled with Blondie's Dreaming and The Cranberries' Dreams. The boys respond with Daryl Hall's and John Oates' You Make My Dreams (Come True) and Phil Oakley's Together in Electric Dreams.
Equilibrium is restored as Fleetwood Mac's Dreams and Crowded House's Don't Dream It's Over combine overlapping harmonies. Depeche Mode on Dream On and solo Supertramp Rodger Hodgson's Breakfast in America-on steroids Had A Dream (Sleeping With The Enemy) bring Side A to a close.
YouTube video: Fleetwood Mac - Dreams [with lyrics]
Side B: Dream Baby Dream
Side B (Bruce Springsteen to Kate Bush) takes a less energetic approach to reverie starting with The Boss' dreamy Dream Baby Dream from the 2014 album High Hopes. Imagine Dragons continue the low-key mood with Dream and Mama Cass breathes "Say, "Nighty-night" and kiss me" on The Mamas and Papas' Dream A Little Dream Of Me. Lana del Ray is in fairy tale mood with Once Upon A Dream, a song from 2014 movie Maleficent starring Angeline Jolie.
YouTube video: Bruce Springsteen - Dream Baby Dream (Live)
Otis Redding sings jealous soul with I've Got Dreams to Remember and Icelander Sóley brings an Alice in Wonderland focus on "the rabbit" in Bad Dreams. Dan Gibson's Dream, Dream, Spirit Moon from the album Polynesian Spa is reviewed as: "The music, the soft female voices, the instruments and the natural sounds, all meld together to take you to wherever your imagination roams".
Written in 1890, Rêverie L.68 shows: "Claude Debussy's mastery at writing dream-like atmospheres in his piano music. The gently repetitive opening theme feels like a descent into a sleepy dream-world and as the textures become ever richer the dreams only become more lush and addictive".
YouTube video: Claude Debussy: Rêverie, L. 68 (arr. Vincent David)
Franz Liszt's Liebestraum (Love Dream) No.3 in A Flat Minor, is one of three solo piano works published in 1850. Each depicts a different aspect of love depicted by a poem. No. 3 describes unconditional love anchored by Ferdinand Freiligrath's poem, O lieb, so lang du lieben kannst (O love as long as love you can). This classical music zone concludes with Chopin's Nocturne #20 in C Sharp Major and modern composer Max Richter's Dream 1 (Before the wind blows it all away).
"The Dream of Gerontius" is widely regarded as Edward Elgar's finest choral work. It is also Elgar's most explicitly Catholic work, composed for the Birmingham Music Festival of 1900 using words from a poem by Cardinal Newman. This magnificent and deeply felt two-part oratorio relays the journey of a pious man's soul from his deathbed to his judgment before God and settling into Purgatory. Note: This is a bonus track not on the Spotify playlist.
YouTube video: Blue Velvet official rerelease trailer
Anyone who has seen David Lynch's 1986 dystopia movie Blue Velvet will associate Roy Orbison's In Dreams with the stuff of nightmares. The Everley Brothers' All I Have To Do Is Dream and Jose Gonzalez's #9 Dream have similarly sweet sounds without the scary associations.
Dom La Nena's Doux de Rêver (Sweet Dream) adds a distinctively French accent to the reverie, while Anne Hathaway is on heart-tugging form with her solo I Dreamed A Dream from 2013 movie Les Misérables.
YouTube video: Dom La Nena - Doux de Rêver
Kate Bush takes us back towards reality with And I Dream of Sheep, a "mournful piano ballad" about a woman lost at sea from her 1985 Hounds of Love album. In a video for a reworked version of the song before her 2016 live performances Bush spent three days submerged in a water-filled tank. This typical dedication to her craft led to Bush contracting mild hypothermia.
A spokesperson said: "Everyone agreed it added to the authenticity of the performance.” What do you think?
You can listen to The Hub's Dreams Spotify Playlist by clicking on the link below,