Single Review: Heart “These Dreams”

These Dreams
Album: Heart
Year: 1985

Nancy Wilson contemplates her dreams’ meaning in the comfortless ballad, “These Dreams.”

Her dreams take place in the middle of the night. She can barely see and asks some random people and/or objects to give her some light. She make out some people walking past the trees, wearing linen clothing. She can smell the scent of her favorite perfume on her arm and view the round, white full moon above her in the sky. (“Spare a little candle/Save some light for me/Figures up ahead/Moving in the trees/White skin in linen/Perfume on my wrist/And the full moon that hangs over/These dreams in the mist”).

The further she walks, the bleaker it gets. Shadows accompany her as she attempts to find out how long she’s been stuck in the nightmarish wonderland. However, her watch reveals that time doesn’t exist. She sees a formless person and asks for them to guide her. (“Darkness on the edge/Shadows where I stand/I search for the time/On a watch with no hands/I want to see you clearly/Come closer than this/But all I remember/Are the dreams in the mist”).

In the chorus, Nancy reveals that the dreams to continue. She’s another person, searching for who she really is. When she is awake, she pushes her dreams away. In her dreams, she can be the person she wishes to be and yearns to be sleeping. (“These dreams go on when I close my eyes/Every second of the night I live another life/These dreams that sleep when it’s cold outside/Every moment I’m awake the further I’m away”).

She wonders if she is walking into a hidden secret of hers or through a normal season. She’s a ghost as she steps into a church. The candle is flickering, leaving her with little light. As she talks, the words cannot be heard and take another metaphorical shape. (“Is it cloak ‘n’ dagger/Could it be spring or fall/I walk without a cut/Through a stained glass wall/Weaker in my eyesight/The candle in my grip/And words that have no form/Are falling from my lips”).

In the bridge, she is drawn to the energy of surreal place she’s in. It provides her answers to her anxiety about the life she lives when she’s awake. (“There’s something out there/I can’t resist/I need to hide away from the pain/There’s something out there/I can’t resist”).

The quiet is welcoming and relaxing. As she walks, she notices she’s elevated a bit above the ground. Her feet do not touch the grass or mud in her path. She’s reached the fairytale section of her subconcious. There are man, like trees, standing and waiting. All she has to do is choose one with a kiss and he will be freed from the earth. However, the men are faceless, leading her to pick a man based on instincts. (“The sweetest song is silence/That I’ve ever heard/Funny how your feet/In dreams never touch the earth/In a wood full of princes/Freedom is a kiss/But the prince hides his face/From dreams in the mist”).

Brilliantly written by Bernie Taupin (Elton John’s many singles), “These Dreams” is approriately surreal and open-ended. The only clear theme is searching. In each of the verses, Nancy Wilson is trying to find something and she doesn’t quite reach it. While the single feels like a lullaby, it’s not due to the recurring theme.

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