Sunday, September 22, 2013

Song #361 of 9999 - Don't Dream, It's Over by Crowded House

Song #361 of 9999

Title: Don't Dream, It's Over
Artist: Crowded House
Year: 1986
Album: Crowded House

Have you ever loved someone so much despite glaring flaws that should have has you running for the door? That's how I feel about tonight's track, Crowded House's debut single "Don't Dream, It's Over." I suspect there are many others who feel the way I do about this song and perhaps they (like me) are unable to see the warts without careful analysis. Let's count the ways. 

First, there are problems that are really not the fault of the song or the performers—they're just symptoms of the time: the chorus-laden guitar, the penchant for 9th chords, the excessive reverb on the snare drum and, well, everything else. These are production relics from the 80s and are to be forgiven. Second, we have the actual guitar playing, particularly the use of harmonics, the slide and whammy bar. All of this wankery is presumably an attempt to create "dreaminess" but really, it's just excessive and distracting. Finally, we have the words. Oh, the words that come out of the mush-mouth of this song. A line like "my possessions are causing me suspicion but there's no proof" is an alliterative nightmare and stanzas such as "only the shadows ahead barely clearing the roof/get to know the feeling of liberation and relief " are virtually meaningless while lacking the grace of poetry that allows for such guff. 

And yet we listen and smile and laugh and we eat it up and come back for more. Why do we do it? Are we mad?! The answer is plain and simple. It's the voice. That voice is the pretty face of this song that we can't resist and we don't really care what nonsense it's spewing. Neil Finn's voice is nearly perfect in its clarity and earnestness and we can't help but drink it in. A few years later, when these boys finally shed their Split Enz skin for good and start writing ballads with lyrics that (nearly) live up to the quality of Finn's voice, we won't feel so foolish for falling this hard for this flawed but beautiful song. 

No comments:

Post a Comment