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Where Dreams Reign is available to preview, stream or download at nearly all major digital music outlets. Search by album or song title at any of these major digital partners:
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This song is a celebration of the beauty of creation, recognizing all of the bounty of nature as a sort of divine gift and expressing a desire to “give back” a little something—in this case, this song itself. The lyrical approach of cascading images from nature aims to combine aspects of Whitman’s Leaves of Grass and Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man.”
Most people firmly believe in an afterlife, that this world is a preface to something much greater. But even those of us who are most confident in this are nonetheless inclined to forget it. So this song is a sort of musical reminder and exhortation to live in light of eternity.
At the time of writing I had in mind certain specific events of World War II, but the song is generally about suffering in war and, even more broadly, the experience of the devastation of violence. This naturally brings sorrow and a sense of hopelessness but the proper human response is resolve to work for redemption, whatever form that might take.
This song is intentionally ambiguous, in one sense suggesting that some of our most pressing questions are actually self-answering and, in another sense, recognizing that some questions cannot be answered now but that we may still be confident that eventually, if only in the next world, the answers will come. The cryptic lyrics themselves are intended to prompt questions. The placement of this song immediately after “April 1944” is intentional.
This song is a narrated character development through three consecutive and unpromising romantic relationships that are ultimately distractions from reality. It is easy to become wrapped up in things that won’t last and to lie to oneself about them for any number of reasons. Keeping up with falsehood is tiring and thus, in a sense, makes a person “sleepy." The ultimate lesson to be learned here: upright moral character (in this case, integrity) is worth whatever exhausting process it takes to get there. In the end, by admitting to the reality of a situation, though one might still be “sick and tired,” at least they’re “not a liar anymore."
The album’s centerpiece, literally and thematically. Dreams are, of course, mind-dependent, purely mental phenomena. We believe that’s true of the entire cosmos, including all of our lives as human beings. All of what we call reality is the dream of God in the sense that it proceeds from and utterly depends on the divine consciousness. But this cosmic dream is real because God shares it with other minds. So we are all blessed to be a part of that divine dream, which is also reality, because God is reality.
As actors in the divine drama, we are all made to contribute to the ultimate beauty of the story. But more than this, each of us is made to realize our potential as children of God. To realize that potential is to be beautiful in an ultimate sense—something none of us come close to achieving in this world. But what if we did achieve ultimate beauty in that sense? That’s what this song ponders.
I had a friend many years ago who seemed constantly troubled and struggled with depression. His coping mechanisms were pessimism and a lot of dark humor, which was a turnoff to many people, but through this he also managed to connect with certain folks at a deep level and actually encourage them, and I was one of those people. This song is about that troubled but beautiful friend and others like him.
We are all destined for trouble, failure, and loss to some degree. That’s the human condition. It is best not to deny this fact but to acknowledge it and resolve to be gracious and generous to others in response. The more one is prepared to give to others, the less that can really be taken from them. Surrender is freedom, and generosity is a safeguard against loss.
Life will confuse you, abuse you, and toss your “bony frame” into a grave. This song details the fragile nature of humanity and the complexities of life itself. It also reveals that our responses to the bad things that happen are our own unique responsibilities. Despite outwardly "virtuous" behaviors, bitter hearts will land us in our own “white washed tombs.” The dark lyrical theme of this song contrasts with upbeat musical arrangement to highlight the paradox of life. It is intentionally situated between “All Fall Down” and “Farewell” to depict the ugly substance that follows human vice ultimately in the form of death and precedes the hopeful essence of a life to come “after the end”.
The specific concern in this song is the loss of a good friend—a loss that prompts reflection on many of the major themes in the album: sorrow, wonder, and hope for the next world—the final redemption and restoration of things that comes “after the end,” which is the culmination of this divine drama in which we are all acting.