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Thursday, February 16, 2012

"In Dreams"

Roy Orbison - In Dreams (1963)

"'Candy-Colored Clown'? Yeah right." -J. Constantine

Really oddly constructed song. Hard to believe it was a success in 1963. Such an avant-garde construction in a time we perceive as being very straight ahead and conservative musically. To put it in perspective, The Beatles had only put out two singles and their first album was a month away when this song hit the charts. Songs went verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus; or some slight variation. For a song to be a long form poem, without a lot of structure, and no discernible chorus and yet to be a top ten hit is astounding for the time. Each section is different, some have very little accompaniment, others have lush string backing. Some sections are only two lines long, and others are eight.

Another thing that makes this song so different is Orbison's vocals. The man had a killer baritone voice. But he often stretched himself on tracks and this one is no exception. He would sing in an almost falsetto which made his vocals sound plaintive and unlike anything else on the dial. When he wakes up all alone after dreaming of her and he hits those last notes, you can feel his pain. /And I'll be happy in my dreams/Only in dreams/In beautiful dreams/

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