Now here you go again You say you want your freedom Well, who am I to keep you down It's only right that you should Play the way you feel it But listen carefully to the sound Of your loneliness Like a heartbeat...drives you mad In the stillness of remembering what you had And what you lost... And what you had... And what you lost Thunder only happens when it's raining Players only love you when they're playing Say...women...they will come and they will go When the rain washes you clean...you'll know You'll know Now here I go again, I see the crystal visions I keep my visions to myself It's only me Who wants to wrap around your dreams and... Have you any dreams you'd like to sell? Dreams of loneliness... Like a heartbeat...drives you mad In the stillness of remembering what you had And what you lost... And what you had... Oooh, what you lost Thunder only happens when it's raining Players only love you when they're playing Women...they will come and they will go When the rain washes you clean...you'll know Oh, thunder only happens when it's raining Players only love you when they're playing Say...women...they will come and they will go When the rain washes you clean...you'll know You'll know You will know Oh, you'll know
Live versions appear on "Live" (1980),"The Dance" (1997) and "Live in Boston" (2004)
Rough outtake version appears on the "Rumours" Reissue (2004)
The first lines probably puzzled Lindsey as much as they puzzle us - he didn't want "freedom" from their relationship - at least not the kind of freedom that means breaking up! However, Stevie might have been speaking figuratively in that she felt there were other things more important than her in his life. So she didn't want to leave, but she felt she had to (see Street Angel). But she has her own share of bitterness in that she wants Lindsey to realize that his skewed priorities are going to make him lonely, make him regret what he lost. She expresses a similar thought in Silver Springs, which was written about the same time.
I love the chorus - "thunder only happens when it's raining." I think this means that despite the problems and the rain, it was worth it for the "thunder." But was Lindsey only a "player" with women? He was literally a guitar player, and I've always wondered whether Stevie felt insecure because she was the only member of FM who didn't play an instrument (she could technically play instruments, of course, but everybody else could play them better!) Maybe she's not a "player," but she'll love him even when he's not "playing." Still, it works in the other sense too - if she felt Lindsey wasn't serious enough about their love, that he was taking her for granted. As for the second verse, I really have no idea what she means. "Crystal visions"? Maybe the "dreams" are the dreams of love, and Lindsey wants to "sell" them for musical success? Just guessing - those lyrics are pretty enigmatic. But I still love the song!
"You may not be as strong as me
And I may not care to teach you
It may be hard to keep up with me
But I'll always be able to reach you
And if you go forward (if you go forward)
I'll meet you there"
I think Dreams is a rebellion to everything from the beginning of the song Frozen Love. She is not as strong as Lindsey, she feels that Lindsey wants to control her, (And I may not care to teach you), but she knows that he will always be able to call out for her and she will come running (see Without You the best song about love ever!). That lack of independence while being completely attached to him I think became too much for her in their relationship. It was all about competition.
Only in this song she tries to disguise that fact. She says, "You say you want your freedom" which he did mention in songs before the Rumours album, (Blue Letter, Monday Morning, Don't Let Me Down Again) even though they were all written in with a desire to make it all work. She says, "It's only right that you should, Play the way you feel it" which sounds like she is just letting him go because that's where he wanted to be (ignoring that he wants to make it work).
But really, the song is rife with her own anger. She reminds him of the dream that he lost when he lost her by saying he never let her participate. I think that "Thunder only happens when it's raining" and "players only love you when they're playing" are saying that without her really participating or "playing" there could be no spark or "thunder" in their love. So she's saying that he kept her from truly loving her (aka Silver Springs). Which to some extent was probably right. But I think she knew by leaving him first she would have the one up on him in his life without her in a way she never did in her life with him and this song serves to remind him of that.
This is my favorite Stevie song ever, but that is probably just because it was my "first"!
This song is about Stevie's insight into what was inevitably bound to happen to her and Lindsey. She knew they were headed for a fall before he did, and he seems to resent her predictions.
The thing about this song that confuses people, and me too, for a number of years, is that Stevie often changes the speaker in her songs without telling you. You have to figure out if she the one speaking, or if she is being spoken to. I think the first lines of "Dreams" are not her words to Lindsey, but his to her. They have both said that their breakup was not a clean, quick one. It was drawn out for a while. There were ups and downs while "Rumours" was being recorded, and times when they were, according to Lindsey in Rolling Stone, "still sleeping together", followed by periods where they "were officially something else". This on-again off-again period was most likely when such a conversation occured between them. Stevie probably broached the subject of this looming problem only to have him say, "Now here you go again, saying you want your freedom.... Well, who am I to keep you down? I'm just the guy in your life, afterall."
Then, on the next line she switches to her own words, and says "It's only right that you should play it the way you feel it," saying she understands why his frustration comes out in his playing and writing, see "Go Your Own Way". She knows this is hard for him to understand, and it seems Stevie really tried to find a way for them to balance their ambitions and their passion, but in the end, she knows deep down that unless one of them is willing to let the other have the upper hand once in a while, this love just isn't going to survive. She knows they are both too driven to allow any compromises, and that there isn't going to be enough give and take. Her knowledge of this is what gives this song it's whole heartbreaking undertone.
She knows this, and has always said, "Lindsey and I didn't break up because we didn't love each other, we broke up because working together left us no place to go". What she means is that they really needed to spend some time apart because they were smothering each other. She wanted to grow, both creativley and emotionally. She wanted to see how far her talent could take her, and she felt he was stifling her growth as an artist, thus, keeping her "down". Who could blame her? She wanted to be successful on her own terms. She also wanted him to grow as well. Stevie was the caretaker in their relationship, and she never tires of talking about how she took care of him, but she also had the maturity to see she wasn't doing him any favors........she was enabling him to stay an emotional infant, so I see her leaving him as an act of love, pushing him out of the nest so to speak! She wanted him to learn to be more independent and self-assured. Instead, as we all know, he stood at pretty much an emotional standstill for ten years. He pouted, he threw fits, he sabotoged her creativley by not allowing certain songs on records, he wrote incredibly inane songs about her just to embarrass her, made fun of her on stage, only got involved with women who were willing to let him call all the shots, and in other words, he acted like a big, insecure baby, which is entirely the opposite of what she wanted for him! Arrgh!!
Stevie waited alot of years for "the rain to wash (him) clean", because he wouldn't let the cleansing take place. He was too headstrong and stubborn. His song "Surrender the Rain" could be an answer to her finally so many years later......he sees, at last, in that song that he has to stop the obsessive behavior and get over himself, but sadly, he feels he has missed his chance to make things right, "it won't come again", but he is ready to surrender to the process of emotional cleansing. He knows the time has come to wash himself clean of his insecurities.
Since Stevie wrote "Dreams" at a time when their major break was still fresh, she has left the door open for him to return IF, and only if, he can see he can't treat her like his personal property anymore. Jealousy and possessiveness were threatening to consume him during their rise to fame. Stevie tried to warn him, tried to tell him it was only going to drive her away, and perhaps when she tried to tell him this was going to happen, she was met with a comment like, "Oh, so now you can tell the future? Keep your premonitions to yourself! I know what is best me!" I can see Lindsey saying things along that line to her because he is being defensive. So she learned to "keep (her)my visions to (her)myself" never telling him anymore because he just got mad.
Still she knows the kind of effect she has on him.....she knows she is embedded so deep in his sense of himself, she is "wrapped around" his dreams and his heartbeat, and that he will think of her and miss her once his anger cools. It will drive him mad, she is sure! Oh, we have the first precursor to "Go Insane" here, don't we? lol!! She also knows that when they are on stage, and he is playing, that he will love her again, even if only for as long as the song lasts......but in that golden time, he is hers again, despite the fact that he may have other women in his life. They will merely "come and go" but they won't have the affect on him she does. This is true to this very day!
The part about "have you any dreams you'd like to sell" has got to be something he said to her to be hurtful. I think it refers back to him not really being all that enthusiastic about joining FM. He is accusing her of selling them out, and hence their dreams and their love, for fame. He feels she traded him for fame. I wouldn't be surprised if Lindsey actually put Stevie in that position during one of their arguments about their relationship. He may have said, "Choose, Stevie....me, or your career...right here, right now, I want you to choose." This could have been the big fight at the condo in Saulsilito where she said "Fine! You take the car and all the stuff! I'm flying back!" Well, we know what she chose.
I feel that maybe by doing something like that to Stevie, and then not being the option she chose, this set up alot of his behavior cycle we witnessed through the next period of years. He felt rejected and trampled upon and even more insecure......except......when he was on stage with her. Of course, he later came to see that it was wrong to do that to her, and this could be the "memory of shame" he speaks about in "Surrender the Rain". He has regretted acting like that and forcing such a choice on her. He has definitely done a thing or two in public to Stevie he ought to be ashamed about! The thing that has always amazed me though, is that Stevie seems to have such a good sense of where that behaviour comes from in him. She makes excuses for him and defends him because she understands why he does the things he does! That is the love of soulmates, for sure!
Stevie says, on the "Making of Rumours" documentary the the thing that has always bothered Lindsey the most in his heart of hearts is whether or not they could have made it on their own.....should they have joined FM in the first place? Would they still be together if they hadn't? Should they have held fast to their dream? Did Stevie really sell their dream out? This song has incredible staying power, and it is as relevant to their relationship now as it has ever been! "Dreams" can only be described by using one of Lindsey's favorite words......... bittersweet.