Fleetwood Mac, Dreams: inside the lyrics and their meaning

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Dreams is a song by Fleetwood Mac, released in 1977 as part of their 11th album Rumours. It was a big hit in the days, becoming number one in many countries. It was also ranked among the ten best songs of all time, in Rolling Stone’s 2021 list of 500 greatest songs. But the main reason why people listen to it nowadays is for another reason: Tiktok. Precisely a video from 2020, this one, that started a TikTok challenge active still today, reusing the sound of this song over and over while people go on a skateboard, drinking juice. The song is beautiful and the lyrics are full of meaning: let’s analyze it.

Below you can find the official video of the song.

Watch this video on YouTube.

Dreams: the meaning of the lyrics

Dreams is a song about a relationship that is going to end soon. The beauty of the song is revealed when you get to know the story behind it: Stevie Nicks, Fleetwood Mac’s singer, was in a long-time relationship with Lindsey Buckingham, the band’s guitarist, but the relationship was coming to an end. Stevie Nicks wrote Dreams all by herself, so it expresses her point of view on the end of the relationship. In the song, you can hear Lindsey’s guitar that seems to answer to every line sung by Stevie.

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

So Lindsey wants to leave her, and she cannot keep him against his will. But she suggests that he thinks about it very carefully. Because he may never find again a woman like her. And the feeling of loneliness could haunt him forever. This is expressed by the poetic image of the heartbeat that can drive him mad:

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

The chorus is sad and beautiful at the same time. It mentions thunders coming only when it rains, which could have many meanings: if rain is the fame, money, and success that came in their life as a band, the thunders could be the side effects of that in their personal life (maybe due to new girls attracting the guitarist?); or it could be an invitation to do an effort and overcome the tough moment of their relationship because rain and thunders are natural events that come from time to time. However, the first interpretation seems to fit best, because the following lines talk about a “player”, who could be the way Stevie calls Lindsey, an accusation to love her only as a game, as part of the role inside the music career. And women who come and go could be a reference to other girls Lindsey is attracted to.

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

The part of the song that mentions the dreams is particularly sad. Stevie says that she’s the only one who really wants to wrap around his dreams. She’s sincerely interested in what’s in Lindsey’s mind, differently from other women who might just want him for his fame and money. So she asks him: do you actually have dreams to sell? Meaning, do you have illusions to give away to others? The difference between the sincerity sung by Stevie and Lindsey’s distant, coldhearted spirit is clear in the song. And this verse ends with “dreams of loneliness”, reminding him again of what’s waiting for him.

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

Coming to the core of Dreams lyrics and their meaning, it’s a song about a girl who’s being left by her man. She still wishes things could be fixed, but she’s aware that they came to the end, thus she points out the difference between her, who wanted the relationship to work until the end, and her man, who seems driven by something else, probably attracted by someone else.

For those who are curious about how their life went after the breakup in 1977: Lindsey started immediately a long relationship with Carol Ann Harris, which lasted until 1984, whereas Stevie had many short relationships with The Eagles’ members Don Henley, Joe Walsh, and J.D. Souther. They both kept being part of Fleetwood Mac for a long time after their breakup, though.

Read other popular song lyrics meaning on Auralcrave

The complete lyrics

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

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

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
Oh, 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