notnicolajames

In my dreams – one song, two feels


This blogpost has to be written mainly to get this song out of my head: “In my dreams” from the album “The Awakening” by James Morrison. What makes this song special is that Morrison recorded two versions, an acoustic one and an arrangement with a full band. The acoustic version makes me unbearably sad, while the other one is perfect to cheer me up on a Sunday morning.

This blogpost will tell two stories: one that brings me to tears, and one that cheers me up. Both are about the same song by James Morrison. “In my dreams” is about the hope to meet someone in your dreams. Without thinking about it much I’ve been listening to both versions. I even wrote a review about the album “The Awakening” without noticing that the acoustic version is so different from the ‘normal’ album track version.

One song, two versions

The acoustic version includes only Morrison’s voice and guitar. It’s an additional track on the U.S. release of “The Awakening”. You can also listen to it also here, or live. The full, cheerful arrangement is the first track on the Album “The Awakening” (available on all versions of the album). There’s a full band backing up Morrison’s voice and guitar.

Arrangement 1: a cheerful full version

Whenenver I hear the arrangement with a full band, I’m hopeful and happy. This version is track one and a great start to the album. It has a nice, nearly upbeat rhythm, lots backing vocals, a funky guitar, strings and even trumpets. I find myself cheerfully whistling along. All I hear is someone dreaming about a person, potentially someone they love.

But I keep waiting for the night
I close my eyes and hope you’ll find me sleeping

Coz, in my dreams
We can spend a little just talking
In my dreams
We’re side by side just walking

This is the version available on all forms (normal and deluxe) and international releases of the album. Its ending leads nicely into the next, very positive song, “6 weeks”.

Arrangement 2: Acoustic version

The acoustic version is not on all albums and you have to look out for it. On this version you only hear Morrison’s husky, soulful voice and a guitar. I found myself getting really sad when listening to it. It’s still the same song, and it’s not. The minimal arrangement allows you to feel the sadness in Morrison’s voice. Leaving out all the other instruments also distracts less from the lyrics:

Since you’ve gone
Nothing seems to fit no more
Nothing’s as it was before

And everyday
It’s a battle that I just can’t win
I know I won’t see you again

But I keep waiting for the night
I close my eyes and hope you’ll find me sleeping

In this version, “In my dreams” is about the desperate hope to meet someone you lost in your dreams again. It’s not about wanting to do a magic trick, and suddenly the person is alive again. The wish is much more modest – you just want to spend a little time with the person again, just a few minutes doing everyday things like talking to each other or going for a walk.

Coz, in my dreams
We can spend a little just talking
In my dreams
We’re side by side just walking

Over the fields that we used to know
The places we used to go
Are still there
In my dreams

But you can’t decide what to dream before you go to sleep. You can only hope to be lucky and see that person again if you think about them before you close your eyes.

Why this song touches me

When I listen to the acoustic version it reminds me of someone I lost many years ago. A few weeks after I heard my friend died in a car crash I had a wonderful dream: I’m camping in a forest, and suddenly my friend appears again. He walks out from behind some trees, and tells me that he didn’t actually die. He rather wanted a complete change in his life and decide to fake his death. Then he hugged me and told me that he couldn’t bear leaving me without saying good-bye.

When I woke up I was in tears the second I realized it was just a dream. But it was also comforting. For a long time back then I hoped to have a similar dream, but he never came back.

James Morrison sings about this kind of pain: “I hope someday this pain. I feel will fade away. Till then I’ll wait.”

James Morrison about the song: “I can hardly hear it”

“I can hardly hear it because it affects me that much – I don’t know how I’m going to perform it. I was writing with Dan Wilson, and he asked me what I was feeling at the time. I told him that my dad had recently died and I was hoping he would come into my dreams, but he still hadn’t.

And Dan said, “I think you should tap into that”, and as soon as we had the title ‘In My Dreams’ I just got a guitar and it all came out.” (This quote is from his webpage; on youtube you can see him tell the full story of the song.)

You’re gone too soon
I know I’ll never get the chance
To say the things I never said

Listen to the two versions, including the video about Morrison’s own interpretation, on my youtube channel.

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3 thoughts on “In my dreams – one song, two feels

  1. ddegroodt on said:

    Hello, thank you so much for your reply. I actually hadn’t heard this song of James before and you are totally right. It’s quite amazing to see what different emotions you can experience when you hear a song in two different versions. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  2. Lefty on said:

    It’s impossible for me to listen to this song without shedding a tear. One of the most profound tunes ever!

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