Monday, 30 July 2007

Be Careful What You Dream

'I played poker with my health, earned and spent enormous wealth,
It only served to stunt my growth and keep me further from myself.
Some wounds don't heal, they remain to let you know
That you must be careful what you dream.'

Sounding crushed under the weight of years, this "Keep The Home Fires Burning" B-side has a lot more in common with that A-side than the 'comedy' likes of "Please Stop Talking" that it sits alongside. While "Home Fires" is betrayed by others and stinging with that pain, though, all of the damage in "Be Careful What You Dream" is self-inflicted, be it that of the narrator himself or of the girl that he watches from a distance for the first two verses.

It's pretty negative stuff lyrically from the title on down, especially the delightfully misanthropic 'So what if she made some friends? It counts for little in the end' of the second verse. It never gets depressing though, thanks to the blow being softened by both the lightness of touch in the simple, graceful music and the way that Mark approaches those lyrics. He's not exactly cold or dispassionate, but there's a certain detached distance he brings to the words of concern that's actually really reassuring. The sense given is that the friends are unimportant not because everyone sucks, but because her big city move is a minor learning process in a grand scheme that's going to turn out for the better. Even though the title's a piece of advice, the song is ultimately for letting people get on with life and find out for themselves. Which might be better advice still.

Thanks to the fine people of the official Bluetones forum (hi to any of you still reading this self-indulgent toss), I just found out that the Dylanesque tune is all but taken straight from, well, Bob Dylan's "Simple Twist Of Fate". Harmonica in particular. Which perhaps goes some way to explaining why such a pretty song was considered B-side material only.

mp3: Be Careful What You Dream
YouTube: Simple Twist Of Fate


Chris Brown said...

If I remember correctly, when 'Home Fires' came out I gravitated towards CD2 because it featured the B-side that was singled out for the casette format.

At the risk of a spoiler, I think I made the right choice for the wrong reason.

Iain F said...

Wow, cassette format! I don't have any of those, though I have all the CD singles from Are You Blue... onwards. I only started in 2000 so when I finally got the last one (Solomon Bites The Worm, I think) a couple of years later it was quite an achievement.

Chris Brown said...

I don't actually have any 'Tones on cassette (apart from an NME free tape with 'Driftwood' on it) but I foolishly assumed they'd choose the best B-side for the two-track format. Oh no.

Flicking through, I have at least one format of everything from 'Are You Blue...' to 'Never Going Nowhere' except '4-Day Weekend'. Then I bought 'My Neighbour's House' as a download and it sort of petered out there.

Anonymous said...