"California Dreamer" as written by and Dan Boeckner Hadji Bakara....
California dreamer
Tell me why did you go
I carved your ever fading figure
In to the ever dying snow

I'll be around, I'll be around, I'll be around
Like a teenager in town
Where all the other young lovers are found

[Chorus]
And I think I might have heard you on the radio
But the radio waves were like snow

And you were dreaming of Los Angeles
While I was singing songs you wrote
You quietly gave away the winter clothes I made for you
While I made angels in the snow

And I would have looked if you'd just asked me to
Or come to me before the preacher
Now you're a survivor

[Chorus: x2]

Until the young stay pretty, 'till the pretty stay quick
You know, but you never surrender
The city doesn't belong to you anymore
California dreamer

You dream of seasons that never die
You go to oceans that never touch the ice
You dream of seasons that never die
You go to oceans that never touch the ice
You dream of seasons that never die
You go to oceans that never touch the ice
Of my singing summer creatures
Stay forever and ever

[Chorus: x2]

Until the young stay pretty, 'till the pretty stay quick
You know, but you never surrender
The city doesn't belong to you anymore
California dreamer

I'll be around, I'll be around, I'll be around
Like a teenager in town
With all the other young lovers their mothers may have found
California dreamer


Lyrics submitted by omegadaxer

"California Dreamer" as written by Dan Boeckner Arlen Thompson

Lyrics © THIRD SIDE MUSIC INC.

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California Dreamer song meanings
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13 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentListen to the song "California Dreaming" by The Mamas and the Papas. This song is about the singer of that song. Spencer makes constant allusions to its lyrics.
    omegadaxeron May 03, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commentomegadaxer's right. Here's what Spencer said about the song:
    "It’s based on the song “California Dreaming” [by the Mamas & the Papas]. He says a line about halfway through the song that makes you realize there’s a woman involved. The line is “If I didn’t tell her / I could leave today.” He hadn’t mentioned anything about the lover until halfway through the song, and I just think it’s really cool for that. I wrote [this] song from the point of view of the woman he left behind. "
    cigon September 12, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentit's about a lover who goes to california (los angeles) to pursue dreams of a music career, leaving the singer behind in the city with nothing but her songs on the radio to cling to
    moreproductiveon May 12, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Do the young stay pretty? do they pretty stay quick?
    You know, but you never surrender"

    It's not "until"... It's a question with an answer that "you know"
    mmilianon May 15, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThanks for pointing that out. Changed.
    omegadaxeron May 15, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFor the sake of making this easier to read, the boy will be the person who is speaking, and the girl will be the one who left, not being sexist just trying to make this easier to understand.

    Anyways the girl left the boy, he was faithful and loved her but she left anyways. Not to be an actress, or even to move to California, I think that Krug is trying to convey the behavior of the girl by using the California state of mind metaphor. She doesn't want to stay with him, maybe she is afraid of commitment and wants to live her life without putting any effort, she wants everything to be easy. The boy was a faithful lover but gets torn apart by the girl because he feels she left him in order to escape the responsibility that comes with being in a serious relationship.

    Also I believe the boy is almost politely vilifying the girl. He's telling her she won't find any true happiness because she left their relationship in a hurtful and dishonest way, and will repeat the same mistakes over and over, living without being honest to herself or future lovers.

    The girl is obsessive over youth and living it up, and uses this to convince herself out of committing herself into a meaningful relationship just because the growing relationship won't always be easy. This really hurts the boy because he realizes that he was practically used in the relationship, a boyfriend when she wanted one, and thrown away when not needed.

    "Do the young stay pretty, do the pretty stay quick?
    You know, but you never surrender
    The city doesn't belong to you anymore
    California dreamer
    I'll be around, I'll be around, I'll be around
    Like a teenager in town
    With all the other young lovers their mothers may have found
    California dreamer "
    to me this is the most important part of the song when defining its meaning. The boy is asking questions as a way of stating answers. "You won't always be young, and you won't always have your looks, I was with you for genuine reasons and some day you will realize that. And it will be painful because you threw away our relationship for the idea that you could live out some sense of youth that doesn't truly exist, and if it did...that feeling will have been long gone by the time you realize what you have wasted. So she may think she's in control, but she does not own the city, and the city will eventually break her. The boy knows this, but it doesn't comfort him, that's why he doesn't call her out on it. After all at one point and time they were lovers so he chooses to respect that.

    For me the simple meaning of the song is "I respect the relationship we once had but live your life with the mistakes you have made and I will live mine missing the old you."
    MilkyBreathon July 01, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFirst, I think the line is 'I'd have left if you just asked me to'. To me, that makes more sense. Also, I feel like the line "I think I might have heard you on the radio But the radio waves were like snow" is a dig at the girl, like she left because she felt her only chance to be successful was to move to CA, and now he's saying, "hey, you made it, but it doesn't really matter, because I'm not listening anyway."
    jules818on July 09, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentim pretty sure that "Of my singing summer creatures
    Stay forever and ever" is wrong
    to me it sounds like he's saying " Surrender the city to splendor The creatures get younger and younger"

    also it should be "and i would have left if you just asked me too", not looked

    great song
    Sunset Rubdownon July 14, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThanks for pointing out the revisions, guys. I've made the appropriate changes.
    omegadaxeron July 30, 2008   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningThe song is about a guy who loves a girl. The girl leaves to pursue a singing career in L.A, while the guy stays in their hometown.

    "And I think I might have heard you on the radio. But the radio waves were like snow" alludes to his opinion that her fame and fortune from singing will fade just like her figure in the dying snow mentioned in the opening lines.

    The guy is still in his hometown "singing songs you wrote" and making "angels in the snow," but she has left him behind and thrown away the "winter clothes I made for you."

    The song does reference the classic song California Dreaming a few times. Spencer states "I would have left if you'd just asked me to or come to me before the preacher." In California Dreaming, the protagonist is stuck in a similar romantic position, but his local preacher "likes the cold; he knows I'm gonna stay (in the hometown)."

    Spencer questions the vapidness of Hollywood, mockingly asking "do the young stay pretty, do the pretty stay quick?" and opining that "the creatures get younger and younger," i.e. stars just get replaced by younger, prettier stars when they pass their use by date. Never-the-less, Spencer tells his California Dreamer lover that "I'll be around, I'll be around, I'll be around, like a teenager in town."
    raphon January 15, 2009   Link

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