"Dreams So Real" as written by and James Shaw Emily Haines....
When I get to the bottom of it I sink
Seems like nothing I said
Ever meant anything
But a headline over my head
Thought I made a stand
Only made a scene
There's no feast for the underfed
All the unknown, dying or dead
Keep showing up in my dreams
They stand at the end of my bed
Have I ever really helped anybody but myself,
To believe in the power of songs
To believe in the power of girls
Though the point we're making is gone
Played stripped down to my bone

I'll shut up and carry on
The scream becomes a yawn
I'll shut up and carry on
The scream becomes a yawn
I'll shut up and carry on
The scream becomes a yawn
I'll shut up and carry on
The scream becomes a yawn
I'll shut up and carry on
The scream becomes a yawn
I'll shut up and carry on
The scream becomes a yawn

Our parents, daughters, and sons
Believed in the power of songs
What if those days are gone
My memory is strong
Anyone not dying is dead
And baby it won't be long
So shut up and carry on
The scream becomes a yawn

I'll shut up and carry on
The scream becomes a yawn
I'll shut up and carry on
The scream becomes a yawn
I'll shut up and carry on
The scream becomes a yawn
I'll shut up and carry on
The scream becomes a yawn

Baby wherever you are, baby whatever you do
Faster than you think, time staggers on


Lyrics submitted by dustybreeze

"Dreams So Real" as written by James Shaw Emily Haines

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Dreams So Real song meanings
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  • +5
    My InterpretationAs usual, Emily Haines is the voice of Gen X. Several of Metric's songs are about being trapped in between two generations older and younger than us with the sense that we have no real control over the culture, and no culture of our own other than remix culture. (See: Dead Disco.)

    This song is an expression of that depression. Emily tried to "make a stand" but only "made a scene." Nothing she did was meaningful. Nothing we do is meaningful. We might as well give up, sit back, and let the kids take over.

    Here's the core:

    Our parents, daughters and sons << Notice: not just our parents
    Believed in the power of songs
    What if those days are gone? << Just for us, kids, not for you. Also, we hate you because we suck.

    My memory is strong
    Anyone not dying is dead << isn't that a comforting thought.
    And baby it won't be long << pretty soon we'll just leave the planet to the next generation
    So shut up and carry on << might as well get resigned to living out our days
    The scream becomes a yawn << we tried to make a mark when we were younger and failed

    Emily Haines is 37, and from personal experience, I can tell you, being 37 in 2012 sucks.
    screaminglyon June 13, 2012   Link
  • +3
    My InterpretationI disagree with screamingly. It's not about kids being better than us, it's about all of us (and maybe especially the kids) ignoring reality, forgetting the past, not living up to (or fighting for) the dreams we once had.

    "When I get to the bottom of it I sink
    Seems like nothing I said
    Ever meant anything
    But a headline over my head
    Thought I made a stand
    Only made a scene
    There's no feast for the underfed
    All the unknown, dying or dead
    Keep showing up in my dreams
    They stand at the end of my bed
    Have I ever really helped anybody but myself"
    She dreamed about her fans, people who listened to her music, and wonders if she's ever helped anyone (any of the unknown fans, alive or gone). Wonders if she made a difference, if her songs had any power at all, and she sinks (depression) with the possible/probable answer.

    "Our parents, daughters, and sons
    Believed in the power of songs
    What if those days are gone
    My memory is strong
    Anyone not dying is dead
    And baby it won't be long
    So shut up and carry on
    The scream becomes a yawn"

    Generations (ours and our parent's) believed in protest songs, in asking the right questions, but these days seem to be gone. The memory remains, but that might be it, just a memory. Have we become too lazy and tired to keep screaming?

    Might as well shut up and carry on, it all goes so fast anyway...
    MrFatPenguinon July 13, 2012   Link
  • +3
    My OpinionI think you both make good points so I just have a few things to add.

    I agree this is autobiographical. When she sang it live in London recently it was practically confessional. The atmosphere was electric.

    Note that she references this song in Artifical Nocturne: "I make all that I believe in dreams so real". Perhaps a reference to her creative process, perhaps also acknowledging her visionary outlook on life.

    "Dreams so real we wake up in them" is a poem by her father, which concludes "an awed woe stirring us so". This is a beautiful continuation of that theme.

    The line is "play it stripped down to my thing" not "played stripped down to my bone". She believes in the power of *girls*. And maybe we now know her preferred sleeping atire :-)

    "The scream becomes a yawn" is a classic Emily double meaning. On the one hand she fears that nobody is listening to her, it's as if she's opening her mouth but nothing is coming out...on the other, it's the middle of the night, and with fatigue her screams eventually mutate to yawns.

    MrPeteon July 24, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIts always hard to read the Emily's mind!

    She sing in such a secretive way!
    RBLILon December 18, 2014   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe song is about disillusionment. The languid beat, the weary lyrics, and the monotone quality of her voice are all indications of someone who's "accepted" the way of the world and is tired of making a change.

    It's a lesson every child eventually learns: the world isn't what we hoped it would be. We spend our youths being passionate and idealistic, but "Faster than you think, Time staggers on."
    gneon August 01, 2015   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI agree with screamingly, in that, it has to do with a loss of control. I wonder if it's more than a loss of control because of the generational position she's in.

    For me, this song speaks about social justice in general. My god, trying to discuss any kind of social justice whether it relates to poverty, sexuality, race, gender, disability, etc, it's just so damn tiring. The scream (passion and sincerity) become a yawn (burn-out, "nothing will ever change" mentality). I relate to this song so fully because of that.

    When I get, to the bottom of it I sink, seems like nothing I said ever meant anything (unless people want to understand, they don't.. and it's so depressing.. trying to bring a world together that so hates itself.. the feeling is perfectly described as sinking and no matter how thoroughly or respectfully you try to explain something, it seems like it just never meant anything to the person on the other side.)

    But a headline over my head (often times when trying to point out inequalities you get slandered "You're just jealous" "you need to work harder" "you're making things up!" etc, etc. We see it constantly in media)

    Thought I made a stand, only made a scene (you hope to explain, understand, and create change, but all you end up doing is having some asinine facebook argument that no one learns anything from in the end).

    There's no feast for the underfed (those in poverty don't actually gain anything from your simple statements)

    All the unknown dying or dead, keep showing up in my dreams, they stand at the end of my bed (again, whatever you do to try and help, you still can't help the millions of people out there facing inequity).

    Have I ever really helped anybody but myself, to believe in the power of songs, to believe in the power of girls? (Maybe my statements and assertions don't effect anyone but me. Maybe, no matter what I say, no one hears it, I'm just teaching myself by becoming educated enough to disagree with the dominant discourse over time with research. Maybe no one but me is learning from any of this.)

    Thought the point we're making is strong, play it stripped down to my bones (strong point, completely vulnerable)

    I'll shut up and carry on, the scream becomes a yawn (I'm done trying, I'm so passionate,but so damn tired. My scream is now a yawn. I can't keep explaining the same shit over and over.)

    I don't know if that's what this song is meant to portray, but my god does it fit perfectly.
    creeperconon September 05, 2014   Link
  • 0
    My OpinionThe thing I love so much about a lot of music is that the artist might have written it with one meaning in mind and then watched it grow to mean many different things to many different people. No one needs be wrong when everyone can find meaning for themselves and all be right. I think so far everyone has good points and it's probably a mix of everything. I think Screamingly got it pretty right... The only thing I have to add (which may have already have been said but I didn't read every single comment) is about the line "The scream becomes a yawn," ... I picture it as how some people used to express how boring something is by calling it a Yawn. In this song her persistent scream, cry, voice, has become a yawn, bore, old news, in the ears of others.
    Maven452on January 28, 2016   Link

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