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Some people here have remarked on how good Side One of Dreamers Are Waiting is — so much so that they have held off on immersing themselves fully in Side Two.

On a first listen, I certainly found tracks 7-12 less compelling than 1-6.  Although I quite liked Start of Something and Real Life Woman on first listen, I generally found the backend of the album far less interesting or adventurous.  The long sequence of mid-tempo songs didn’t help.

Over time, though, I’ve found much to marvel at on Side 2.  I can’t stop playing Goodnight Everyone, Start of Something and Love Isn’t Hard at All.  These are all massive growers.  I love the mixture of joy and unease in the first two, and what Elroy has done to the last with his drums is the most percussively adventurous thing I’ve heard from a Crowded House song since Together Alone.

One that hasn’t grown for me is Real Life Woman.  What hooked me on the first listen now sounds too mannered to my ears.  A Song about Stevie Nicks — if that’s indeed what it is — feels a little too much like those FB or Instagram photos featuring the account owner posing with their arm around a celebrity.  And the lyrics, for all that they try to humanize their subject, come across after repeated listens as more than a wee bit trite.

I want to like Too Good For This World.  Part of me likes its hobo shuffle feel.  But I can’t help but feel that it belongs more to the more earnest Everyone Is Here-era Finn Bros oeuvre.  For me it doesn’t quite fit the more dreamy ambiance of this album.

And Deeper Down still feels like an anticlimax as the album closer.  It says something, perhaps, that it’s the only song on the album whose tune I can’t recall.

I’m curious to hear what others make of Side Two.  Right now, for me, there are three pearls on it that are up there with the best of CH’s album tracks.  That’s a pretty extraordinary strike rate.  But on my Spotify playlist version of the album, I’m dropping the three others and replacing them with Here’s a Note from the Time On Earth offcuts.  That’s a song I’d love to hear Neil do with the new line-up, especially given its lyrics about passing on the “note” of his music, presumably to a younger generation.

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I have to say your three Side B favs are mine, too. Liam and Elroy are great additions to the band and their songs are true highlights on Dreamers.  I do like Too Good for the World, too.  I’m happy for its  inclusion although I concede your point.  Deeper Down is an ear worm.  Right now, I’m not sure it’s wanted.  Real Life Woman might just be the skipped song of this collection. I hope this song is not about Stevie.  It seems too early in the new Fleetwood Mac relationship for Neil to be writing about Stevie.  

With that said, I love the modern sound  of this album while keeping classical songwriting traits.  I’m really enjoying the bridges on this album. I’m trying to not listen to this album too much and let it just percolate in my sub-conscious, instead of it boiling it down.  My vinyl copy arrived today and I’m excited to hear any differences in comparison to the CD and digital versions.  

It’s fun to have a Crowded House album to discuss when it’s this good.  I’m honestly surprised.

Side 2 is actually my preference. Side 1 has the only track I really don’t care for (Playing With Fire) and the other singles, while good are among my least favorite on the album. Although Sweet Tooth does have the best Crowded House guitar solo in forever, and Bad Times Good is on my shortlist for the album’s best tracks.

Too Good might actually be my favorite track. I love the Louis L’Amour storytelling aspect...and the “hobo shuffle” as Watney so aptly puts it, is in keeping with the other Western-inspired tunes before and after it. The chorus is fantastic, especially the “these little...” parts which may be the prettiest moments on the album.

Start of Something is a great pop song and gorgeously arranged, an album highlight and belongs on a future “best of” compilation. Haven’t listened to Real Life Woman as much as the others. Love Isn’t Hard at All is just fun and sunny and energetic with a bonus side of Tetris... overall I’m getting comfortable saying this is a very good album, and my favorite thing of Neil’s since 2007. It really is a “revitalization” and while it’s not a masterpiece like Woodface or Together Alone, I’m convinced the next one very well could be.

Last edited by slowpogo

I have a huge problem with Start of Something. When I first heard it, the verse - those harmonies, the melody, that guitar sound and the guitar playing - I thought 'well, here we do indeed appear to have a perfect song'. I got really excited.

Then I heard the chorus.

And I really didn't like it. I think the chorus sounds like a Bryan Adams song or something a boy band might come up with, it's so saccharine. Sorry to all those who love the song!

I felt really disappointed and now skip that track each time.

Last edited by Welsh Dan

I love Start of Something because it challenges the common idea that a breakup is a "failed relationship." So anything that doesn't end in marriage is a failure? I think that's a terrible perspective. Relationships are stepping stones and while ending them is hard, you leave them a grown person, ready to start something hopefully better.

That's why the lines "and though they tell you it's the end.... it's the start of something" really hit home to me. I think of "saccharine" as being all sweetness and no substance but this song really resonates with me. Like the best pop songs it manages to traffic in common tropes while also elevating and transcending them.

Last edited by slowpogo

I’m totally with slowpogo on this one.  The lyrics of the chorus of Start of Something really hit home for me.  And I love how the lyrics’ refusal of conventional wisdom about the end of relationships is matched by the musical arrangement’s unexpected deviations from earlier melodic lines, which don’t end where you expect them but instead abruptly soar higher and higher.  This song doesn’t just *tell* of endings being new beginnings; it also makes you *feel* that.  

i also love what slowpogo calls the Calexico feel of the song, which to my ears also sounds rather Pasifika.  As does the instrumentation of Goodnight Everyone and Show Me the Way.  Despite Mitchell Froom’s presence, these songs have echoes of the “South Pacific Gothic” sound Neil created in Kare Kare and Help Is Coming, back in the days when Mark’s steel string evoked the style of the Pasifika maestro Bill Sevesi.  Of course, it’s now a different time, and they are a different band.  But I’m glad that Neil and Mitchell haven’t turned their backs entirely on the Hart era, as the inclusion in their live sets of six songs from Together Alone makes clear.

I actually forgot how incredible Blue Rodeo are...unreal song writing and moving songs. I put them in line with Neil’s work in a lot of ways. And totally unsung hero’s of the music industry. Both bands really good but didn’t “make it” as much as they should have in the States. But who cares...we know how incredible they are....

I must say that Dreamers Are Waiting, particularly Side Two, also reminds me just a little of Camper Van Beethoven’s 2011 La Costa Perdida album.  Similar Calexico flavours, dream-like ambiance, Beach Boys harmonies interrupting genuinely weird arrangements, and band members listening to each other with joy and admiration.  Of course the similarity mightn’t strike one at first given that CVB’s lead singer, David Lowery, has a voice that sounds a little like a ship horn in a San Francisco harbour fog.  Play the two albums in tandem, though, and they complement each other nicely.

Last edited by Watney Sideburns

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