December 13 — “Dreams”, as covered by Pure Bathing Culture, and also by The Kills

If you only listen to one song tonight, make it the cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” as done by Pure Bathing Culture. While you’re at it, also check out the cover of the same song by The Kills. The original was on the seminal Fleetwood Mac record Rumours (1976).

Fleetwood Mac is all the rage these days, and this year has brought two tributes to the band. In the summer, a big 17-song tribute compilation entitled Just Tell Me That You Want Me was released. It featured a number of This is That Song favorites like Lykke Li, Best Coast, New Pornographers, St. Vincent and many others. Mostly indie rock acts covering a wide range of Fleetwood Mac songs. This autumn, Mojo magazine curated a tribute to Rumours, with eleven different artists, each covering one of the songs from the album. They gave this as their “free CD” with the magazine that month.

The Rumours Revisited tribute also has a few This is That Song favorites. Slaraffenland doing “Never Going Back Again”. The Besnard Lakes doing a stellar cover of “You Make Loving Fun”, and Julia Holter doing “Gold Dust Woman”. What surprised me, though, is how good some of the others are. The ones by bands that I don’t already like.

Rumours is a fantastic album, and most people probably don’t even realize that they know almost every song on the album. For me, the album came out when I was a kid, and “Dreams” was one of the first songs that I can remember knowing the words to. Or at least to the chorus. I have some pretty cool memories of being a little kid and doing little kid stuff with “Dreams” as the soundtrack. I can’t decide if “Dreams” is my favorite song on Rumours, but it’s definitely in the top three (with “You Make Loving Fun” and “Go Your Own Way”).

On Rumours Revisited, there’s no doubt in my mind that Besnard Lakes’ cover of “You Make Loving Fun” is my favorite. A very close second is “Dreams”, as covered by Pure Bathing Culture.

Pure Bathing Culture is a terrible name for a pretty good Portland, Oregon-based dream-pop band that I’d never heard of until I got my grubby mitts on a copy of the compilation. After enjoying their “Dreams”, I bought their self-titled 2012 EP, which is almost as enjoyable as “Dreams”.

We’re not here for their EP, though. We’re here for “Dreams”.

“Dreams”, as covered by Pure Bathing Culture

Pure Bathing Culture

I like how they tried to be somewhat faithful to the original song. They didn’t go too heavy on the dream-pop stuff. This girl singing isn’t Stevie Nicks, but nobody is. This guy playing guitar isn’t Lindsey Buckingham, but nobody is.
Actually, for a long time, I assumed that in the original version, there was a pedal steel, or at the very least, a guitar played with a slide. No. I thought wrong. All that crazy stuff with the guitar is some effects pedal Buckingham was using. Some sort of modulation thing. It’s pretty amazing. The song was apparently written by Nicks in about 10 minutes, but Buckingham made some alterations to it before it was done. The entire album was written while the band was in turmoil. John and Christine McVie were separating. Nicks and Buckingham were ending their eight-year relationship. Things were really tense, and this song sort of plays on that tension. The lyrics from the first half of the song:

Now here you go again, you say
You want your freedom
Well who am I to keep you down
It’s only right that you should
Play the way you feel it
But listen carefully to the sound
Of your loneliness
Like a heartbeat drives you mad
In the stillness of remembering what you had
And what you lost, and what you had, and what you lost

Thunder only happens when it’s raining
Players only love you when they’re playing
Say women they will come and they will go
When the rain washes you clean, you’ll know, you’ll know

Now here I go again, I see the crystal visions
I keep my visions to myself, it’s only me
Who wants to wrap around your dreams and,
Have you any dreams you’d like to sell?

Listen carefully to the sound of your loneliness? If that’s not a punch in the gut, I don’t know what is. Actually, I’m going to defer to our friends at 70 Day Weekend on this matter. Check out this excellent post about how Lindsey Buckingham is a brilliant guitarist, but a terrible person.

Even though the Pure Bathing Culture version doesn’t have the interpersonal tension that the original had, it’s still a pretty nice cover. However, I like this next one even more.

Actually, since I first laid ears on The Kills’ stunning cover of “Dreams” back in the summer, I’ve wanted to do this, and Pure Bathing Culture have given me a perfect excuse.

The Kills are another band that I’d never heard of before that comp came out. They’re a post punk duo. She’s from Florida. He’s from the UK. They’ve put out four albums, but I’ve never heard any of them. This is the only thing by them I’ve heard, and I lurve it:

“Dreams” as covered by The Kills

The Kills

It’s a pretty creative cover without turning into something else. The first minute or so is pretty sparse, and it’s dominated by the vocals, which are crazily raspy. I think that’s an effect, but I can’t be sure. Either way, there’s something going on in the production room or in an effects pedal that makes the vocals too big. I don’t mean “big” as in “grand” or “theatrical”. I mean “the vox mic is too hot”, or at least it’s made to sound that way. They’re at like 115%, but there’s something that I find compelling about that deliberate imperfection.

Of the two covers, I think I like The Kills version better, but to be clear, I like them both. A lot.

About dlee

North Carolina born and bred. I'm a restaurant guy who spends free time listening to music, watching hockey and playing Scrabble. I have a bachelor's degree in political science and I will most likely never put it to use. View all posts by dlee

2 responses to “December 13 — “Dreams”, as covered by Pure Bathing Culture, and also by The Kills

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