Wednesday, July 28, 2010

"In Dreams" (1963)

95. Roy Orbison, "In Dreams" (Feb. 23, 1963, #7)

This is arguably enough here for one reason only: its uncanny use by David Lynch in his 1986 movie, Blue Velvet. Roy Orbison has plenty of good songs, for any of which the case can be made for consideration over this—"Crying," "Only the Lonely," "Running Scared." Yeah, yeah. And I love them too. But I can never forget the way I saw this ("A candy-colored clown they call the sandman") utterly reinvented and rocketed straight to the brainstem, where reside the lizard instincts so many of us barely know even exist. Yet none of that means it isn't a perfectly typical, and typically effective, Roy Orbison outing, full of the kind of tender feelings of loss and yearning and pain that only his operatic warble gets over with just the right mixture of uncertainty and confidence. The dreams he happens to occupy may hardly be the same as Frank Booth's, gasping into his face mask, but they are equally as futile, verging on a kind of romance of overweening emptiness without ever quite crossing the line into out-and-out nihilism, but masked rather by blind hope, and thus far more poignant. That, in short, is the Roy Orbison specialty. And watch how he does it: skating atop a musical arrangement that pits a little band against a big orchestra and builds the tension inexorably as it goes, he tells the tale. In dreams he walks with her. In dreams he talks with her. They're together in dreams. In dreams. But just before the dawn—well, you know how this ends. Come on. It's a Roy Orbison song. He remembers that she said good-bye.

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