Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Heart - 'These Dreams' from Heart (1985)
What is the best Heart song? Maybe 'Barracuda' or something off of Dreamboat Annie? I will not argue with you, but my favorite and most life-impacting Heart song and video is 'These Dreams' from my favorite Heart album, Heart (1985). The Wilson Sisters along with Stevie Nicks were a gateway to New Age Witch-Power, to dreamworlds previously undreamt of, summoned from gossamer and moonlight and the ashes of rock burnt to powder. The Official Culture of the mid-1980's was both garish and bland, aggressively ugly in self-presentation, having raised Capitalist Realism to a weaponized threat level to stare down the fading Soviet Empire. A sort of obnoxious, hard-geometrical tedium which fetishized militarism, consumerism, and bodily perfection, making a show of effortful labor and paradoxical 'cool' affect. I still have shudders over thirty years later. Heart's 'These Dreams' offered a paean to sleep and dream, to alternate realities cherished and collapsing one into the other. There were no hard edges, no yelling, no transactionality. There was a magick based upon surrender, upon passivity, upon letting go of conscious will and drive and desire and in so doing, letting forever be, opening the self to the larger tidal pulls and tows of the kosmos and what the kosmos dreams and what the kosmos dreams is you. One sister light, one sister dark, united and separate. Nancy Wilson is seen playing heavy metal guitar but what comes out are gently percussive synth pads. Culted ninjas hold mirrors which are portals opening upon deserts the color of orange sherbet. The feeling of security and excitement which comes from sleeping and dreaming in a warmly quilted bed while the cold surrounds but pushed back, outside the firelight, the hearth, the magick circle, but still perceptible, still influencing the torrents and vortices of realities emerging and dissolving one from the other and into the next in sequences too complex to track. To live in dreams by way of avoiding the very real pain of daily life and lived trauma, especially at 11/12 was something I understood and shared in. A refusal of singular, cohesive narrative reality was not just a temporary escape, but a protest action, a withdrawal from forced consensus, from having to agree with anything, let alone oneself. My second favorite video from Heart (1985) is 'Nothing At All', another song which privileges distance, abstraction, the voided gulf between and within across which charges leap. There are pyramids of light and kitty cats and nothing. Heart's sound by this point was a post-metal ambient blur of synthesizers and guitars that sound like synthesizers and drums which sound like synthesizers. Everything is extremely pleasant and pleasantly out-of-focus.