Meaning of “Dreams” by Van Halen

Written By Michael Miller

Michael is a music teacher and professional cellist. He loves uncovering the deeper meaning of popular songs.

“Dreams” by Van Halen is a soaring anthem of hope and aspiration, encouraging listeners to reach for their highest potential and not to be deterred by setbacks or failures. The song is about overcoming obstacles, pursuing dreams without restraint, and the power of believing in oneself. It sends a powerful message of resilience, emphasizing that dreams are the foundation of our ambitions and love. The essence of the song is captured in its uplifting melody and inspiring lyrics, designed to motivate listeners to climb higher and leave their fears behind. Van Halen wrote this song to resonate with anyone facing doubts or fears, reminding them that dreams are worth striving for, and with determination, they can achieve anything.

Curious about the drive and inspiration behind Van Halen’s hit “Dreams”? Uncover the story and the message in our deep dive into the song’s lyrics and meaning.

“Dreams” Lyrics Meaning

Van Halen’s “Dreams” opens with vivid imagery of a world losing its color and life, symbolizing the moment of despair and loss of hope. “World turns black and white, Pictures in an empty room, Your love starts fallin’ down, Better change your tune” sets the stage for a narrative about transformation and the importance of adjusting one’s attitude towards life’s challenges.

As the song progresses, the call to action becomes clear: “Yeah, you reach for the golden ring, Reach for the sky, Baby, just spread your wings.” This encouragement to aim high and not be afraid to spread one’s wings emphasizes the limitless potential within each individual to soar above their current circumstances.

The chorus, “We’ll get higher and higher, Straight up we’ll climb, We’ll get higher and higher, Leave it all behind,” serves as a powerful reminder to let go of the past and the obstacles that hold us back. The metaphor of climbing higher not only speaks to achieving one’s dreams but also to the spiritual and emotional growth that accompanies this journey.

“Run, run, run away, Like a train runnin’ off the track, Got the truth bein’ left behind, Fall between the cracks” reflects the urgency to move forward and the dangers of stagnation. It’s a call to break free from the constraints of doubt and to pursue one’s dreams with unbridled passion.

The song also touches on resilience in the face of adversity: “Standing on broken dreams, Never losing sight, ah, Well, just spread your wings.” Even when standing on the remnants of failed attempts and shattered hopes, the song urges listeners to maintain their vision and to keep striving for their aspirations.

Towards the end, “So baby, dry your eyes, Save all the tears you’ve cried, Oh, that’s what dreams are made of” shifts the focus to the emotional aspect of chasing dreams. It acknowledges the tears and struggles along the way but reiterates that these challenges are essential components of the journey towards achieving one’s dreams.

In its culmination, “And in the end, On dreams we will depend, ‘Cause that’s what love is made of” ties the pursuit of dreams to the concept of love. It suggests that dreams and love are intertwined, with both being fundamental to the human experience and essential for a fulfilling life.

Why Was “Dreams” Written?

“Dreams” was written during a period of transition and reflection for Van Halen. The band was contemplating themes of growth, resilience, and the pursuit of excellence. The song emerged as a motivational anthem, aimed at inspiring listeners to persevere through challenges and to keep their dreams alive.

The state of mind of the writers was one of optimism and determination. They sought to convey a message that, despite the obstacles and setbacks one might face, the power to overcome them lies within. “Dreams” is a testament to the belief in the human capacity to aspire, achieve, and find strength in the pursuit of our deepest desires.

Through “Dreams,” Van Halen not only shared a piece of their philosophical outlook but also provided a soundtrack for those needing a boost of inspiration. The song stands as a reminder that our dreams are valid, achievable, and ultimately, what love and life are all about.