Song of the Day: Primal Scream “Keep Your Dreams”
“Keep Your Dreams” is one of the most lovely and moving songs that Primal Scream ever wrote. While the group are best known for fusing the rock n’ roll sensibility of The Rolling Stones with the baggy club sounds of peak “Madchester“, Primal Scream were always much more than the one-trick gimmick that this description (and indeed, some of their albums) would make them seem. Their 2000 album, XTRMNTR, with its strong anti-corporate, anti-war, anti-state political bent and electronics-based musical experimentation makes the band’s diversity and intent abundantly clear.
But it wasn’t all uncompromising. Appearing amid the din of harsh electronic and experimental sounds that made up XTRMNTR, “Keep Your Dreams” is a moment of respite and reflection, the come-down, after the highly political psychedelic electronic onslaught of the rest of the record. The song was written by Gary “Mani” Mounfield, previously of the cult band, The Stone Roses who had joined Primal Scream permanently beginning with their previous LP, Vanishing Point. It is a gently building, swelling bass-driven electronic track with lyrics about the impermanence of human life (with the repeated refrain, “Time will turn your bones to dust”) and the necessity of persisting in that which is individually meaningful despite the impermanence of life. It is the ultimate anti-sellout anthem. Some people say that the song really doesn’t match the rest of the record, but in my opinion, this is nonsense. The song gives further depth and diversity to the rest of the album. It takes a very good album and makes it a truly great and timeless one.
Primal Scream were founded in Glasgow in 1982 by singer Bobby Gillespie. For the first several years of the band’s existence, Gillespie was also moonlighting as the drummer in the noise/ post-punk unit The Jesus and Mary Chain. Gillespie finally decided to leave JAMC in 1984, allowing him to focus on Primal Scream. The band turned out a number of indie rock LPs before finally developing their signature sound and exploding into the mainstream with their incredible Screamadelica LP in 1991. The band have seen some shifts to their line-up over the years, including the additions of the aforementioned Mani as well as My Bloody Valentine impresario Kevin Shields. Primal Scream are still going strong, touring and regularly making new music.