Dream Harder

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Dream Harder
Studio album by The Waterboys
Released May 1993
Recorded New York, New York
Genre Rock
Length 43:33
Label Geffen, Puck
Producer Mike Scott
The Waterboys chronology
Room to Roam
Dream Harder
The Live Adventures of the Waterboys
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2/5 stars[1]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[2]

Dream Harder is an album released in 1993 credited to The Waterboys, but recorded by Mike Scott with session musicians.[3] It was the last Waterboys album before Scott spent seven years pursuing a formal solo career, with Bring 'Em All In (1995) and Still Burning (1997). The album reached position 171 on the Billboard Top 200 charts, surpassing the previous Waterboys album Room to Roam, in spite of a less-than-enthusiastic response from critics to the album's sound.[4]

The album art was provided by the photography of Michael Halsband and John Hardin and the painting of Pal Shazar, under the direction of Frank Olinsky and Tom Zutaut.

Dream Harder was a return to a rock, or even hard rock, sound after the traditional Celtic-influenced preceding two albums. It did, however, continue The Waterboys' tradition of arranging a William Butler Yeats poem, in this case "Love And Death". "The Return of Pan" is The Waterboys' second ode to the Greek deity, and the album contains a number of references to the romantic Neopaganism of Dion Fortune and the mystical Christianity of C. S. Lewis, as well as a tribute to guitarist Jimi Hendrix.


"The New Life", one of many Scott songs which are both optimistic and touch upon spirituality, contains a phrase "Are you under the mercy?", which Scott explains as "a phrase I nicked from a Christian fan who wrote me a letter and signed off with "under the mercy", which I took to mean (and this is what I intended in the song) "under the mercy of spirit/the sacred/the presence of love" - though Christians would say under the mercy of Christ".[5]

"Glastonbury Song" was released as a single, backed by the songs "Chalice Hill", "Burlington Bertie And Accrington Stanley", and "Corn Circle Symphony". Scott, discussing the song in 2003, described the song as "one of the most commercial, radio-friendly songs musically that I've ever produced", and ascribes its lack of success to its theme, "..the chorus is 'I just found God where He always was'... In many countries it was successful, but in Britain, they wouldn't play it because of the chorus.".[6] James Heflin, the interviewer, notes that the song reached the Top 30 in the UK and was performed live on Top of the Pops broadcast on the BBC.[6]

"The Return of Pan" was also released as a single, with the songs "Karma" (also the name of one of Scott's earlier musical projects), "Mister Powers" and an untitled track. "The Return of Pan"'s lyrics recount an episode from Plutarch's "The Obsolescence of Oracles".[7] Plutarch writes that, during the reign of Tiberius, a sailor named Thamus heard the following shouted to him from land; "Thamus, are you there? When you reach Palodes, take care to proclaim that the great god Pan is dead." After retelling the story, the singer of "The Return of Pan" insists that "The Great God Pan is alive!". The single charted at position twenty-four on the UK singles chart May 1993.

"Love and Death" is a poem by William Butler Yeats. It first appeared in the 1885 Dublin University Review.

Track listing[edit]

Pan, shown here, was also referenced in "The Pan Within" on This Is the Sea.

Tracks written by Mike Scott, except where noted.

  1. "The New Life" – 5:08
  2. "Glastonbury Song" – 3:43
  3. "Preparing to Fly" – 4:34
  4. "The Return of Pan" – 4:19
  5. "Corn Circles" – 4:05
  6. "Suffer" – 3:49
  7. "Winter Winter" – 0:33
  8. "Love and Death" (words: William Butler Yeats, music: Scott) – 2:44
  9. "Spiritual City" – 3:11
  10. "Wonders of Lewis" – 2:04
  11. "The Return of Jimi Hendrix" (words: Scott, music: Scott / Anthony Thistlethwaite / Jim Keltner) – 5:48
  12. "Good News" – 3:35


Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ Rolling Stone review
  3. ^ "Mike Scott bio". Allmusic. Retrieved October 24, 2005. 
  4. ^ "Dream Harder review". Allmusic. Retrieved October 24, 2005. 
  5. ^ "The New Life Starts Here". Mike Scott and the Waterboys forum. Retrieved October 24, 2005. 
  6. ^ a b "The Big Music". Valley Advocate. Retrieved May 6, 2006. [dead link]
  7. ^ Moralia, Book 5:17

External links[edit]