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Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams" Is Back on the Charts Because It's a Timeless Jam

The band's iconic 'Rumours' cut didn't need a Twitter meme to tell us that it's always been relevant.

by Phil Witmer
Apr 4 2018, 3:45pm

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives for Getty Images

One band that's seemingly escaped the music internet's frequent reappraisal (Migos is better than the Beatles, 2Pac actually sucks, etc) is Fleetwood Mac. FM is truly timeless, thanks to their tough-to-pin-down but supremely appealing sound, Lindsay Buckingham's studio sheen, and Stevie Nicks' hugely influential witch-sona. It's that longevity that may have helped a Twitter meme to send one of the Mac's mightiest classics back onto the Billboard charts more than 40 years after its release.

On March 22, Twitter user @bottledfleet posted an edited video of cheerleaders doing a dance routine to Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams" as a punchline to a joke about the band's music being "boring."

The tweet went viral and "Dreams" re-entered Billboard's Hot Rock Songs at number 14 this week. According to Billboard, the song's album Rumours also reappeared on the Top Rock Albums Chart. It's been a long time since both works originally topped both the Hot 100 and the Billboard 200 back in 1977, but their recent ascendancy is similar to the recent resurgence of Toto's "Africa." The resonance of this meme is a testament to the longevity of a supposedly passé boomer relic among younger generations. "Dreams" is not the greatest song of all time or the biggest hit ever, but it's a big song in the sense that it has an immediate effect on pretty much any audience.

The beguiling simplicity and tenderness of "Dreams" helps it succeed where other classic rock songs have failed. There's no big fuck-yeah guitar riff or titanic drum beat or shout-along group chorus. It's essentially just two chords, an F major and a G major, with an A minor that I think only shows up once during the bridge. The chords communicate constant movement, with no resolution to the song's home key of C major. Couple that with an easygoing but relentless pulse that finds the halfway point between R&B and country, and the arrangement is already magical before Nicks even opens her mouth. Of course, "Dreams" belongs to her completely once she does so, and the moment when the rest of Fleetwood Mac joins her on the chorus is on par with "Africa'"s key change in its ability to coax a drunken (or totally sober) singalong out of whoever's in the vicinity. "Dreams" is unquestionably huge in ways that charts can't measure, and will likely stay that way for the rest of time.

Phil is on Twitter.