57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
on February 25, 2003
Why aren't any of Grace Slick's solo albums available on CD in this country? "Manhole" and "Dreams" are available as imports, but "Software" and "Welcome to the Wrecking Ball" aren't available at all. Pity.
Grace herself detests every one of her solo albums but this one. She feels that, due to her lack of interest in them, they all failed. But she calls this one the best of her solo efforts. And, as one who has heard and appreciates each of them for what they are, "Dreams" is her best. I'll probably be tarred and feathered for this, but I think this is the best recording her voice was ever on. Don't get me wrong, I love Jefferson Airplane, I love early Jefferson Starship, but there's just something about this album...
I like the fact that this album is kind of an amalgam of all different styles. We have Spanish music on "El Diablo," metal on "Angel of Night," arena-rock-power-ballads like "Full Moon Man" and "Face to the Wind," the world music-influenced "Seasons," and the bluesy "Do It the Hard Way." On almost every cut Grace and her band are backed by a full orchestra. She also wrote & composed over half of this album by herself. Trust me, if you are a fan of Grace's at all, or if you're new to the wonderful world of the Airplane/Starship oeuvre, you cannot go wrong with this album. Stand-out cuts: "Dreams," "El Diablo," "Angel of Night," "Full Moon Man," "Let It Go."
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2006
After owning this album in the 1980's I thought it would never be released on CD.
When I found it for sale I instantly purchased it, but with intrepidation, because it had been over 10 years since I heard it.
Well it doesn't dissapoint, all the tracks sound great & you wouldn't know it is a 20 year old album.
What a great voice Grace has, she could put a few modern day "singers" to shame.
Go on Treat yourselves to a timeless CD.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
"I believe in magic And I still believe in Dreams" sung with haunting definance by a soulful Grace Slick in stunning opener "Dreams", brilliant collection of great songs with wondrous vocals, all beautifully orchestrated and arranged to perfection. Majestic guitars surround Grace in exotic "El Diablo", flowing gem is rich & complex becoming a breathtaking listening experience...get ready for the musical journey of a lifetime with Slick throughout this stirring tour-de-force masterpiece that musically is all over the map, magnificent collection of tremendous performances should have been huge Grammy Award winning success but instead only nominated for Best Female Rock Performance...total injustice! Grace Slick went in studio prepared to show all she has no peer in the world of rock singers proving it in this versatile collection filled with stand-out mesmerizing performances. Experience biting vocals charged with fierce intensity in the searing "Face To The Wind" then become a believer nobody can top this rocking DIVA with her hot guitarist/composer Scott Zito...high energy & hard rocking "Angel Of Night" is a tour-de-force anthem and perfect showcase again for Grace/Scott combination, they are perfection together and scorch the tracks. Haunting illumination make "Seasons" an engrossing Slick original that becomes a nostalgic & sentimental celebration of life, unforgettable like that special ride on a carousal with a special someone one doesn't want to end...funky Slick composed blues-rocker "Do It The Hard Way" is a revealing song giving a rare inside look in to the soul of a fascinating & very creative lady. Soaring to glorious heights in "Full Moon Man", clearly listening to his haunting anthem Grace Slick possesses one of the uniquely original great voices of the century, awesome Slick original is a timeless classic that celebrates ultimate love that goes on and on forever...another original Slick masterwork "Let It Go" is a compelling message that becomes a complete life experience then soaring to majestic heights "Garden Of Man" takes one on a magical musical journey that ultimately is a towering masterpiece that is a joy to experience over and over again...mixing classic fully orchestrated tracks arranged to perfection with the magnificant voice of Grace Slick was a brilliant idea that works throughout "Dreams", making it a dream of a musical masterpiece...liner notes credit Grace Slick with album concept, clearly her monumental classic is a lasting musical treasure chest filled with earthy heart & soul vocals sung with complete passion, ultimately every stellar vocal is supremely soulful and deeply moving to experience. "Dreams" is for music lovers who enjoy the finest the world of music has to offer, lucky listeners will be astounded by the brilliance on full display throughout this work that is a once in a lifetime classic! Bravo Grace Slick, you are truly a musical wonder who can be deeply proud of "Dreams" as an important part of your legendary musical legacy.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2003
Just briefly - Grace Slick had (since she no longer records per se) - the greatest, musically-appealing female voice in R&R for decades. (And the only persons I've seen who have the same basic on-stage presence are Madonna and Gwen Stephani.) Grace had tone, perfect vibrato, clarity and the ability to hold a note on pitch and with meaning for days.
Anyway - Dreams was a triumph, of sorts, after the big ups ('Theme from the Movie Manhole,' and the little-mentioned 'j'...) and the downs (It's only Music) of the 'Manhole' album.
I WORE OUT my vinyl copy of 'Dreams.' Finally ruined the cassette version in the late 90's. When the CD FINALLY came out (import) I was ecstatic....got to hear Grace at her best again. Just listen to the title track. Now there is singing and performance brilliance. Listen to "Full Moon Man." Wow....Grace and instruments sireening away forever...
This is a must have for Airplane/Starship/Grace Slick fans. Too bad she's not recording anymore....I could use some new vocals in my head by Grace!
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2004
I remember very clearly being given a copy of this album when it came out, back when I was a Jr. in High School. At the time, I was listening to a pretty wide variety of music (like KISS, the Who, Doobie Brothers, Black Sabbath, Amy Grant [yep...Sabbath and Amy back to back], Zeppelin, Genesis [they hadn't yet turned to inconsequential mush, but they were well on their way], etc.), and I was something of a Jefferson Starship fan (I wasn't yet mature enough to really appreciate Jefferson Airplane, but did like some of their stuff). I immediately fell in love with DREAMS. It practically consumed me. The lyrics are extremely personal, and the music is a huge departure for Grace. This is a rare window into the soul of an artist. It is absolutely brilliant. My musical tastes have changed, grown, expanded in inumerable ways since high school (world music, funk, electronica, modern symphonic, etc), but DREAMS remains at the top of my list. And I imagine it always will.
A few years ago, I lost my huge LP collection (along with everything else) in a house fire. DREAMS is the only album that escaped the fire practically untouched. It now hangs framed on the wall in my office.
Thank you, Grace, for sharing your soul with us, and for giving us this enduring work of art.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 5, 2009
Grace Slick likely did not care about critical opinion at this point in her career. She had already been the object of much rock scribe scorn for using orchestration on MANHOLE in '73. By the time this, her second solo album, was released in '80, her obstinate decision to continue with this trend was even more likely to rankle the critical establishment. This was, after all, the New Wave era, and while Grace may have shared a certain kind of rebelious 'tude with, say, Chrissie Hynde or Debbie Harry--to say nothing of a kind of spiritual kinship with out-and-out punks--she liked her own musical settings layered and lavish. (Well, for now anyway: this one WAS followed by the harder rocking WELCOME TO WRECKING BALL a year or so later).
DREAMS is more cohesive--and much more of a true solo record--than MANHOLE, which was a real love-it or hate-it affair. The earlier record consisted of a Grace Slick magnum opus (the more-or-less title track) and a few other songs she penned, but it closed with "Epic #73" a song that she technically co-wrote with Paul Kantner and David Freiberg, but was in fact a primarily another Kantner-esque epic. And she was totally absent on another track, "It's Only Music." I have my theories as to why Grace opted for this kind of strategy. Primarily, I think, she really didn't want to do a solo record and was being pressured by the record company. Largely absenting herself from two of the tracks was perhaps her way of thumbing her nose at the "suits."
Unfortunately for her, many fans thought they were being slighted too. (I wasn't one...I loved MANHOLE, but I understand where some of the naysayers among the fanbase are coming from.)
But DREAMS was a different animal. Recorded after her official (first) departure from Jefferson Starship, it really did not involve the particpation of many members of the "Airplane family." Her main collaborator here is producer Ron Frangipane. Grace was always a collaborative artist, and, cut loose from her bandmates, she was lucky to find a sympathetic artistic collaborator in Frangipane.
Also appearing for the first time on a Slick project was guitarist and songwriter Scott Zito, who would go on to work with Grace on her next project, the harder rocking WRECKING BALL. He contributes a couple of songs, both of which are thematically and musically appropriate to the overall feel of the album, the Flemenco flavored "El Diablo" and "Angel of Night" (a bit to close to Kansas' "Dust In the Wind" for comfort, but an OK track overall).
So we see thatm, as with MANHOLE, not every song included on the album is a Grace Slick composition. BUT pretty every one sounds like it could be, and that's the main thing. The album is interestingly sequenced so that only last six tracks are Grace Slick originals, but the opening tracks flow so well with the mood of the album that you have to read the credits closely to realize that.
Tthe album really DOES seem unified. Unlike even the best Airplane or Starship records, DREAMS is not a "variety show." It's all Grace, and it's all good. By the time we get to (what was originally) Side 2, we find Grace in a rare confessional mode. Her stint in rehab behind her, we find a less cryptic, more sober (in every sense of the word) songwriter. Her "Do It the Hard Way" is as focused and direct a song as Grace ever penned. That song, and the similarly themed "Let It Go" are anthems of sobriety and spiritual renewal. "Full Moon Man" is that rarity, a Grace Slick love song, and while it's not a Balin type ballad, it has an appeal all its own. And speaking of atypical Grace Slick songs, the closer "Garden of Man" is certainly that. Even at the height of the Haight, no one in his right mind would have imagined that the sarcastic Slick would pen a song with an overtly hippie title--and message--like that.
But it works. Her double track vocals weave in and out through the song's coda (one that unself-consciously echoes the earlier "Full Moon Man") singing about love that "goes on forever." The Grace Slick of 10 years previous might have sung similar words perhaps, but only as a back up singer on a Marty or Paul song. By 1980, Grace was willing to embrace something of the spirit of the Sixties in a way she hadn't personally been able to do before. Of course, she wasn't just mouthing "love and peace" platitudes. It went deeper than that--it really was a metaphor for her own sense of renewal and rebirth.
It's pretty clear from reading reviews posted here that this is THE definitive Grace Slick solo project for many fans. It serves as proof that Grace could do great work apart from her old bandmates. The other albums had their intersting moments, and fans would certainly welcome having them re-issued on CD, but DREAMS really is Grace at her amazing best.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 31, 2008
I confess. After the debacle of "Miracles" I opted to not watch my favorite musicians from Jefferson Airplane descend into Vegas and state fair schlock meisters. As much as I love Grace Slick, and count her as the first female ROCK vocalist not beholden to the blues, jazz or folk, I couldn't watch the death spiral.
So. That being said. I missed Dreams when it first came out. Recently, I was shocked and appalled by the shoddy "Best Of" CD RCA threw together. I figured if nobody else was going to do it for me, I would create my very own Grace Slick box set.
In doing that I tracked down Dreams. I was blown away. Gone were the sometimes annoying Slick vocal idiosyncrasies, the too brittle biting tones, the too bombastic sarcastic lyrics. Instead, here was a full voiced, mature, reflective singer. She keeps her cutting edge, but with more personal songwriting. Her well known love of Spanish music is front and center in El Diablo. Garden of Man is breath taking in its evocative, ethereal washes of sound and double tracking vocals. Face to the Wind is epic beauty.
Did I hear this correctly? Grace is singing a straight forward unabashed love song in Full Moon Man? Throughout her career Grace was never known for wearing her heart on her sleeve. Turns out it suits her. Who'd thunk it?
Her new-found sobriety yields an AA anthem of sorts in Let It Go. It wouldn't be Grace Slick without a caustic, self-effacing turn. That comes in the middle of Do It the Hard Way with "I'm the queen of the nuthouse!"
All together, it's a beautifully complete piece of work. It's nearly a "concept album" in its themes. Above all, it's a virtuoso vocalist who's at peace with herself making the album she wants to make. If you love Grace Slick and may have missed it the first time like I did, track it down and buy it.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2004
After the come-and-go moments of "Manhole"(Grace's first solo effort),she finally got the solo-thing right with this overlooked gem. At the time of its release(1979),people who weren't neccesarily Airplane-Starship fans were buying this one. It was simply Grace Slick, and a closer look at herself than she had ever given anyone in her listening audience. And what a look. I still hear those opening piano notes in the title-tune "Dreams", and get chills. And then there's the voice. Grace never sounded better.With a lush orchestra as well as guitars behind her, she proceeds to kick the ass off of anyone who had doubts about her after her well-publicized bitter exit from Jefferson Starship a year earlier.(Check out VH1's 100 Most Shocking Moments of Rock-n-Roll where Grace drunkenly abuses the German audience with reminders of World War II.-then fires herself). There's not a bad cut in the collection, and Grace's inspired vocals still amaze. Grace also shows off her song-writing that she always downplays. Her self-penned songs are as strong as the ones written for her and the whole production moves seamlessly from one moody moment to the next, ending with a tour-de-force"Garden of Man" that creates such atmosphere, you expect purple fog to start seeping thru the speakers.Why this album never got it's full deserved attention, I'll never know. It stands out today as one of Grace Slicks best solo efforts.Anything you liked about her in Jefferson Airplane or Starship, developed into this finest hour for one of rock musics most controversial and memoriable voices. A good album from rocks original bad girl.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on January 22, 2004
I remember when I first listened to El Diablo in early 80s and how amazed I was. I was a kid at that time. In those years it was difficult to find US LPs in my country (Turkey). I had to wait for years to buy the album. After I bought that I carried the album to wherever I go. Each song in this album has a story and they help one to visualize the static environment around oneself. With the first tunes of Dreams you will find yourselves in a magical environment. El Diablo, Seasons, Do It the hard way and Garden of Man make this album a masterpiece. It is sad though that now I am in the US and had to look for Korean version of this cd. I guess after Grace's truly amazing career with Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship this album crowns her talent and diversity of musical taste.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on August 7, 2003
By far the best Grace Slick sounds on any of her solo cds. Everyone seems to think Manhole is her best but I disagree. On Dreams her voice sounds stronger and clearer....as if she really cared what it sounded like. On Manhole she sounds ok but doesn't sound as if she really cared how it sounded, she was busy with the Jefferson Starship at the time also, so solo ventures or LPs with Kantner/Freiberg just seemed like something to do because they asked her? She was expected to help ? Anyway, if you love Slick, her voice, her writing....ANYTHING with her on it is worth it...to me anyway...but Dreams is all Grace and very special. Both of my sisters...both younger than I love this cd but are Not fans of anything Grace did....and both have this cd.....buy it, hopefully someone..some label will put out a really really complete anthology of her career...a box set...I would love it....