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Finally paying attention to this song because of The Rescues' fantastic cover (featured in Pantheon), I noticed

(a) The current Wikipedia article is awful and could deeply benefit from better treatment but
(b) The previous version that included a Meaning section was just awful and patently wrong (a 1986 song wasn't focused on the fall of the Berlin Wall)

Given that this still comes in at the top of best Kiwi & Aussie songs ever, I'm curious if anyone here is enough of a fan to provide a solid foundation for understanding the song besides that it may be about a relationship and it seems to intend "Don't Dream [that] It's Over" instead of "Don't Dream [Because] It's Over".

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  • Someone with more karma than me please also include Crowded-House and 1980s as tags.
    – lly
    Oct 24, 2022 at 13:05

5 Answers 5

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If you are referring to the song originally sung by the band, Crowded House, I think the best answer is straight from the horse's mouth. In this interview, the lead singer and song writer from the Band, Neil Finn, discusses the ambiguity and dual interpretation of the chorus lyrics but he states at 32:08 minutes in:

For me, it's a hopeful positive statement...don't start to believe there's no hope

Neil confirms the song is about not giving up and to keep dreaming because it's not over.

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  • Well, I can hope there's more to it but... yeah... pending Neil contradicting himself that seems pretty authoritative xD
    – lly
    May 8, 2023 at 1:59
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For me this song echos a theme on time, much like the song “enjoy yourself”, it’s closer than you think. It’s delightfully haunting yet hope wins, love wins. Different songs, yet timeless to the mortal mind.

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It’s weird I always read it as a man trying to convince himself a relationship was fine, but finally realising it was all over at the end and reigning himself with ‘get to know the feeling of liberation and release’ from the failed relationship. Maybe am just a miserable sod.

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I had heard this 80’s tune on the Pearl Jam channel on xirius xm. I haven’t heard that song in ages. Came of age in the 80’s. Knew this song from MTV and local radio station. I have thought about an Australian election. Conservative vs. Liberal. “Don’t let them win. They build a wall between us.

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To me this could be interpreted as a deeply spiritual song. Well the first lines in fact start off expressing the nature of duality ("within" and "without"), yet as Spirit ("freedom") permeates absolutely everything in existence, it can be found in both the inner and outer worlds.

Many battles in the game of life as we strive to improve, to find meaning, to find God (or whatever form of Spirit you resonate with). And yet, again because Spirit is everything, Spirit is with you always, and eternal... so "you'll never see the end of the road / While you're travelling with me."

Like others have said, yes the song is in the obvious sense, about not giving up. "World" ("when the world comes in") references the physical/material aspects of life, which is delusion because literally nothing is actually solid as we understand it (all is vibrating energy, and this has been scientifically proven since a few decades ago). So the physical world/delusion of duality is constantly "coming in" (to our consciousness/awareness/mind) to separate Spirit and soul, to make us forget the truth that we are individualized pieces of Spirit.

"My possessions are causing me suspicion / But there's no proof"--the fact again that all the troubles we find in the physical world is in fact not True, yet as we have not yet achieved God-realization, we do not have capacity to find "proof" of the unreality of our material possessions. The car that is being towed could be symbolic of our human body-vehicles. We have "suspicion" because as souls, we DO have an intuitional knowing, it's only that temporarily we may not have conscious awareness. Intuition by definition is an understanding of Truth that may not (often does not) necessarily have physical evidence.

"Now I'm walking again / To the beat of a drum / And I'm counting the steps to the door of your heart" Now that the perspective that is being represented by this song has come to the point of some type of awareness of Spirit, he/she is now returning to God's heart, or Love which is the only and true Reality. Heart is significant because God watches your heart above all, He is all about Love, is Love itself.

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