The Cranberries – “Dreams”

I first heard a portion of this song on the movie “Boys on the Side,” with Whoopi Goldberg, Mary-Louise Parker, Drew Barrymore, and Matthew McConaughey. I was immediately taken with the singer’s voice.  The song itself is dreamy, sad, and her voice is quite haunting, which was a great fit for that particular movie scene.  I never knew the name of it and didn’t think too much of it, until I happened to hear it on the radio while driving one day, but the D.J. didn’t say who sang it, so I went back and pulled up the movie and listened to the songs that were played in it, and that’s how I found out the name of the band that sang the song.

Sometime later, it was announced on the news that the lead singer, Dolores O’Riordan had passed away. It was sad to hear of her life being cut short when she had so much more life to live for, and music to create.

This is a very hopeful song in which frontwoman Dolores O’Riordan sings about meeting a special someone who makes her deliriously happy. “I wrote that about my first love when I was living in Ireland,” she said in a Songfacts interview. “It’s about feeling really in love for the first time.”

Written by Dolores O’Riordan and Cranberries lead guitarist Noel Hogan, “Dreams” is the second charting single by The Cranberries, from their first album. Together with “Linger,” these two singles forged a name for the band that carried them until the thundering (and thunderously successful) “Zombie” from their second album.

O’Riordan was just 20 years old when the song was first released in 1992 as the group’s debut single, and her youthful innocence comes through on the song. When the group got some attention in 1994, the song was re-issued and became a modest hit.

If it seems like you’ve heard this song a lot more than would be justified by its chart position, that’s because it’s unusually soundtrack-friendly. It has appeared in the films Mission: ImpossibleYou’ve Got MailBoys On The SideThe Next Karate KidShot Through the Heart, and The Baby-Sitters Club. You almost couldn’t go into a theater in the ’90s without hearing this song! It also appeared in the TV series 90210JAG, and My So-Called Life.

That piercing, bittersweet male vocal is provided by O’Riordan’s then-boyfriend Mike Mahoney singing backup.

This song, together with “Linger,” is yet another MTV-Cinderella story – the band saw only moderate success until they toured playing support for the London Suede. From there, MTV picked up their videos for the two singles and gave them heavy airplay. The new fame made it worth the while to re-release the two singles, which then shot into the charts.

Along with “Linger” and “Zombie,” the Cranberries performed this at Woodstock ’94. The festival version of “Dreams” was included on the Woodstock 1994 album.

An acoustic cover version with strings and piano was used in a 2017 animated commercial for the University of Phoenix where a mother loses her job but becomes an IT professional after taking online classes.

The Voice UK 2018 champion Ruti covered this as her winner’s single. Eighteen-year-old Ruti Olajugbagbe won the final on April 7, 2018, claiming victory over fellow finalists Donel Mangena, Belle Voci, and Lauren Bannon. She immediately released “Dreams,” which was the last song she’d performed in the televised completion. It peaked at #14 on the UK singles chart.

SONG Lyrics –

Oh, my life
Is changing every day
In every possible way

And oh, my dreams
It’s never quite as it seems
Never quite as it seems

I know I’ve felt like this before
But now I’m feeling it even more
Because it came from you

Then I open up and see
The person falling here is me
A different way to be

I want more
Impossible to ignore
Impossible to ignore

They’ll come true
Impossible not to do
Impossible not to do

Now I tell you openly
You have my heart so don’t hurt me
You’re what I couldn’t find

Totally amazing mind
So understanding and so kind
You’re everything to me

Oh, my life
Is changing every day
In every possible way

And oh, my dreams
It’s never quite as it seems
‘Cause you’re a dream to me
Dream to me

Writer/s: Noel Anthony Hogan, Dolores Mary O’Riordan

Credit:, &


4 thoughts on “The Cranberries – “Dreams”