Mar 1, 2013
"California Dreamin" is more than just a 1965 song by The Mamas & The Papas, and it's much deeper than a mere dream about being in the state of California.
California dreaming is an intense personal longing for more.
If the old expression is true, that "California is a state of mind," then California dreaming is an action of the soul; an aching in the heart; a desperation for more than what one's current lifestyle, environment or status can offer.
When The Mamas & The Papas recorded the song "California Dreamin" in the mid-1960s, there is no way that they could have foreseen the impact their song would have on mass human psychology.
"California Dreamin" propelled the movement of millions of people across the earth toward the Golden State - and the song still has the same effect today.
In many ways, the song seems to connect all of the other California booms together.
"California Dreamin" is a strangely subliminal, deeply emotional song, and it carries a message that is personally internalized. It induces both lament and hope while representing a basic cry of humanity - a primal desire for a return to Eden.
The song portrays a soul that feels dead yet yearns to live again; a dull gray existence dying for vibrant color; a cold life begging to be revealed by warm sunshine; a forfeited dream screaming for success; melancholy and depression lusting for freedom from despair.
Technicolor images of carefree, sunny Southern California in the media (especially in winter) are very enticing before a discontented audience. Hearing a song which speaks of their own private dream of a better life is the last straw for many people. California can become an obsession.
To people around the world who feel stuck in a life of tedious drudgery, California represents Paradise; a life of ease amid swaying palm trees and spectacular sunsets; a luxurious co-existence with The Beautiful People.
For those desiring a life free from discrimination, poverty and abuse, California dreaming is a way of keeping hope alive; a glamorous escape from the cruelty of life's brutal realities. It is the modern world's earthly ideal.
California is famous for impossible dreams made real, casual lifestyles with few restrictions, and unrestrained creative freedom. Golden State trends sweep America and the rest of the world, and California's music does as well.
The timeless quality of the lyrics, the tear-jerking appeal of the flute instrumental solo, and the cathartic feeling of the song have together made "California Dreamin" one of the most popular musical compositions in human history.
Many consider "California Dreamin" to be the unofficial anthem of the land of California, as the song symbolizes the hopes of all who dream of thriving in the Golden State.
"California Dreamin" is, unquestionably, the most powerful of all songs about California.
Since Michelle Phillips is the only living songwriter of "California Dreamin" and the sole remaining member of The Mamas & The Papas today, we can thank Mama Michelle for giving us an anthem - and a California Dream - for all people of every generation to share.