To give some background, the Broadway show "Les Miserables" is based on a French novel of the same name by Victor Hugo. The story centered around the lives of ordinary Frenchmen living through the early 19th century France, from roughly 1815 to the beginning of the Paris Uprising of 1932. The ex-convict Jean Valijean is the protagonist who seeks redemption for his past deeds. In relation to the song, "I Dreamed a Dream" is sung by the poverty-stricken single mother Fantine about the hopelessness of her situation. She eventually dies and leaves her daughter at the mercy of a cruel couple.
"I Dreamed a Dream" is, as its title suggests, a song about the harsh realities of life. The theme of disappointment is revoked throughout, as the character of Fantine experiences the cruelty of abandonment, deceit, and being used by others. Overall, it is not an uplifting piece of music at all. But I appreciate the song for the counter balance it creates against the typical pop-ish and upbeat songs I listen to. Sometimes you realize that life is not all rosy as you had believed or imagined.
I like Glee's cover of the song, namely because it is sung from the perspective of one female to another. In the television show, the character played by (the talented) Leah Michelle performs it as a duet with her long-lost mother (played by Idina Menzel). Even though I was mesmerized by the rawness of Susan Boyle's performance, I liked this duet more for general listening purposes. The main thing is the word change in the line "And I still dream he would come to me..." to she.
To go through our standard practice of these posts, the lines from this song I really like are:
"Then I was young and unafraid, when dreams were made, used, and wasted."
"And still I dream she would come to me, that we would live the years together."
"But there are dreams that cannot be, and there storms we cannot weather."
All the above are pretty self-explanatory, since they capture the destruction of naive-ness and youthful optimism. When you are young or lack the experience, our notions of certain things can be the complete opposite of reality. You probably had dreams when you were younger about becoming an astronaut or something grand, right? But has that worked out? (If not, I sincerely hope you are content with the outcome.) Experience is a "no-frills" teacher who does not hesitate to subject us to pain if the need arises. What we also learn through the process is to be afraid at certain things, such as death of our loved ones.
Personally, I associate the song with Mandy and the realization that we may not be together as I had hoped and dreamed of. Until yesterday, I hardly ever given up the hope that she would respond positively to my advances and that we may become something. But the beach trip triggered a series of events that culminated in finding out that...I have no chance. So now, it truly is a dream that cannot be.