Kristin Carole Hall
purple cat records

American Dream
The Story Behind The Song

A little boy went off to school.
He worked so hard to be nobody's fool.
They told him if he studied well,
He'd make it out of his own private Hell.
But he found himself in the factory
With a life the same as you or me; and he said:
"Life ain't always what it seems
With my disenchanted American dream."

A pretty girl, beginning life.
They told her someday she should be a wife.
She learned so well, waited for the day
When she'd go that solid, married way.
But she found out the real game down the road
And started singing out this one true ode, she said:
"Life ain't always what it seems
With my disenchanted American dream."

What was once your dream is now your cage.
You're just an actor on someone else's stage.
It seems like life is just flying by,
And rags to riches feels like one big lie.
But it's never too late to make life what you will.
You can start by spitting out this song's bitter pill.
'Cause life ain't always what it seems,
A disenchanted American dream.

©2004 by Kristin Carole Hall & Purple Cat Music. All Rights Reserved.

American Dream Back Story

So, at the start of this venture, I sat down with my producer and played through all my songs. Bless her, she listened to them all. Once done, they went into one of three piles: "Let's Do 'Em"; "Good Song, But Not Quite Right For Me"; and "Let Us Never Speak Of These Again". After I played "American Dream", I hastened to put it in the last category & move on to the next song. However, she demurred and told me to go work on it - we would be putting it on the first album. I didn't see it, but trusted her judgment & spent a long time finding the right set of chords that would make me love it as much as she did. I'm glad I did, although she still ribs me about all the variations I brought in until the right one clicked ("It's in A!", "No! It's in B!" "It's a roots song." "No, it's a ballad!" Augh!).

When I was in college, my schedule meant that I would get off the bus & head home right at the shift change for the local factory of the small town where I lived. The workers heading home would look at me and wonder, "What are you wasting money on school for? You could have a car. You could have a TV." and I would make equal judgments on their life choices. That is what led to this song.

Of course, like so many towns in America, this one lost its factory to China. While I doubt any of those workers gives me a second thought, I sometimes wonder what happened to them all. Outsourcing has made the American Dream so much more difficult to attain. However, I mean what I say in the third verse. Anything is possible. You can persevere and, hopefully, prosper at something you love.

As any post-2004 Red Sox fan knows: "A walk, a balk, a hit batsman, a grand slam...and you're right back in it!" It's my new mantra.


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