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Caught In A Dream (Love It To Death, 1971)

“Caught In A Dream” Lyrics:

Well, I’m runnin’ through the world
with a gun in my back
tryin’ to catch a ride in a Cadillac
Thought that I was livin’
but you can’t really tell
been tryin’ to get a whiff of that success smell

You know I need a houseboat, and I need a plane
I need a butler and a trip to Spain
I need everything
the world owes me
I tell that to myself
and I agree

I’m caught in a dream
So What!
You don’t know what I’m goin’ through
I’m right in between
So I’ll
I’ll just play along with you

Well, I’m runnin’ through the world
with a gun in my back
tryin’ to catch a ride in that Cadillac
thought I was livin’
but you can’t ever tell
what I thought was heaven
turned out to be hell

Whoa-o-oh
When you see me with a smile on my face
Whoa-o-oh
Then you’ll know I’m a mental case

I’m caught in a dream
So what!
I don’t know what I’m going through
I’m right in between
So I’ll
I’ll just play along with you

Whoa-o-oh Oh
Whoa-o-oh Oh
Whoa-o-oh

Next week marks the 50th anniversary of the Love It To Death LP, released March 9, 1971. Typically, “Fridays With Alice” doesn’t pay much attention to dates or album anniversaries, but without this record, one could argue that Alice Cooper would have never reached the next level.

The album’s producer, Bob Ezrin, worked with the band to create that unique “Alice Cooper” sound. In turn, Love It To Death becomes quintessential Alice Cooper. Even the album cover tells a story, perhaps without the listener noticing.

“The idea, as it struck us, was black and white. That’s why the front of the album is dark, and the back is light. We had songs like… the white part of it would be songs like “Caught In A Dream,” it’s an uplifting song – it’s not a dark character song. But we also had “Black Juju,” so the set was like that. It started out bright, and then it got very dark, shifted gears after about four rockers, then it shifted gears and got very moody and very dark, and then it became uplifting at the end after Alice got killed (laughs).” – Dennis Dunaway (founding member and bassist, Alice Cooper)

Love It To Death opens with Michael Bruce’s “Caught In A Dream.” The song is uplifting and light-hearted, as Dunaway suggests. The song is a narration of a “Dream” – The American Dream. The chase, the glory, and the deception unfolding line after line.

Well, I’m runnin’ through the world
with a gun in my back

tryin’ to catch a ride in a Cadillac
Thought that I was livin’
but you can’t really tell

been tryin’ to get a whiff of that success smell

You know I need a houseboat, and I need a plane
I need a butler and a trip to Spain
I need everything
the world owes me
I tell that to myself
and I agree

I’m caught in a dream
So What!

You don’t know what I’m goin’ through
I’m right in between
So I’ll
I’ll just play along with you

The song and lyrics seem jovial and celebratory, but underneath that, there’s a hint of poignant reflection. It’s almost as if to say the song’s subject is hesitant about what they’re doing or where they’re going. Yet, they remain driven by the “whiff of that success smell.”

The truth is, the world owes us nothing, and if the world is offering us something, you can bet there’s an extra price to pay – a tax, a fee, or a penalty. Is it worth the price?

“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” 1 John 2:15-17

On the surface, it may seem as if we aren’t meant to enjoy this life or partake in nice things, but is that really what these verses are saying? It seems the enemy’s primary goals are distraction and deception – detours to keep us from focusing on God and His Love.

Notice the three things John lists in those verses and what they represent:

The lust of the flesh – the preoccupation with physical desires

The lust of the eyes – the craving and accumulation of things – materialism

The pride of life – an obsession with status and importance

While the enemy may be crafty, he’s not very original. The same lies have been used to entice humanity for thousands of years. In fact, he used these same tactics to try tempting Christ as well.

“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down.” For it is written:

‘He will command his angels concerning you,
    and they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”

7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”

8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.”

11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.”Matthew 4:1-11

Notice these temptations. The enemy focused on needs – food, security, protection, significance, and achievement. These things are not inherently wrong or evil. The condition of the heart and mind while pursuing them is what matters.

For instance, some of God’s chosen were wealthy individuals. Here is a brief list of examples:

– Abraham was rich in gold, silver, and cattle (Gen. 13:2)
– Isaac’s wealth remained even through uncertainty (Gen. 26:17-32)
– Joseph became second in command of Egypt (Gen. 47)
– David enjoyed a life of prosperity, wealth, and honor (1 Chron. 29:28)
– Solomon was so rich in gold that silver had no value (2 Chron. 9:20)

You get the point. While each of these men all struggled and failed on several occasions, it was the state of their heart and willingness to serve God that defined them.

The same is true for each of us. We must ask ourselves what we are pursuing most – God or earthly prosperity?

Our journey will NOT be perfect, and we will most assuredly slip up and face trials and troubles along the way. However, seeking God and surrendering to Him will help us better navigate the most difficult times.

Wrapping up this week’s post, it seems “Caught In A Dream” defines life – not just the life of an aspiring Rock Star but life in general. It perfectly lays out that desire to live life to its fullest but also comes with a warning.

The lines, “what I thought was heaven turned out to be hell,” come with a “be careful what you wish for” connotation. As if to say, “don’t let the dream become a Nightmare” – an all too familiar Alice Cooper scenario.

Life is a journey. As we chase our dreams, aspirations, and passions, we must also ask ourselves about motive and heart. What is it that drives us?

Is it an earthly ambition, or is it spiritual direction from our Creator? Both carry significance, yet only one comes with eternal purpose and meaning. We must choose wisely.

In conclusion, Love It To Death is iconic. What would the world of Rock look like without this LP? In my humble opinion, it would be quite dull. Alice and his crew brought something exciting to the stage and combined that with incredible musical talent.

The product of their genius and madness forever changed the scope and direction of music. Before long, most musicians discovered the audience doesn’t just want a concert – they want a show!

Alice Cooper continues to deliver just that – the show. A mixture of theater and Rock – a dream and a nightmare. A combination of the things that scare us and the things that bring us joy. A narrative of good and evil – the story of life.

On this journey, may we all choose wisely. May we all find a way to interlace our dreams with His Will – seeking to find and serve Him with our hearts and minds.

That’s it for this week, catch you next Friday.

Until then, Keep Walkin’ in Faith and Rockin’ with Alice!

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