Dreaming While You Sleep is reminiscent of songs like Say It's Alright Joe. A song that has surreal scenarios that take us into a world we may never travel. Yet, we feel what the main character is going through thanks to clever musical time signatures and lyrics.
Dreaming While You Sleep is deceptive in nature. The song has many layers. It allows us in the world of the hit and run driver's mind. First the remorse of hitting someone. Then the visit to the hospital, and the hope that the victim will come out of her coma. And finally, the haunting guilt that the driver feels about leaving the scene of an accident. Certainly, the haunting will never go away, and will imprison the driver for the rest of his life.
There is a feel to this song musically that is uniquely Genesis. Highs and lows are felt throughout the song. Tony, Mike and Phil each contribute to the song with their individual talents. The keyboards are haunting at time. Phil's vocals connects the song emotionally. Mike does some magic with the guitars throughout the song that provides a backdrop for changes in the song. The drums are intense at times, while the background is guided by a synthesized drum pattern that is perfect for the song. You can even hear in the beginning what sounds like a screeching tire, which is replicated by either Mike or Tony. Subtle time changes and you have what is a very dark, surreal song.
Dreaming While You Sleep is deserving of the recognition of a great Genesis song. It is the song that takes the listener to a great place both musically and the lyrics. It is also a great live song. Phil's range of emotions, as with songs in the past, brings the song to life and connects the audience to the studio version.