Constantine's Dream

  • Smith explained to Billboard magazine that this dark improvised meditation on art and nature is about Christopher Columbus, "having a dream of the environmental apocalypse of the 21st century."
  • Speaking with Spin magazine about this impressionistic improvised track, Smith said it contains, "many questions." She explained: "It questions the role of artists in our society. The questions are there, and they're not answerable questions. They're more things that we contemplate and ruminate constantly. As an artist, one thinks, "What is the purpose of art? Can we make a difference? Is art just more pollution in an already polluted world?" There are a million questions one asks oneself."
  • The song was inspired by a pilgrimage Smith made in 2008 to explore the life of Saint Francis. Smith, who was raised a Jehovah's Witness but left them once she became a teenager, hired a local Italian band, Casa del Vento, to play on this track. The New Yorker explained during the album's playback that after her guitarist Lenny Kaye laid down his improvised backing track she, "studied, thought and then improvised a vocal… It's about the environment, materialism. I thought about St. Francis of Assisi, who was such a beautiful person."
  • The 10-minute meditation references early renaissance artist Piero della Francesca, who died on October 12, 1492, the day on which Columbus discovered the New World.
  • The song title refers to a dream of the Roman Emperor Constantine, which was instrumental in his conversion to Christianity. Having become ruler of Britain and Gaul on his father's death, in 306AD, Constantine found himself six years later battling with Maxentius over control of the entire Roman Western Empire. Constantine decided to settle the matter by force and on the night before the Battle of Milvian, as he was about to cross the Alps, he dreamt of a cross of light superimposed on the sun. On it were the words "In this sign you shall conquer." The emperor related this to the Christian God and ordered his men to go into battle with the sign of the cross painted on their shields and standards. The battle was won, Constantine's conversion was sealed and he gained control of the Western Roman Empire.


Be the first to comment...

Jay, Peaches, Spinderella and other Darrining VictimsSong Writing

Just like Darrin was replaced on Bewitched, groups have swapped out original members, hoping we wouldn't notice.

Bob DaisleySongwriter Interviews

Bob was the bass player and lyricist for the first two Ozzy Osbourne albums. Here's how he wrote songs like "Crazy Train" and "Mr. Crowley" with Ozzy and Randy Rhoads.

AC/DCFact or Fiction

Does Angus really drink himself silly? Did their name come from a sewing machine? See if you can spot the real stories about AC/DC.

Does Jimmy Page Worship The Devil? A Look at Satanism in RockSong Writing

We ring the Hell's Bells to see what songs and rockers are sincere in their Satanism, and how much of it is an act.

Verdine White of Earth, Wind & FireSongwriter Interviews

The longtime bassist of Earth, Wind & Fire discusses how his band came to do a holiday album, and offers insight into some of the greatest dance/soul tunes of all-time.

Timothy B. Schmit of the EaglesSongwriter Interviews

Did this Eagle come up with the term "Parrothead"? And what is it like playing "Hotel California" for the gazillionth time?