Dream pop  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Dream pop is a musical subgenre of pop rock and alternative rock. Though influences on the genre can be traced as far back as the 1940s, modern dream pop originated in the United Kingdom in the mid-1980s—the term, however, was used almost exclusively in the United States. Bands such The Passions, Dif Juz, Lowlife, and A.R. Kane (to whom the term has been attributed) began fusing post-punk and ethereal wave elements with bittersweet pop melodies into dreamy "soundscapes".

Dream pop tends to focus on textures and moods rather than propulsive rock riffs. Vocals are generally breathy or sung in a near-whisper, and lyrics are often introspective or existential in nature. Album art tends to consist of blurry pastel imagery or stark minimalist designs, or a combination of these two styles. The 4AD record label is the one most associated with dream pop, though others such as Creation, Projekt, Fontana, Bedazzled, Vernon Yard, and Slumberland also released significant records in the genre.

History and artists

The development of the genre arguably began in the 1940s. A number of singles recorded by Frank Sinatra for Columbia Records featured sparkling arrangements, tender vocals and dream-like themes ("Stardust", "Put Your Dreams Away", "Dream"). Throughout the following decade, the genre would see further development through mainstream pop. Singles such as "In Dreams" by Roy Orbison, "All I Have To Do Is Dream" by The Everly Brothers and "Mr. Sandman" by the Chordettes displayed dream pop elements, in both arrangement and lyrical content. Early albums by jazz singer and trumpeter Chet Baker, dominated by gentle, androgynous vocals and dreamy instrumentation, have also been noted as an influence on the genre. A number of albums were released in the 1960s refining the genre further, among them Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys and The Velvet Underground's debut album - particularly the song "Sunday Morning". In 1970, George Harrison released All Things Must Pass; the album's echo-drenched sound and fluid arrangements are considered a more direct influence on the genre. Another album thought to be a major influence on the genre is Something/Anything? by Todd Rundgren, most especially the single "Hello It's Me". Other artists identified as an influence on the genre include songwriters Burt Bacharach, Tim Buckley, Neil Young, Brian Eno and David Bowie; rock bands Genesis and Fleetwood Mac; and various post-punk and alternative rock bands like Sonic Youth, Hüsker Dü, The Smiths, Cocteau Twins, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Cure, Spacemen 3 and The Chameleons.

From the 1980s to early 1990s, bands such as Pale Saints, Spoonfed Hybrid, Spirea X, Kitchens of Distinction, The Church, The Sundays, Belly, The Ocean Blue, Bel Canto, Hum, Cranes, Frazier Chorus, Strange Boutique, Curve, The Dream Academy, and No-Man were representatives of the genre. In Europe, some bands emerged that mixed the genre with folk and electronic components, such as The Legendary Pink Dots and Hooverphonic.

Concurrently, a number of more predominantly guitar-driven dream pop bands emerged in the United States, including Alison's Halo, Low, Mazzy Star, Velour 100, Love Spirals Downwards, and Tears Run Rings.


See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Dream pop" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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