February 24, 2021

S1E3: Dream Your Dream


Back in the 1990s, I discovered the band Lush. Initially, I was drawn to their song “Hypocrite” which was on the album Split. When I got the CD home and listened to it, i was blown away by the opening song, “Light From a Dead Star.” While “Hypocrite” was a typical 90s alternative song, comparable to music from Smashing Pumpkins, “Light From a Dead Star” was entirely different. This album was my first foray into Dream Pop.

Dream Pop had been around since the mid 80s but was more of a UK thing. Even on college radio, it was rare to hear bands like the Cocteau Twins or This Mortal Coil. My own tastes, at the time, while far ranging still drifted towards harder edged music like Punk Rock or dance music, such as Techno.

The discovery of Dream Pop in the 90s, especially Mazzy Star and Lush, set me on course to find more, similar bands, including earlier Dream Pop bands.

Like so many other genres, Dream Pop seemed to fade away in the late 90s or early 2000s, though it still had influence on genres like Electronic Dance Music (EDM) and Trip Hop.

Starting in the mid-2000s, bands began to emerge that were more like Dream Pop rather than just Dream Pop influenced. This gained steam in the 2010s and we now have a Dream Pop revival that includes Alvvays, Best Coast, Beach House, and Bat for Lashes, even if those bands don’t identify as such.

This new episode of my podcast, Tunes Past to Present, explores the history of Dream Pop, the genres it influences (and didn’t influence), and modern Dream Pop bands. Along with it, there is a playlist on Spotify that lists a sampling of the songs that define the genre along with one that skirts the line between Dream Pop and Trip Hop. And while you do, remember to chill out and dream a little.