|Stylistic origins||Pop rock, alternative rock, space rock, ethereal wave, post-punk, neo-psychedelia, ambient|
|Cultural origins||Mid-1980s, United Kingdom|
|Typical instruments||Vocals, guitar, bass, drums, synthesizers, keyboards|
|Derivative forms||Shoegazing, ambient pop|
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, as well as various post-punk and alternative rock bands like Sonic Youth, Hüsker Dü, The Smiths, Cocteau Twins, The Cure, Spacemen 3 and The Chameleons.
From the 1980s to early 1990s, bands such as Pale Saints, Spoonfed Hybrid, Spirea X, early-period Seefeel, early-period The Verve, 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.
Concurrently, a number of more predominantly guitar-driven dream pop bands emerged in the United States, including Sentinel, Alison's Halo, BOBBY, Low, Mazzy Star, Velour 100, Fine China, Love Spirals Downwards, Tears Run Rings, Porcelain Raft, Ars Poetica, Duster, Warm Ghost, Azure Ray and Frownland. In Europe, some dream pop bands emerged, mixing more folk or electronic components, such as The Legendary Pink Dots and Hooverphonic.
Influence over other styles 
A louder, more aggressive strain of dream pop came to be known as shoegazing; key bands of this style were Lush, Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine, Starflyer 59, Chapterhouse, Catherine Wheel, Ride, Medicine and Levitation. These bands kept the atmospheric qualities of dream pop, but added the intensity of post-punk-influenced bands such as The Chameleons and Sonic Youth. Shoegazing arose out of a love for dream pop's textures and moods, at the same time rejecting its more passive tendencies. Shoegaze was initially concentrated in England in the early 1990s. It is a foregrounding of effects-pedals over melody.
Further development 
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, bands like Sigur Rós, M83, Mercury Rev, ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, Dubstar, Laika, Asobi Seksu, Deftones, Broken Social Scene, Readymade, Bethany Curve, Halou, Windy & Carl, Trespassers William, Southpacific, Amusement Parks on Fire, Mira, Yume Bitsu, Devics, Xinlisupreme, Mew, Air Formation, Psychic Ills, Charlene, Auburn Lull, The Radio Dept., and (in their more recent years) Blonde Redhead have had the dream pop label attached to them. Groups like these are sometimes (dismissively) called nu-gaze bands. The genre terms "ambient pop" and post-rock have been applied to some of these artists as well.
A resurgence of dream pop in the independent music scene also occurred in the late 2000s, with successful indie acts of Beach House, Au Revoir Simone, Deerhunter, Animal Collective, Panda Bear, Bat for Lashes, High Places, Lykke Li, Chairlift, Anomie Belle, Grimes, Mimi Page, School of Seven Bells, Solo Major, Foxes in Fiction, Rem's Floating Chandelier, The xx, Ellie Goulding, Futurecop! Letting Up Despite Great Faults, Marissa Nadler, Holly Miranda, iamamiwhoami, Wild Beasts, and An Horse.
See also 
- Bogdanov, Vladimir (2001). All Music Guide to Electronica: The Definitive Guide to Electronic Music (4th ed.). Backbeat Books. pp. ix. ISBN 978-0879306281.
- John Bergstrom, "George Harrison: All Things Must Pass", PopMatters, 14 January 2011, http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/135411-george-harrison-all-things-must-pass/ (retrieved 1 April 2012)
- Anthony Carew (May 23, 2011). "Introducing: Bobby". About.com. Retrieved 2011-05-24. "Name: Bobby"
- "Warm Ghost -- Uncut Diamond (album) (music review)". ALTsounds. March 21, 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-08.
- Reynolds, Simon (1 December 1991), "Pop View; 'Dream-Pop' Bands Define the Times in Britain", The New York Times (The New York Times Company), retrieved 7 March 2010
- "Genre Profile - Shoegaze". About.com Alternative Music. Retrieved 2012-05-24.
- "Genre Profile - Post-Rock". About.com Alternative Music. Retrieved 2012-05-24.