A Bad Dream

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"A Bad Dream"
Single by Keane
from the album Under the Iron Sea
Released 22 January 2007 (United Kingdom)
Format 7" vinyl
CD single
256 MB USB memory stick
Recorded Heliocentric Studios, Rye, East Sussex
The Magic Shop, New York
Genre Synthpop
Length 5:06 (album version)
4:05 (radio edit)
Label Island
Songwriter(s) Tim Rice-Oxley (Main writer)
Tom Chaplin
Richard Hughes
Producer(s) Andy Green
Keane singles chronology
"Try Again"
"A Bad Dream"
"The Night Sky"
"Try Again"
"A Bad Dream"
"The Night Sky"
Under the Iron Sea track listing
"Leaving So Soon?"
"A Bad Dream"
"Hamburg Song"

"A Bad Dream", often mistitled as "Bad Dream", is a song by English rock band Keane appearing as the fifth track on their second album, Under the Iron Sea. It was released on 22 January 2007 as the fifth and final single from the album. The song peaked at No. 23 in the UK Singles Chart, becoming the band's first single to miss the top 20.

Track listings[edit]

A track titled "The Night Sky" was believed to be the obvious choice for a B-side as it was an unreleased track on Under the Iron Sea, mentioned several times and thought to have a relation with the song, but Keane instead included for the first time both cover songs ("She Sells Sanctuary" by The Cult and "Enjoy the Silence" by Depeche Mode) and a remix of the single by the noted hardcore artist Luna-C in the commercial release. "The Night Sky" was instead released as the next single.

CD single[edit]

Catalogue number: 1723057

  1. "A Bad Dream"
  2. "She Sells Sanctuary"
  3. "A Bad Dream" (Luna-C Hardcore Remix)
  4. "A Bad Dream" live in Berlin (video)

UK 7" vinyl[edit]

Catalogue: 1723058

  1. "A Bad Dream"
  2. "She Sells Sanctuary"

256 MB USB memory stick content[edit]

    • "A Bad Dream"
    • "A Bad Dream" (video)
    • "Enjoy the Silence" (Depeche Mode cover)
    • "A Bad Dream" (Luna-C Bangin' Remix)
    • Competition to see the band at Wembley

Composition and recording[edit]

It was composed by Tim Rice-Oxley and Tom Chaplin. It was recorded at the Heliocentric Studios, Rye, East Sussex and at The Magic Shop, New York.

Information about song's meaning[edit]

It was partially based on the "An Irish Airman Foresees His Death" poem by W.B. Yeats. Rice-Oxley explained on a podcast:

We wanted to get a balance between a kinda dream sequence. It starts very quietly, and I love the idea of being in a plane, like a Spitfire or something, being so high up in the sky that you can't hear the guns below you and so on. And it's almost got a serene silence which is what this Yeats poem seemed to really express. The song starts very quietly, but it gets huge and angry as it goes on... The big distorted washy piano sound in the middle is a pretty vast sound and it's I guess an attempt to express all that anger bursting out.


She Sells Sanctuary[edit]

This song is a cover of the Cult's original song. It's the first song released since June 2001 ("She Has No Time") that includes acoustic guitar on the recording.


  • Acoustic guitar
  • Bass
  • Drums
  • Distorted piano
  • Electric piano
  • Synthesizer
  • Vocals (by Tom Chaplin)

A Bad Dream (Luna-C Hardcore Remix)[edit]

The song includes a hardcore style instrumentation never heard on a Keane release before.

Technical information on songs[edit]

Song Length Tempo Key Time signature Genre
"A Bad Dream" 5:06 72bpm Eb (Mi flat major) 4/4 on 8 beats Ballad
"She Sells Sanctuary" 4:36 130bpm D (Re major) 4/4 on 8 beats Rock
"A Bad Dream" (Luna-C Hardcore mix) 5:41 150bpm Ebm (Mi flat minor) 4/4 on 16 beats Hardcore

Music video[edit]

The music video for "A Bad Dream" was shot on 22 November 2006 and premiered a month later. The essentially simple promo features singer Tom Chaplin inside a totally black room. Then a white stripe of light can be seen getting bigger and bigger until the point of the room being completely white. Later on, a black stripe can be seen again getting bigger and bigger until the whole room is black again.

An alternate version released on Yahoo Launch UK features short clips of Tim Rice-Oxley and Richard Hughes intercut into the original, looking at Chaplin with melancholic faces.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart Peak position
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[1] 77
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[2] 23
UK Download (Official Charts Company)[3] 37


External links[edit]