Dream pop

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Dream pop (or dreampop)[7] is a subgenre of alternative rock[1] and neo-psychedelia[3] that developed in the 1980s.[1] The style is typified by a preoccupation with atmosphere and texture as much as melody.[8]

Etymology and history[edit]

See also: Shoegazing

"Dream pop", which is thought to relate to the "immersion" in the music experienced by the listener,[9] was coined in the late 1980s by Alex Ayuli to describe the music of his band A.R. Kane.[10] It was later adopted by music critic Simon Reynolds to describe the nascent shoegazing scene in the UK.[3] In the 1990s, "dream pop" and 'shoegazing" were interchangeable and regionally dependent terms, with "dream pop" being the name by which "shoegazing" was known in America.[11]

Reynolds described dream pop bands as "a wave of hazy neo-psychedelic groups", noting the influence of the "ethereal soundscapes" of bands such as Cocteau Twins.[3] Rolling Stone also described dream pop as originating with the early 1980s work of Cocteau Twins and their contemporaries.[12] PopMatters noted an evolutionary line from gothic rock to dream pop.[2] Rolling Stone considered Julee Cruise's 1989 album Floating into the Night, written and produced with David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti, as a significant development of the dream pop sound which "gave the genre its synthy sheen."[12] George Harrison's 1970 album All Things Must Pass, with its Wall of Sound and fluid arrangements, led music journalist John Bergstrom to credit it as an influence on dream pop.[13] AllMusic stated that the ambient pop genre was "essentially an extension of the dream pop that emerged in the wake of the shoegazer movement".[6]


See also: Gothic rock

The AllMusic Guide to Electronica defines dream pop as "an atmospheric subgenre of alternative rock that relies on sonic textures as much as melody".[8] Common characteristics are breathy vocals and use of guitar effects, often producing a "wall of noise".[8][3] In the view of Reynolds, dream pop "celebrates rapturous and transcendent experiences, often using druggy and mystical imagery".[3] Dream pop tends to focus on textures and moods rather than propulsive rock riffs.[14] Vocals are generally breathy or sung in a near-whisper, and lyrics are often introspective or existential in nature.[14]

List of artists[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Anon (n.d.). "Dream Pop". AllMusic. 
  2. ^ a b ""Bela Lugosi's Dead": 30 Years of Goth, Gloom, and Post-Post-Punk". PopMatters. Retrieved 2017-01-11. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f 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 
  4. ^ Nathaniel Wice / Steven Daly: "The dream pop bands were lionized by the capricious British music press, which later took to dismissing them as "shoegazers" for their affectless stage presence.", Alt. Culture: An A-To-Z Guide to the '90s-Underground, Online, and Over-The-Counter, p.73, HarperCollins Publishers 1995, ISBN 0-0627-3383-4
  5. ^ Weiss, Dan (July 6, 2012). "Slutwave, Tumblr Rap, Rape Gaze: Obscure Musical Genres Explained". LA Weekly. 
  6. ^ a b "Ambient Pop". AllMusic. 
  7. ^ Abebe, Nitsuh (July 22, 2011). "Chillin' in Plain Sight". Pitchfork. 
  8. ^ a b c Bogdanov, Vladimir (2001). The AllMusic Guide to Electronica, Backbeat UK, ISBN 978-0-87930-628-1, p. ix.
  9. ^ Goddard, Michael et al (2013) Resonances: Noise and Contemporary Music, Bloomsbury Academic, ISBN 978-1-4411-5937-3
  10. ^ 4AD: "The studio-based outfit comprised East London duo Alex Ayuli and Rudi Tambala, who described their music as "dreampop"." A.R. Kane short info
  11. ^ Tyler, Kieron (17 January 2016). "Reissue CDs Weekly: Still in a Dream - A Story of Shoegaze". The Arts Desk. 
  12. ^ a b Grow, Kory (July 25, 2014). "Dream Team: The Semi-Mysterious Story Behind the Music of 'Twin Peaks'". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Retrieved August 6, 2016. 
  13. ^ John Bergstrom, "George Harrison: All Things Must Pass", PopMatters, 14 January 2011, (Retrieved 1 April 2012)
  14. ^ a b Bogdanov, Vladimir (2001). All Music Guide to Electronica: The Definitive Guide to Electronic Music (4th ed.). Backbeat Books. pp. ix. ISBN 978-0-87930-628-1.