Happy Nightmare Baby

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Happy Nightmare Baby
Happy Nightmare Baby cover.JPG
Studio album by Opal
Released 1987
Genre Paisley underground
Length 41:31
Label SST SST-103 (LP)
Producer David Roback
Opal chronology
Northern Line (EP)
Happy Nightmare Baby
Early Recordings

Happy Nightmare Baby is the debut album by the American band Opal, released in 1987 by SST Records.[1] It was the only album released by the band while together, singer Kendra Smith leaving during the tour to promote it, to be replaced by Hope Sandoval, the band evolving into Mazzy Star.[2][3]

The album was produced by the band's guitarist and co-songwriter David Roback, who said of the album: "Happy Nightmare Baby was a very electric record. We were very orientated towards playing live at that point. What we’d been doing before that was very acoustic, and then we thought we’d make it very electric."[4]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars [1]

Ned Raggett, reviewing the album for Allmusic, gave it four stars out of five, calling it "at once drowsy, psychedelic, entrancing, and possessed of a sinuous spark".[1] It was described by PopMatters in 2009 as a "lost semi-masterpiece".[3] Trouser Press described Smith's singing as "laconic", some of the instrumentation as "self-indulgent nonsense" and the pace as too slow, but viewed the album as "ultimately satisfying".[5] Andrew Earles, in his book Gimme Indie Rock: 500 Essential American Underground Rock Albums 1981-1996 described the album as "Velvet Underground meets T-Rex at the intersection of proto-shoegaze and neo-psychedelia".[6]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Rocket Machine" (David Roback) 4:24
  2. "Magick Power" (Roback, Kendra Smith) 6:14
  3. "Relevation" (Roback) 2:53
  4. "A Falling Star" (Roback, Smith) 1:21
  5. "She's a Diamond" (Roback, Smith) 4:18
  6. "Supernova" (Roback, Smith) 4:17
  7. "Siamese Trap" (Roback, Smith) 6:38
  8. "Happy Nightmare Baby" (Roback, Smith) 2:52
  9. "Soul Giver" (Roback) 8:34


  1. ^ a b c Raggett, Ned Happy Nightmare Baby Review", Allmusic. Retrieved April 17, 2016
  2. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas "Opal Biography", Allmusic. Retrieved April 17, 2016
  3. ^ a b Murphy, Sean (2009) "Keeping Hope Alive: Remembering Opal and Mazzy Star", PopMatters, April 23, 2009. Retrieved April 17, 2016
  4. ^ Bonner, Michael (2015) "A Mazzy Star interview: “There’s happiness, but there’s also torture…”", Uncut, April 24, 2015. Retrieved April 17, 2016
  5. ^ Schoemer, Karen & Robbins, Ira "Kendra Smith/Opal", Trouser Press. Retrieved April 17, 2016
  6. ^ Earles, Andrew (2014) Gimme Indie Rock: 500 Essential American Underground Rock Albums 1981-1996, Voyageur Press, ISBN 978-0760346488, p. 227