Walking on a Dream

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For the title song of the album, see Walking on a Dream (song).
Walking on a Dream
Empire of the Sun - Walking on a Dream (album).png
Studio album by Empire of the Sun
Released 3 October 2008 (2008-10-03)
Recorded 2007
Studio Soundworks Music Studio,
Linear Recording
(Sydney, Australia)
Genre
Length 43:34
Label Capitol
Producer
Empire of the Sun chronology
Walking on a Dream
(2008)
Ice on the Dune
(2013)
Singles from Walking on a Dream
  1. "Walking on a Dream"
    Released: 30 August 2008
  2. "We Are the People"
    Released: 20 September 2008
  3. "Standing on the Shore"
    Released: 12 June 2009
  4. "Without You"
    Released: 25 September 2009
  5. "Half Mast (Slight Return)"
    Released: 15 January 2010

Walking on a Dream is the debut studio album by Australian electronic music duo Empire of the Sun, released on 3 October 2008 by Capitol Records. The album was produced by band members Luke Steele and Nick Littlemore, along with Peter Mayes and Donnie Sloan.

Walking on a Dream received 11 nominations at the ARIA Music Awards of 2009, winning seven, including Album of the Year. A special edition of the album, containing a bonus disc of remixes, B-sides, and unreleased tracks, was released on 20 November 2009.

Background and release[edit]

The album was recorded and mixed by Peter Mayes at Soundworks Music Studio in Sydney at various times throughout 2007, with additional recording by Chris Vallejo at Linear Recording, also in Sydney.[3] According to EMI Music Australia's website, the painting of Steele and Littlemore that comprises the album artwork was based on the iconic film posters for Indiana Jones and Star Wars.[4]

Walking on a Dream reached number eight on the Australian Albums Chart and number 19 on the UK Albums Chart.[5][6] The album has been certified double platinum in Australia and gold in the United Kingdom.[7][8]

"Walking on a Dream" was released on 30 August 2008 as the album's lead single.[9] The video features Steele and Littlemore, wearing faux-oriental costumes and makeup inspired by Peking Opera, on location along the Bund in Shanghai, China between 21 and 27 July 2008.[3][10]

The second single, "We Are the People", was released on 20 September 2008.[11] The video for the song was shot in Mexico, and used the ancient Mexican festival Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos) as its inspiration. Locations included the gardens of Sir Edward James at Las Pozas, Monterrey and García.[12]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 61/100[13]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[2]
Blender 3/5 stars[14]
The Guardian 3/5 stars[15]
The Independent 4/5 stars[16]
musicOMH 3/5 stars[17]
NME 8/10[18]
The Observer 3/5 stars[19]
Pitchfork Media 6.4/10[20]
PopMatters 5/10 stars[21]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[22]

Walking on a Dream received mixed to positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 61, based on 19 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews".[13] Andrew Leahey of AllMusic wrote that Empire of the Sun "[festoon] their music with oddball flourishes, androgynous lyrics, and a general sense of theatricality that borders on schizophrenia", concluding, "Like the music it promotes, the cover art is purposely ludicrous, but listeners who have a palette for such whimsy should walk away happy."[2] Martin Robinson of the NME described the duo as "silly but their songs demand to be taken seriously, just like Prince, Ultravox and Bowie."[18] Blender's Tyler Gray stated, "Acoustic guitar strummed in time with dance beats, tinny vocals and tons of slap-back reverb—it's like some magical pop formula concocted long ago by aboriginal Australian shamen [sic] and parceled out ever since to INXS, Midnight Oil, Outback Steakhouse jingle makers and now this turquoise-loving duo."[14] Andy Gill of The Independent opined that the songs "Walking on a Dream" and "We Are the People" "rather resemble The Beloved or Air, sharing with those duos the impression that the music just seems to have settled, like snow, around the melody."[16]

Mike Orme of Pitchfork Media wrote that "at their indulgent best [the duo] strike a trenchant middle ground between fantasy and historical revisionism", but expressed that "although Empire tries mightily, they collapse underneath too many ideas before the record is even half over."[20] Michael Cragg of musicOMH felt that the album "offers little in the way of musical experimentation" and that "[m]ost of it sounds like a strange amalgam of Fleetwood Mac and MGMT, as if the latter had been transposed from the slightly grubby streets of Brooklyn to the beaches of Australia."[17] Christian Hoard of Rolling Stone noted that the duo "have lots of straightforward pop chops, but they prefer to get wonky with cheesetastic, Eighties-flavored keyboards and nonsense rhymes like 'Hotdog belt donut melt/Magpie knelt by itself'", adding that the album "sounds like Europop on Special K".[22] At The Guardian, Dorian Lynskey commented that "the slick, pastel-wardrobed MOR of the title track and 'We Are the People' demonstrate melodic agility and sun-dazzled charm", but viewed the album as "a ripe cheese, best not consumed whole."[15] Alex Denney of The Observer remarked that "the record settles upon a cooler hue, favouring minor-key shuffles that, at their best, sound like prime Bangles cuts, but tend towards pedestrian 1980s pop hackery at their worst."[19] Tyler Fisher of PopMatters concluded that, "despite the well-developed '80s image, the music emulated is not anything worth reviving."[21]

Accolades[edit]

The album was listed at number 29 in the book 100 Best Australian Albums, published in October 2010.[23]

Awards[edit]

ARIA Awards[edit]

The ARIA Music Awards of 2009 nominations were announced on 8 October 2009.[24] Empire of the Sun received more nominations than any other artist, with a total of 11.[25] The winners were announced on 26 November 2009.[26]

Year Nominee/Work Award Result
2009 Walking on a Dream Album of the Year Won
Highest Selling Album Nominated
Best Pop Release Won
"Walking on a Dream" Single of the Year Won
Highest Selling Single Nominated
Best Video (directed by Josh Logue) Won
"We Are the People" Nominated
Empire of the Sun Best Group Won
Empire of the Sun and Donnie Sloan with Peter Mayes Producer of the Year Won
Aaron Hayward and David Homer from Debaser Best Cover Art Won
Peter Mayes Engineer of the Year Nominated

Brit Awards[edit]

Year Nominee/Work Award Result
2010 Empire of the Sun International Breakthrough Act[27] Nominated
Walking on a Dream International Album[27] Nominated

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Standing on the Shore"   4:23
2. "Walking on a Dream"  
  • Steele
  • Littlemore
  • Jonathan Sloan
3:16
3. "Half Mast"  
  • Steele
  • Littlemore
  • Sloan
  • Mayes
3:54
4. "We Are the People"  
  • Steele
  • Littlemore
  • Sloan
4:27
5. "Delta Bay"  
  • Steele
  • Littlemore
  • Mayes
3:12
6. "Country"   Littlemore 5:04
7. "The World"  
  • Steele
  • Littlemore
  • Mayes
4:36
8. "Swordfish Hotkiss Night"  
  • Steele
  • Littlemore
  • Mayes
3:55
9. "Tiger by My Side"  
  • Steele
  • Littlemore
  • Mayes
5:47
10. "Without You"  
  • Steele
  • Littlemore
  • Sloan
5:00

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Walking on a Dream.[31]

  • Empire of the Sun – production
  • Debaser – artwork, illustrations
  • Mike Marsh – mastering
  • Peter Mayes – mixing, production, recording
  • Donnie Sloan – production (tracks 2–4, 10)
  • Chris Vallejo – additional recording

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[7] 2× Platinum 140,000^
Germany (BVMI)[51] Gold 100,000^
Ireland (IRMA)[52] Gold 7,500^
United Kingdom (BPI)[8] Gold 100,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Edition Label Ref.
Australia 3 October 2008 Standard Capitol [53]
Ireland 13 February 2009 Virgin [54]
United Kingdom 16 February 2009 [17]
Denmark 18 February 2009 EMI [55]
Finland [56]
Norway [57]
Sweden [58]
Netherlands 20 February 2009 [59]
Switzerland [60]
Germany 13 March 2009 [61]
France 16 March 2009 [62]
Italy 27 March 2009 [63]
United States 21 April 2009
[64]
Japan 10 June 2009 EMI Japan [29]
Australia 20 November 2009 Special Capitol [65]
Germany EMI [30]
Italy [66]
France 23 November 2009 [67]
Denmark 25 November 2009 [68]
Finland [69]
Norway [70]
Sweden [71]

References[edit]

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