• Siddhant Chandak

A Beginners Guide to Dreampop

Dreampop as a genre is probably one of the most difficult to dissect and categorize. While other genres such as rock or blues have very distinct ways of classifying them, dream pop as a genre is classified only by one thing: a feeling. A feeling of being lost, a feeling of ecstasy, and a vibe of existentialism. So if any of those things relate to you, this is the genre for you.

What is Dreampop?

Dream pop is a form of music which is evolved from alternative rock and neo-psychedelia. The defining characteristic of the genre is that it focuses on creating a mood and vibe much more than actually creating a melody. It aims to create an atmosphere for the listener which sucks them in. The musically quality sucks the listener to such an extent where they are not even sure where one song ends and the next one begins. Dreampop also overlaps with another genre of music called shoegazing, which has similar themes.




Although dream pop has very specific themes of existentialism and nihilism that it explores through its lyrics, very little focus is given to them. The lyrics are oftentimes not heard in the mix. Dreampop essentially aims to create the effect of tripping on drugs, where everything slowly becomes incomprehensible and the listener is just lost in the mood. Dreampop uses a lot of effects for creating the music as well such as distorted and breathy vocals and the use of several guitar effects, all to create different electronic textures.

A Brief History of Dream Pop

Dreampop finds its early roots in alternative rock bands such as TheBeach Boys and Velvet Underground. An early example of Dream pop is the beach boys song “All I Wanna Do”. The breathy and almost incomprehensible lyrics, the slow reverb in the background, and the guitar effects, all lay the foundations for the further developments in Dream Pop.




Velvet Underground in their debut album Velvet Underground and Nico also heavily incorporated repetition, tone, and texture over conventional song structure which was one of the initial milestones of the genre. Other influences also include the psychedelic rock phase which was brought in by bands such as The Beatles. Another early influence can be found in gothic rock, due to its similar guitar and voice effects.




In the late 1980s, Alex Ayuli of A.R. Kane was the first one who coined the term “dream-pop” to describe the music of his band. Thus this sparked the movement of the dream-pop wave, which was described as as “a wave of hazy neo-psychedelic groups”




Current Scene


With very few bands currently actually producing original Dreampop songs, much of the current “chillwave”, lo-fi, reverbed songs can be called as a derivative of Dreampop. Although there are a few bands that produce Dreampop. One of the most popular bands which are widely credited for bringing Dreampop to the current generation is Beach House. Their album Teen Dream credited them for bringing back the trend of dream pop.


Although this article in no way aims to cover the entire history of the vast genre of Dreampop, hopefully, it will act as a gateway drug, and plunge you as a reader to dive into a genre of existentialism, trippy sounds, and a feeling of being drugged. https://www.dreampop.it is a site that covers almost all albums of the Dreampop genre, categorized by the ear of its release. Kane was the first one who coined the term “dream-pop” to describe the music of his band. Thus this sparked the movement of the dream-pop wave, which was described as as “a wave of hazy neo-psychedelic groups”





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