Alt-J releases the realistic and puzzling album The Dream


Apple Music

Alt-J captures the light and airy aspect of the rather dark album on the cover.

Adventure unfolds in peculiar ways with Alt-J’s new album, The Dream. The typical psychedelic and wavy synthesis of Alt-J’s music has always attracted listeners and piqued their curiosity. The British folk/rock band incorporates their abstract ideas into their thought process to produce music relatively close, but wildly different. 

The clever title implies a sweet utopian approach, but no blissful euphoria was emitted; in fact, the story behind their eccentric lyrics is rather dark, sensitive, and difficult for the faint of heart to digest. Despite the demoralized meaning, The Dream is another timeless album released by Alt-J.

To throw the world of music off guard, Alt-J chose an album that depicts how light-hearted a dream someone has can be. Initially, I was expecting an album similar to An Awesome Wave: those songs are so simple, yet catchy. They’re perfect for late-night endeavors as I traverse the ever-changing terrain around me and the enthusiasm that resonates with the lyrics teases my drive for adrenaline. 

The Dream is not at all like Alt-J’s most popular—and objectively best—album, An Awesome Wave. The album cover and title are very deceiving, but they’re deceiving in a way that doesn’t deter a curious listener from enjoying the pieces like “Powders” and “The Actors.” 

Four of the twelve tracks are about death, and “Losing My Mind,” is written from the perspective of a serial killer. A few more have an unsettling motive of grief, like “Get Better,” and the rest are essentially about losing touch with reality through drugs. In the topic-heavy music, the motif usually flows within the deeply crafted lyrics and draws out the importance of staying true to your personality without being influenced by the unnatural. 

In the topic-heavy music, the motif usually flows within the deeply crafted lyrics and draws out the importance of staying true to your personality without being influenced by the unnatural. ”

The introductory lyric in the first track, “Bane,” is, “I sold my soul/I sold my soul.” The less analytical breakdown of this has nothing to do with drugs or death, but rather a sip of Coca-Cola. However, Alt-J loves to have their listeners dig for the meaning behind the music they produce, and my interpretation of this was everything drug-related, being the over-analyzer I am. 

Given by “Powders” title, it is about instant attraction to something, whether that be love at first sight or simply initiating a new chase for hardcore substances. The song itself is cool-toned and isn’t over-exaggerated or complicated. Just like the rest of the album, “Powders” had the typical Alt-J tune that matches the charisma of the beautiful album artwork. 

The group, yet again, showcased their unique talents and styles by grasping instrumentals that distract me from the not-so-indecent double entendre. 

This is the music that I love hearing. Alt-J transforms different genres into a category of music only they can pull off. It’s pop, but it’s not pop. It’s more rock, but it isn’t as intense as other typical rock songs. It’s exceedingly different from the mushy, half-thought garbage artists nowadays produce, and with that, it’s hard to critique a group that is known for their vivacious music that shapes a lively discography. 

There is no room for improvement with Alt-J. Simply, they are their own beings that will not conform to the majority’s music taste. With The Dream, it was more about conveying a deep message while also having fun with their zesty ideas, and because the group is perfect in all ways, I now have an album when I’m ready for a new, thrilling—and safe—endeavor.