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Culture > Entertainment

The Crazy Stories Behind Glass Animals’ New Album Dreamland

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wisconsin chapter.

I was just introduced to an incredible English psychedelic pop band called Glass Animals. After a traumatic experience that the band faced, they created an astounding album called Dreamland. The album consists of instrumentals based off of childhood home videos, 60s rock to early 2000’s hip-hop, and tells their listeners extremely deep and personal backstories. This amazing album tells a story from start to finish. The more memories you know that are tied to each song, the more you will appreciate the album.

row of hospital beds
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels
In July 2018, the drummer of the band, Joe Seaward, was hit by a truck while riding his bike in Dublin and almost died. Seaward’s bandmate and childhood friend, Dave Bayley spent his time at Seaward’s hospital beside. “I didn’t know if Joe was going to survive, or recover,” he continues. “In a time like that, all you can seem to do is start thinking about the past,” said Bayley to The Independent. While Seaward spent weeks in the hospital unable to speak or move, his bandmate, Dave Bayley learned how other artists wrote albums about more personal experiences.

Bayley went deep into his thoughts through this hard time, asking himself questions about his own trauma, art and mortality, reflecting on his past memories.

Dreamland became an autobiographical record of Dave Bayley. His most personal stories about friendship, heartbreak and other memories about the loss of innocence were turned into the form of song. This album is a string of his deepest memories from childhood into adulthood that means to answer the question of “How did I get here?”

A torn pink paper heart strung on white string with a black background.
Photo by Kelly Sikkema from Unsplash
One of their most popular songs from the album, “Heat Waves,” is about Bayley’s best friend. The memory told in this song is when his best friend started dating someone and began to slowly change. First the way they dressed, then talked and pretty soon everything. Pretty soon, he did not even know who his best friend was anymore. Bayley talked to Apple Music about this song, saying “I was trying to figure out whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing, but ultimately I think it’s about hitting a wall — a point where you can’t change anymore or you’ll lose the foundation of who you are. You’ll become an attachment to that other person.” The loss of the best friend he used to know seemed to be a hard time for the band member. Watching your friend completely change in front of you and not being able to do anything about it can be both traumatic and heartbreaking.

Another intense background story comes from the song “Domestic Bliss.” This song entails one of his earliest memories at age 6. Bayley reflects on a day when he was playing at his friend’s house and witnessed his friend’s mom getting beat by his friend’s dad. At this point, he was too young to understand, but he remembers that he felt that he knew something was wrong.

One more song with a deep and traumatic experience behind it is “Space Ghost Coast to Coast”. This song is also about a close childhood friendship. As kids, they were close and did everything together, but when Bayley moved to England at age 13, the two pals grew apart. He heard years later that this same friend was wanted for attempting to bring a gun into a school, and is now on the run. Bayley shows in the lyrics of this song how hard it is to see someone you used to know so well to turn into someone you would never think that they would become.

multiple yellow and pink balloons, some with smiles and frowns on them
Photo by Hybrid from Unsplash

Although this whole album takes you through a depression trip of the sad stories from Bayley’s life, the last song, “Helium,” leaves Glass Animal’s listeners with hope. Bayley answers the question to his own album, “How did I get here?” by explaining through “Helium’s” lyrics that bad things in life happen for a reason. It just becomes your past, and life goes on. Your memories are what shapes you and the bad ones are just a small portion of all the good ones too. “Helium” then drifts off slowly to the end of the song with the same quiet, relaxing beat as the first song, “Dreamland.” The beat resembles Bayley’s acceptance of all the bad things that have happened to him throughout his life.

Glass Animals used the trauma they faced in 2018 to make an astounding album, Dreamland, that beats their other albums by a landslide. Both the beats and instrumentals, which were influenced by home videos from childhood and ‘60s rock to early 2000’s hip-hop, and the story behind Dreamland, along with the different memories tied to each song blows my mind.

https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/features/glass-animals-interview-dave-bayley-joe-seaward-dreamland-album-a9652556.html https://music.apple.com/us/album/dreamland/1508562310


Hello everyone! My name is Madelaine Triebold. I am from Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, and am currently a Sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I am a Journalism B.A. major that is taking the Strategic Communication track with a certificate in Digital Studies. Some fun facts about me are that I am a broadway musical fanatic and that I would gladly spend any day at a badger football game! Find me on instagram @mtriebold!
Kate O’Leary

Wisconsin '23

Kate is currently a senior at the University of Wisconsin Madison majoring in Biology, Psychology and Sociology. She is the proud co-president of Her Campus Wisconsin. Kate enjoys indoor cycling, spending time with friends, cheering on the Badgers and making the absolute best crepes ever!