What is “dream pop,” you might ask? It’s an indie subgenre of alt rock and neo-psychedelia (sort of like chillwave and shoegaze). This style of music certainly isn’t for everyone per se. But if you are indeed into dream pop, the odds are that you are a hardcore fan of it. And if you are a hardcore fan, you know that Beach House is The Beatles of dream pop. Every Beach House album is among the best dream pop albums ever. But out of all of these incredible albums, two that stand out: Teen Dream and Bloom. You can’t go wrong with either. “Myth,” the lead track on Bloom, is the band’s all-time greatest song. But for me personally, Teen Dream is Beach House’s greatest achievement. It is an album that changed my life, as well as music itself. It redefined the musical experience. It’s a magical work of art.
Teen Dream begins with its guns blazing. The first four songs on the tracklist—”Zebra,” “Silver Soul,” “Norway,” and “Walk in the Park”—are all stunning. These are flawless, iconic songs. And they’re so different, even though the sense of ethereal magic remains constant throughout them. The middle of the album isn’t quite as strong as the start. It peters out a little in songs like “Lover of Mine” and “Better Times.” Then again, these are still great songs; it’s just that the first four set the bar really high. But don’t worry. The 10-song tracklist picks back up at the end—culminating again in the songs “10 Mile Stereo” and, the last song on Teen Dream, “Take Care.” These songs are intimate works. It is totally permissible to get immersed in the sounds. But the lyrics are just as special. One of my favorite things about the lyrics is that they find a balance between being intimate, personal, and evocative as well as vague, dynamic, and malleable enough to strike a chord within audiences of all types (regardless of your experiences).
Granted, it’s very difficult to compare songs within a Beach House album. It’s clear that the Baltimore-based duo is more focused on creating cohesive albums than mere collections of isolated tracks. The album floats along from its start to its end seamlessly. This is also the band that I listen to on shuffle the most (rather than listening to songs in a certain order) because all of the songs flow so well together. Beach House is one of my favorite bands of all time. We have ventured through life together. So many stories. So many moments. This band got me through my hardest times. Anyway, if I had to pick six favorites on this album, I’d certainly pick the first four and then “10 Mile Stereo” and “Take Care.” Lately, my favorites have been “Silver Soul” and “Norway.” But it’s hard to go wrong with anything. Like I said earlier, Beach House isn’t for everyone. Some consider it “stoner music.” Maybe. But I find the music to be quite sobering. When I listen to Teen Dream, I find myself in reflection—about my life, my dreams, my youth—and I admire the poetic lyrics and mesmerizing sounds. This album is a timeless game changer.