The texts we study are so full of dreams. Which sounds lovely. But – like love – dreams are complicated, unwieldy things. Here are the ten songs you should listen to if you want to really understand their multi-dimensional nature.

  • MUSIC FOCUS: Paramore, Ankor, Taylor Swift, Something Corporate, VV, Lonely The Brave, Neck Deep, Maggie Lindemann. Years & Years, Against The Current.
  • ACTIVITY FOCUS: The songs listed below will highlight ten different aspects of dreams. Use the ideas to inform multi-layered analysis of your course writers’ dream imagery.

10. Neck Deep: ‘A Part Of Me’

“Now all I can do is lay in my room
Fall asleep, dream of you
Then wake up and do nothing about it”

DREAMS PRESENTED AS: elusive; abstract; demoralising.

Neck Deep accept that their dreams are elusive. That word “all” suggests there is nothing beyond the dream – it is only of value in itself, and the pleasure it brings in the moment. Ultimately, the fact that it will lead to “nothing” highlights the dream’s demoralising nature. The idea that Neck Deep “fall” to sleep might be significant too. The metaphor infers a sense of dreaming as an experience of losing control, and even of danger if the landing place is too far off or overly solid. The verb “lay” is telling too – underlining the dream’s lack of tangible potential. The speaker is dormant – depressed by the abstract nature of the dreams. Any brief satisfaction the dream might offer is undermined by those inevitable futile waking hours.


  • Stage directions, ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’: “She (Blanche) stands there a little dreamily after he has disappeared.”
  • Nick, ‘The Great Gatsby’: “Jordan… unlike Daisy… was too wise ever to carry well-forgotten dreams from age to age.”

9. Paramore: ‘Misery Business’

“I watched his wildest dreams come true”

DREAMS PRESENTED AS: unpredictable; exciting; unifying, dangerous.


  • Nick, ‘The Great Gatsby’: “his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city”

8. Ankor: ‘Oblivion’

“If this is all a dream, then why can’t I escape?”

DREAMS PRESENTED AS: painful; difficult; incomprehensible; portentous.


  • Brabantio, ‘Othello’: “This accident is not unlike my dream: / Belief of it oppresses me already. / Light, I say! light!”
  • Othello, ‘Othello’: “But this denoted a foregone conclusion: / ‘Tis a shrewd doubt, though it be but a dream.”
  • Nick, ‘The Great Gatsby’: “I tossed half-sick between grotesque reality and savage, frightening dreams.”

7. Maggie Lindemann: ‘casualty of your dreams’

“I’m the casualty of your dreams
‘Cause I’m not the one”

DREAMS PRESENTED AS: impossible; idealistic; dangerous.


  • Nick, ‘The Great Gatsby’: “Daisy tumbled short of his dreams”

6. Taylor Swift: ‘Stay Stay Stay’

“You took the time to memorize me
My fears, my hopes and dreams”

DREAMS PRESENTED AS: important; precious; individual.


Shakespeare, ‘Sonnet 116’: “love is not love / Which alters when it alteration findes,”

5. Lonely The Brave: ‘Trick Of The Light’

“Don’t you wake me up, I’m dreaming”

DREAMS PRESENTED AS: an escape; relief; divisive.


  • Offred, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’: “The newspaper stories were like dreams to us, bad dreams dreamt by others.”

4. Against The Current: ‘lullaby’

“How the hell you dreaming
When the world’s a nightmare?”

DREAMS PRESENTED AS: indulgent; selfish; delusional; powerful; terrible.


  • Blanche, ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’: “Never, never, never in my worst dreams could I picture–Only Poe! Only Mr. Edgar Allan Poe!–could do it justice!”
  • Blanche, ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’: “You didn’t dream, but I saw! Saw! Saw!”
  • Nick, ‘The Great Gatsby’: “…foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams…”
  • Nick, ‘The Great Gatsby’: “poor ghosts, breathing dreams like air”

3. Years & Years: ‘Sweet Talker’

“You’re such a sweet talker
Man of my dreams
Tell me, where are you, where are you now?”

DREAMS PRESENTED AS: idealistic; temporary; illusory; painful.


  • Keats, ‘La Belle Dame…’: “And there I dreamed – Ah! woe betide!”
  • Offred, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’: “I dream that I get out of bed and walk across the room, not this room, and go out the door, not this door. I’m at home, one of my homes, and she’s running to meet me…”
  • Jay Gatsby, ‘The Great Gatsby’: “the dead dream fought on as the afternoon slipped away”
  • Nick, ‘The Great Gatsby’: “poor ghosts, breathing dreams like air”

2. VV: ‘Echolocate Your Love’

“If you wanna dream what I dream
Don’t close your eyes”

DREAMS PRESENTED AS: tangible; unifying; motivating; thrilling.


  • Nick, ‘The Great Gatsby’: “beyond the dreams of Castile.”
  • Daisy, ‘The Great Gatsby’: “You dream, you. You absolute little dream.”
  • Nick, ‘The Great Gatsby’: “And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors’ eyes—a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby’s house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.”

1. Something Corporate: ‘Konstantine’

“But I’m slipping in between
You and your big dreams”

DREAMS PRESENTED AS: individual; important; divisive; complicated.


  • Offred, The Handmaid’s Tale’: “…sudden apparitions, like Martians. There was a dreamlike quality to them; they were too vivid, too at odds with their surroundings.”


Read the paragraph I’ve written about Neck Deep’s “dream” lyric. Pick some other songs from the top ten list to write your own similarly styled paragraphs about. Each lyric is linked to a list of adjectives which you may want to use as fuel for your paragraphs, but feel free to use your own ideas.


Choose a ‘dream’ quote from one of the texts you’re studying (pick from the ones included above or make your own choices) and write a paragraph in response to the task:

Explore the significance of dreams.

Focus on the multi-layered analysis – looking at quotes from two or three angles.

Please do send your work in. I want to publish the most exciting answers and offer advice. Or send us a quote from one your course texts that we could incorporate above!

Now explore our favourite songs about colour.