Dream: It Was All A Dream Album Review

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Dream: It Was All A Dream Album Review

Score: 72/100

Top 3 Tracks: He Loves U Not, In My Dreams, What We Gonna Do About Us

He Loves U Not: 8/10

The hit single for the group, this song was written by David Frank, Pam Sheyne and Steve Kipner, the geniuses behind “Genie in a Bottle.” They do the same formula — taking a well-known  analogy, here pulling flower petals to predict if a guy loves you or not — and turning it on its head, and then setting it all to a non-bubble-gum pop instrumental. It’s a different sound for a girl group — darker and more R&B. It’s still got a sweet flavor with the blips, but with a more raw and rougher edge with the guitars and drum beats. I love Holly’s distinctive vocals that really carry the song.

In My Dreams: 8/10

The urban sound is refreshing and it comes off as more Destiny’s Child and TLC. It’s too long, especially for single consideration and after the third chorus, it feels repetitive and heavy. Diddy’s spoken word for their names should be dropped — we got the intro for that. But other than that, it’s a cool, mature-sounding song that just sounds so edgy. It’s clear that this kind of a sound is where the group excels. There’s just nothing else on the record like it.

This is Me: 8/10

Dream goes for a more straight forward pop-girl sound with their second single. It feels more Spice Girls/Britney Spears like, but it’s another Frank and Kipner-penned tune, and it’s sweetly feminine without being too overbearing. The rap in the middle is laughable now and just feels awkward, but the production is slick, thought it borders on feeling too processed.

Ah, bandanas. Why were you ever cool?

Ah, bandanas. Why were you ever cool?

I Don’t Like Anyone: 7/10

An interesting choice of the rev-up sound effect throughout the instrumental. Without it, the song would be boring. The track is a less sparkly version of This Is Me, but it feels a little too pre-teen compared with the more mature-sounding In My Dreams. For a song that should sound so earnest, Holly and the rest of the girls actually sound disinterested and sleepy. It’s a fun bop, but doesn’t quite hit the mark as well as it could. Check out the country version on Jessica Andrew’s 2001 Who I Am album.

Pain: 4/10

No. Just no. This is just not good, and is even more atrocious combined with the cringe-worthy preceding interlude. The chorus is repetitive, the song goes nowhere and the vocal effects are annoying. The instrumental is simplistic and that rap verse . . . that rap verse. Above all, it commits the cardinal sin of debut pop groups by talking about how wildly famous they’re going to be before they’ve even started. Halfway through, the song just doesn’t know where else to go. There is just nothing redeemable about it.

When I Get There: 8/10

What’s great about this track is the atmosphere the instrumental provides. It’s ethereal, mysterious and flowing, which compliments the lyrics very well, with the song being about a girl in an unhappy relationship and is uncertain about everything. All she knows is that when she finds the one, she’ll know. It’s a nice slow ballad that was greatly needed. Sad that it comes so late in the album.

What We Gonna Do: 8/10

I like the disco-y vibe this R&B tune has, and after the last few pop tracks, it’s nice to get back to Destiny’s Child-type tracks. I feel like the group does the cool R&B vibe very well. The blippy sound effects are annoying, but that bass is great.

Mr. Telephone Man: 5/10

A remake of the New Edition hit, I feel Holly sells it, but it begs the question of “Why this song?” It was irrelevant in 2001 and it’s downright obsolete now. If the group has to do a cover, why this one? It has the good R&B groove, but it offers little else for them to work with. It’s too repetitive and it’s too long.

Angel Inside: 6/10

Again, a good groove, which is great considering I thought a song titled “Angel Inside” would be girly pop fluff, but it’s ultimately forgettable. It’s nearly indistinguishable coming after What We Gonna Do and Mr. Telephone Man, so if the album were rearranged differently, it might have stood out more. Plus, it gets bogged down by simplistic lyrics like, “If this feeling goes away/I could cry/If you wanna know why/Cause you make me feel good inside.”

Do U Wanna Dance: 7/10

This is a fun song to bop to and it carries that 70’s vibe that What We Gonna Do had. While it’s great to dance to, the vocals just lack in energy. All the vocal layering and sound effects and synths can’t hide the fact that the girls sound rather bored by the end of the song. It’s all too much and yet, not enough. And once again, there’s that name checking. I know who you are — your name is on the CD.

Miss You: 6/10

This is a sweet little ballad, but not one that would have made an impression on me as a single as it was intended. I like the piano and it’s got a sweet pop feel fused with an R&B drum track, but When I Get There had more personality and is the better ballad. The chorus is repetitive and this sentimental teenager song goes no further than “I miss you” and that’s it.

How Long: 6/10

Another sweet typical by-the-numbers pop ballad with chimes and piano. I like the combination of the breathy background voices with Holly’s stronger, more assertive vocal, but I feel the girls go through the motions of the song and are unconvincing in their desperateness to find their true love. It’s not a good look for a group that had much more attitude and self-assurance in “He Loves U Not.” Sad that the album proper ends on such a “meh” note.

Conclusion:

Don’t let the lower scores and critiques put you off. Dream, while not as good as Destiny’s Child or TLC, are miles ahead of other manufactured pop groups like No Secrets and Eden’s Crush. They benefit the most from being put together by music mogul P.Diddy and he gives them some slick and groovy beats to sing to. The album, which bounces back and forth between straight girl pop and more mature, cool R&B grooves, gets bogged down by filler interludes that add nothing, songs that don’t truly stand out from each other, and the constant name-checking of the band and its members. Just because I know their names doesn’t mean I know their personalities. Like every manufactured pop group, Dream has a hard time with sincerity in songs like “How Long” “Miss You,” and “I Don’t Like Anyone.” The group has an easily recognizable lead vocal in Holly, but overall they lack the charismatic persona of groups like Destiny’s Child and TLC. Make no mistake though, they are better than the other pop acts of their time.

And of course, no pop group is complete without  their creepy doll look-a-likes.

And of course, no pop group is complete without their creepy doll look-a-likes.

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