We all love songs about dreams, because they can encapsulate so many different things. They can of course be literal, discussing the dreams we have when we’re asleep. They can be metaphorical–wondering about the dreams and goals that motivate us everyday. They can even be whimsical–like songs about daydreaming, for instance.
So in this article, I’m going to provide you with my absolute favorite songs that deal with the topic of dreaming. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you will have found a few new songs to add to your playlist (or even buy on vinyl record).
Songs About Dreams and Goals
Let’d kick this section off with a song by Shuba.
Icon by Shuba (2022)
An underrated, newly released song by Shuba about achieving her dream of becoming an ‘icon’. The track is simple, but Shuba’s voice is what really makes this song stand out. She transitions seamlessly from rap to a more lyrical tune.
Her voice is powerful and the confidence that she projects into the lyrics – “Watch me making my dreams / Promise you’ll remember me / I’m gonna be an icon”- will really having you singing along!
I Dreamed a Dream from Les Misérables (originally 1980)
After the 2012 film starring Anne Hathaway as Fantine, “I Dreamed a Dream” is famous not just with musical theater fans, but with a broader audience.
This heartbreaking song tells Fantine’s story – all the things she dreamed of when she was young, but was not able to achieve. From the very first lyrics, we can tell this isn’t going to be a happy song: “I dreamed a dream in time gone by / When hope was high / And life worth living”.
Even without knowing the musical (or book!), you can really feel the hopelessness of the song. The tune itself is melancholy and emotional, and ends with the desolate lyrics, “Now life has killed / The dream I dreamed”. Anne Hathaway’s performance is heartbreaking and emotional in a way that, at the time, hadn’t really been done before – it isn’t beautiful, but it isn’t supposed to be.
Hey Look Ma, I Made It by Panic! At The Disco (2018)
A sarcastic song about ‘making it’ in the music industry. From the title and the lyrics, we know that Brendon Urie is talking about how he has achieved his dreams of being successful with his music – “Hey look ma, I made it!”- but with this happiness seems exaggerated or even insincere, especially with the super upbeat tone.
This is a great record about dreams—but speaks of a dream that perhaps wasn’t what he imagined it to be. It’s definitely something relatable; we finally get the thing we want, but it’s not what we dreamed it would be and that makes us bitter.
Sweet Dreams by Eurythmics (1983)
This is a song I think everyone has heard in one way or another – on TV, on the radio, in the movies…It’s just super catchy with a tune that everyone would recognize if when they hear it!
The lyrics talk about people’s dreams, which in this case refers to our motivations or what keeps us going. Many of these motivations are quite dark: “Some of them want to use you / Some of them want to get used by you.
While most of the song is pretty gloomy, the bridge of “Hold your head up / Keep your head up” takes a more positive turn. It’s basically telling you to keep going, to keep living in spite of the hardships we might face in life.
Radio by Lana Del Rey (2012)
From the very start of the song, we are treated to an enchanting, dreamlike tune – almost as if we are part of the dream ourselves. The track really suits the vibe of the song and the theme of dreams.
The lyrics speak of how while Lana Del Rey has achieved her dreams, she feels that people only like her now because she’s “playing on the radio.”
She states: “Now my life is sweet like cinnamon / Like a f****n’ dream I’m livin’ in,” but you kind of get the feeling that maybe the dreams weren’t quite what she hoped they would be, just like with Panic! At The Disco’s “Hey Look Ma, I Made It.”
Overall, the song is dark and dreamy—a bit like Lana Del Rey herself.
High Hopes by Panic! At The Disco (2018)
This is the second Panic! At The Disco song included here, but I think it still deserves its place on the list. Unlike the sarcastic “Hey Look Ma, I Made It”, this one is a lot more hopeful. It’s catchy and powerful from the very beginning – super upbeat and immediately in-your-face with the beat and instrumentals. You can almost feel the hope just from that alone!
The lyrics talk about having to have “high hopes” and taking risks in order to achieve your dreams – “Rewrite your history / Light up your wildest dreams”. The underlying message is that you can’t give up having hopes for achieving your dreams.
Definitely a huge contrast to the other Panic! At The Disco song I included on this list, even though both of them talk about achieving your dreams!
Everything I Wanted by Billie Eilish (2019)
This is such a sad, simple tune. And for a Billie Eilish song, it’s actually pretty mellow and soft. That said, so much emotion is carried through her voice. The lyrics tell us of a literal dream that she had about getting “everything [she] wanted”.
Unfortunately, to her that meant her own suicide. In the dream, however, it ended up being more of a nightmare because no one cared that she had died.
At first, it’s not too clear what she’s talking about because the first verses are more vague. But it becomes pretty apparent what she’s talking about with the shocking “Thought I could fly / So I stepped off the golden” that is followed up by the devastating “Nobody cried / Nobody even noticed.”
I think it’s a pretty common thought or fear, that nobody would miss us if we were gone. It’s something a lot of people can relate to, which is what makes the song so powerful.
The song is not entirely hopeless—in the chorus she talks about waking up to see her brother and his support: “And you say, ‘As long as I’m here, no one can hurt you.’”
Her voice is just enchanting, and the track gets really cool with the lyrics “I tried to scream / But my head was underwater” when we can hear her voice kind of being drowned out.
A really great song about an actual dream (or nightmare) that Billie Eilish had!
Songs About Dreaming of Someone You Love
Let’s begin this section with the wonderful Selena.
Dreaming of You by Selena (1995)
The story of Selena is an inspiring one. And the end of her life is beyond tragic. But in that beautiful sweet spot is a song called “Dreaming of You,” which has to be one of the most beautiful love songs to come out of the 1990s.
On this track, Selena longs for a man she loves deeply. She won’t see him “til tomorrow,” so until then, she’ll be dreaming of him all night long.
The song isn’t so much about literal dreaming, so much is it about letting your imagination run wild at the thought of seeing your lover again.
It’s a beautiful song that somehow equally conveys love and loneliness. It’s probably Selena’s best known English-speaking song. And despite her large library of great records, it’s arguably one of her best songs as well.
Wildest Dreams by Taylor Swift (2015)
Taylor Swift’s “Wildest Dreams” talks about a relationship that she knows is doomed to end. She feels that this cannot be helped, but she hopes that her partner will still see her in his “wildest dreams.”
The song almost feels nostalgic for something that hasn’t happened yet, but inevitably will – it’s heartbreaking in that way. The final “in your wildest dreams” comes out breathy and lonely – kind of expressing how she knows that she will be alone in the end.
Dancing on a Dream by Majid Jordan (2021)
This is a song about being so in love with someone you’ve recently met, that it doesn’t just feel like you’re in a dream, but dancing for joy on a dream.
On this track, Majid Jordan created a record that’s full of pure joy and, as the lyrics put it, “ecstasy.” If you’ve ever been in love so much so that your waking life felt surreal, then you’ll love “Dancing on a Dream.”
Songs About Dreams You’ll Love
Let’s kick off this section with a track by Aespa.
Dreams Come True by Aespa (2021)
Whoa, wait a minute? Do we have K-pop songs about dreams on this list? You bet we do–well, at least one!
In this song, I’ll give it to you that the intro and some of the verses are a little weird, but once you get to the chorus, it’s actually really catchy! With “Funny how all dreams come true (My dreams come true”), it’s easy to find yourself singing along.
The lyrics basically talk about how aespa’s dreams have, not surprisingly, come true. But it seems like they are referring to the life or the lover that they dreamed of:
“Funny how I feel for you / It’s going to be by your side / And also my dreamy future.”
Some of the other lyrics are a little more questionable, but the chorus kind of makes up for that and the song is very uplifting overall.
Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day (2004)
“Boulevard of Broken Dreams” is a song about hopelessness and lost dreams. It’s a pretty iconic song that is still popular today. It might be a little overused, but I still think it’s a great song to include since it talks about dreams and it’s a song that a lot of people will be familiar with.
Both the feeling of having lost hope for your dreams and the feeling that you have no one (“But it’s only me and I walk alone”) are something many people can relate to.
Dream On by Aerosmith (1973)
Probably one of the most notable “dream” songs of the past several decades, “Dream On” is an amazing record about how life can go by in an instant.
One day, we’re carefree kids. Soon afterward, we’re teens preparing for college.
And before you know it, you wake up one day trying to figure out how so many wrinkles got on your face.
But “Dream On” is also just as much about appreciating the present moment as it is acknowledging and mourning the past. While the chorus does paint a picture that life is fragile and you never know what’s around the corner, it also cautions the listener to live for the moment.
And fun fact—Eminem sampled “Dream On” for his song “Sing for the Moment.”
Levanter by Stray Kids (2020)
A lot of songs by this group talk about dreams, but this one stands out in particular for the lyrics and the overall tone. Listening to the track itself, the instrumentals are simple and dreamlike, really setting the stage for the whole song.
What’s really interesting about this song is that there are actually two versions of it: a Korean version and an English version.
Because of that, the two songs, while still talking about dreams in some way, end up feeling pretty different. The Korean version definitely feels a lot darker.
Here are two versions of the same line (one from the English and one from the translation of the Korean lyrics) –
English: “I let my dreams tie me down / Is it too late, can I break out?”
Translation of the Korean version: “I’ve been deceiving myself / The moment I wake up from the dream I’ve endured”
So, while both talk about the idea of a dream (or a life goal) holding them back or not being exactly what they wanted, the Korean lyrics really do feel a lot heavier!
The Best Songs About Daydreaming
Let’s start this section off with a Tatyana Ali song from the late 1990s.
Daydreamin’ by Tatyana Ali (1998)
If you loved the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” then of course you’re familiar with Tatyana Ali, who played the lovable character of Ashley Banks. And, if you’re a super fan of the show, then you might even remember the two episode arc that featured Ashley Banks trying (and eventually failing) to become a pop star.
But what you might not know, or maybe just forgot, is that Tatyana herself released an entire album (Kiss the Sky) in 1998. And the single that got the most play on the radio from that album was called Daydreamin‘.
This song was an upbeat, pop friendly track that kind of had a cute, flirtatious-but-ultimately-innocent vibe. Released in July of 1998, it really was the perfect summer song for any teenager or young person in the 1990s.
Daydream in Blue by I Monster (1998)
This song is kind of trippy and dreamy – which really fits the topic of daydreams. The lyrics talk about the daydreams and dreams in general that they have about a lover. Some of the dreams are more sweet and flowery, while the others have a more sensual nature.
The more innocent “Daydream / I fell asleep amid the flowers / For a couple of hours” contrasts with the “I dream a dirty dream of you, baby / You’re crawling on the bathroom floor / You float around the room and you’re naked”.
Overall, definitely trippy, but also really catchy!
The subject of “dreams” is such a big category. Some of the songs on this list were about literal dreams (“Daydream in Blue”) or nightmares (“Everything I Wanted”), while others referred to dreams as goals or ambitions.
“I Dreamed a Dream” spoke of lost hope and “Hey Look Ma, I Made It” talked about a dream not being all it was cracked up to be.
Songs like “Dreams Come True” and “High Hopes” were more hopeful and focused on achieving one’s dreams.
All of these songs about dreams are memorable in one way or another. And if there’s a few songs here that you’ve never heard of before, I highly encourage you to give them a try.
You Might Also Like:
- Songs About Fighting Back
- Songs About Love at First Sight
- Songs About Believing in Yourself
- Songs About Storms