“Nice Dream” by Radiohead

The composition of (Nice Dream) was inspired by “My Sweet Lord“, the biggest solo hit of the late George Harrison’s career. The two songs are similar in nature in regards to the terseness of the verses as well as the simplistic repetitiveness of the chorus. Moreover both make use of religious references, though Harrison’s piece a lot more so.

Another difference is it being pretty clear who the intended addressee of “My Sweet Lord” is. By contrast, it’s largely left up to the listeners imagination as to who the “they” strongly referred to in the first verse of (Nice Dream) actually are. 

What is made abundantly clear is that from the vocalist’s perspective, “they love” and “protect” him, thus adding a great deal of comfort and value to his life. And along those lines Thom mentions a “garden”, which may well be a religious reference itself.

An Angel

In the second verse, we are met with the mention of “the good angel”, i.e. additional religious-based terminology, though it is sorta obvious that the vocalist doesn’t mean so in the spiritual sense but is rather describing his “friend” as such. What goes on to be implied is that despite Yorke holding this individual in such high regard, when he requests some kind of assistance from her, she comes up with an excuse not to help.

Nice Dream

Besides those two verses, the other part of the song consists of a chorus made up almost entirely of the phrase “nice dream”. So what it appears the vocalist is getting at is that maybe said verses are based on a fantasy, or let’s say more descriptively an ideology as opposed to reality.

The Conclusion

Putting all of those ideas together, this is one conclusion we can come to. The way “they” are described in the first verse represents how the vocalist ideologically perceives friendship, as an association where his brethren and sistren are fiercely dedicated to looking out for him. But as inferred in the second verse, upon calling upon one of them for help, the reaction Thom gets in response is very much less than ideal.

So as presented, it isn’t like envisioning your homeys as being loyal and loving is a good thing. Instead you have to be “strong enough” to handle such idea, in that there’s inevitably going to be related disappointments along the way.

Or, that’s at least one way of holistically interpreting this piece. The way the title has been officially cast in parenthesis further gives the impression that maybe Thom and the gang meant to place the onus on the listener in terms of interpreting the lyrics. After all, dropping a track critical of true friendship isn’t the best look when you’re part of a band. So that may explain why if such is actually the thesis sentiment of this piece, it is relayed in a somewhat esoteric manner.

Radiohead's "Nice Dream" Lyrics

Credits for (Nice Dream)

Radiohead bandmates are credited with writing this song. As such, the full list of credited writers looks like this:

  • Thom Yorke
  • Ed O’Brien
  • Phillip Selway
  • Colin Greenwood
  • Jonny Greenwood

Officially, Ed and Jonny are guitarists, with Colin being the bassist. But the legend behind this particular track is that the entire crew, as encouraged by producer John Leckie, rendered acoustic guitars herein. They did this in the name of trying to emulate the style of the George Harrison (1943-2001) classic “My Sweet Lord” (1970).

Date of Release

(Nice Dream) came out as part of Radiohead’s sophomore album “The Bends” on 13 March 1995. The entire album was backed by Parlophone Records. This label is a long-standing label primarily associated with the British music scene. 

And to note, this band is in fact from England and more specifically the rural county of Oxfordshire.

This song was not issued as a single, though initially Radiohead and co. were considering doing so.  However, (Nice Dream) did make a notable appearance on the third-season finale of the well-received sitcom How I Met Your Mother,. It specifically appeared in the episode titled “Miracles” which aired during May of 2008.

Nice Dream

1 Response

  1. David A says:

    i think the song is about being in an insane asylum. anyway…it is best left uninterpreted…this is my favorite RH song.

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