An oral history featuring dozens of interviews with the artists and observers of the British cultural explosion of 1975-1985. Arisen from the remnants of the post-punk period, the New Romantics introduced club culture, ska, electronica, and goth to the world.
Sweet Dreams tactfully sidesteps whether some of the New Romantics mirrored the celebrity-for-celebrity’s sake aspirations of many of today’s vloggers and influencers. But Jones makes a convincing case that their penchant for what used to be called 'gender-bending' and their sartorial obsession with self-expression as 'a platform for identity' foreshadows a lot of 2020’s hot-button topics. The book is excellent on the movement’s origins both in the aspirational teenage style cult that built around Bryan Ferry in the mid-70s and the more fashion-forward occupants of the same era’s gay clubs and soul nights ... And Jones is far more clear-eyed about the era than you might expect ... Sweet Dreams loses focus when the New Romantic bands become huge in the US ... Jones seems to lose interest, pursuing other pop-cultural threads that don’t quite tie together, from Madonna and Prince to the launch of the Groucho Club, and Sweet Dreams starts feeling not unlike falling down an internet rabbit hole ... It pulls itself together at the end ... It’s a little over-long and digressive, but you finish the book convinced its author has a point.
Dylan Jones’s Sweet Dreams is a vast and fascinating collection of interviews that showcase a decade of British music and culture—the New Romantic period ... Sweet Dreams contextualizes the fashion, politics, sex, and technology involved in the music of The New Romantics, allowing the story of the movement to be told by those who created it.
... full of synths, style, and substance (no, really) ... Jones captures a moment when acts like Gary Numan, Yazoo, and Soft Cell were delivering pioneering synth-pop graced with some of Bowie’s stardust ... The assembled commentators come armed with dishy anecdotes, though casual readers would be satisfied with a book half as long ... A factoid-rich if bloated tribute to an overly maligned moment in pop history.