Hippo Campus — “Bad Dream Baby”: DJ Pick of the Week

Photo by Brittany O'Brien

Indie rock staples Hippo Campus returned last week for the first time since 2018 with their new single “Bad Dream Baby.” They released the track to announce their upcoming EP Good Dog, Bad Dream, which is out on August 6th. The song flourishes with an infectious guitar riff and captivating lyrics, which makes it great for your summer playlists. “Bad Dream Baby” is Jayson’s DJ Pick of the Week!

Lead singer Jake Luppen told American Songwriter that the lyrics to the song are a “stream of consciousness.” They cover topics from the complexity of his relationship with his father, a Britney Spears documentary, and the grief he feels over losing a family dog. “The hook references my exit from the Mormon religion when I was 15, the isolation I felt during quarantine, and the death of the dog my mom got me during my parents’ intense divorce,” Luppen added. The lyrics are a great illustration of how humor can be used to help keep you afloat through rough times, and, combined with the bright sounds and guitars Hippo Campus are known for, they really help the song pack a punch. 

The song draws elements from the recent hyper-pop trends that many in the music scene are going through, specifically in its bridge. While this might be surprising to some Hippo Campus listeners, it makes sense considering the direction the band has been developing towards. Luppen released a solo album last year, titled Lupin, which contains similar elements of heavy, chaotic production. Guitarist Nathan Stocker also releases electronic-oriented work through his side project Brotherkenzie. Even the group’s last album, Bambi, carried similar elements in songs like “Bubbles.” While the band made their place in the indie rock scene with Landmark, it seems like their next steps might involve exploring other directions.

The music video, released at the same time of the song’s release, is a great companion piece. It encapsulates the feeling of summer boredom as the band flickers between performing the song and sitting around looking for something to do. True to the song’s chaotic nature, the video distorts around the bridge with bright colors and frantic clips. Check it out below!

Tune into 100.1 FM or lightning100.com to hear “Bad Dream Baby” by Hippo Campus, featured as Jayson’s DJ Pick of the Week. Be sure to let us know your thoughts! Tweet at us with #L100DJPick and share your take on the track.