Glass Animals Albums: Ranked, Reviewed

Glass Animals was something that I accidentally stumbled upon years ago during my awkward and cynical high school years, back when I had no money or a stable job. Everything I wanted to get into had to come to me, so I rarely sought anything out. One rainy night, I drove home and put on the radio. CD’s weren’t really an option for me at that time. On the radio, some song called ‘Gooey’ was being played. Well, I heard the last-third of the song. I didn’t really understand what was going on in it. Something about Pooh Bear, something about peanut butter, and another thing about tipsy topsy slurs. The song came to a close and I was both transfixed and confused as to what I even listened to. Might never hear that song again, I thought.

It wasn’t too soon when I heard it again on the radio, this time all the way through. The lyrics still confused me, but in a hypnotising and curious way. I looked into this Glass Animals band and entered the world of their first album, ZABA. I couldn’t quite explain it, but it felt like I was lost, both physically and spiritually. Like I found myself trapped in a jungle and all I could hear are the faint sounds of wind, weather, and chirping of a jungle. After multiple listens, that’s when I understood. This was the aesthetic I so deeply needed.

Glass Animals joined my circle of favorite bands alongside Cage the Elephant and alt-J. The band consisted of frontman Dave Bayley, guitarist Drew MacFarlane, Ed Irwin-Singer on bass, and drummer Joe Seaward. Listening to ZABA and their other separate singles, I longed for more. That’s when I was floored when How to Be a Human Being was announced with their first single ‘Life Itself’. It was a song I got physically into, and I was intoxicated at the fact that one of my favorite bands was coming out with a new project. I found Glass Animals at a perfect part of my life, a part of my life that allowed me to think and create. I was gifted.

Which brings us here. Upon the release of their third and latest album, Dreamland, I just knew I had to go through their discography with them. I was planning on a single Dreamland review, but I thought I’d go ahead and reflect on Glass Animals as a whole. Three albums, thirty-three tracks, lots of ground to cover. I’ll give my overall critique of the album, followed by a basic review of each track with a score, followed by my personal ranking of each song, then my final thoughts on the album. 

Also, let’s make this clear: I ain’t no Anthony Fantano, so don’t expect a full dissection of the albums, I’ll just be going into what makes each song work or not work for me. This will be as casual and simple as I can make it.

Let’s get to it, then:


I already pretty much went into depth on my personal experience with ZABA, so I’ll make it quick here. In 2012, Glass Animals released their first EP, Leaflings, including Cocoa Hooves which eventually made it into their first fully-released record, ZABA. Prior to Leaflings, Dave Bayley attended medical school, but quickly quit after being signed onto label Wolf Tone. Dave stated that he recorded multiple songs for ZABA in an empty room at his mum’s, hiding the fact he was no longer a college student. 

ZABA is a bizarre and wondrous trip into the wild, inviting you to a world that is at once familiar and unknown. 


I’m gonna go back, I’m gonna go back
I’m gonna go back to a face, no more mask
I was in full bloom, until I met you
I’m gonna shake my fetters, I’m breaking loose

The first of the ZABA tracks, and one that sets the tone perfectly. It invites listeners to a slow harmony that soon ramps up with ambient sound and vocal melodies. Dave showcases his voice to be mostly monotonous but his smooth delivery will only truly show later. It’s a haunting and terrific introduction to this weird jungle of sound.  

Score: 8 / 10

Black Mambo

Leopards laze each on plush pillows
Slender capes of red and chrome
Paperback dreams in their deep doze
Twitch their toes to black mambo

‘Black Mambo’ continues the soft yet eerie tone ‘Flip’ has set. Previously on their debut EP Leaflings, ‘Black Mambo’ contains soothing guitar strings, accompanied by a hypnotic ambient instrumental that is simply easy to vibe with.

Score: 8 / 10


We sip the wind through lips of lust
And out it comes, warm wisps of love
I smile because I want to
I smile because you want to

Among my favorite songs on the album. Dave’s choruses are phenomenal, energetic and vibrant, a contrast to the relatively quiet and moody album. Solid drums and keyboards keep the energy alive until the incredible closer.

Score: 10 / 10


Right my little pooh bear, wanna take a chance?
Wanna sip the smooth air, kick it in the sand?
I’ll say I told you so but you just gonna cry
You just wanna know those peanut butter vibes

The song that started it all for me. This is among their most popular singles, earning a platinum in the United States. I feel this song is the one that could divide people the most, with its strange lyrics that could be seen as too quirky or laughable to basic listeners. But ‘Gooey’ retains a smooth flow throughout, an appealing and delicious course for the curious and beginning listeners.

Score: 9 / 10

Walla Walla

I bet I can make you smile
In the pools of moonlight
Watch this little trick of mine
Say with me this tiny rhyme

After a small series of slow, moody tracks, we finally kick it up a few pegs. It has a good flow and epic finale, but contains some of the lesser lyrics and hooks on this album that stops it from being truly memorable.

Score: 6 / 10


Gone inside of the wild zabajaba
All the mad and the sad gonna have at ya
Sour plants, hungry fangs, jabazaba
Tangled mass in the vast zabajaba

Intruxx serves as more of an interlude to the album more than anything, so there won’t be much to say about it. Good build-up with entertaining, distorted vocals and background noises. Not bad for an interlude that also happens to work just fine as a song.

Score: Interlude / 10


Come back baby, don’t you cry
Don’t you drain those big blue eyes
I’ve been crawling
Come back baby, don’t you cry
Just you say the reason why

This is really the one ZABA I can’t quite get into, aside from sound effects and noises to hammer in the album’s mysterious jungle aesthetic. It flows well enough and has fun instruments, but the vocals make it lose some much-needed personality for me.

Score: 5 / 10


I’m a man, I’m a twisted fool
My hands are twisted too
Five fingers to black hooves
I’m a man don’t spin me a lie
Got toes and I can smile
I’m crooked but upright

Great chorus and instrumentals. The chorus is the main highlight; the vocals and instrumentations in-between don’t feel too special, but it all comes together smoothly enough. 

Score: 8 / 10


Oh vole where did you go
Dim lanterns held by groans
Of beasties sad and tired
Lost in the muck and
It’s all dank and gross

Nothing terribly impressive, but Dave’s voice is always sweat-inducing.

Score: 7 / 10

Cocoa Hooves

This old goat with beard of grey
He turns his leather gripped cane
Those times you clapped and called for quiet
They’ve come to hold you, ain’t that nice?

Smooth guitar and one of the more emotionally-charged songs on here. A comforting and electrically-charged wave of sound.

Score: 9 / 10


Who gon’ plant the flowers, huh?
Weak and worried
I shut my wild eyes
And crumble to a pile
Of dust and fertilise

Vocally, this is nearly my favorite. Dave’s emotional delivery of “Please, it’s not okay” gets me going like no other. A hell of a catchy song I obsess over.

Score: 9 / 10


Stop swaying windy mover shaking down
Makes Mama turn her hands and flip around
Backlashing with a bullet full of love
Makes Papa wanna chrome up his old truck

It’s no exaggeration to say this is my absolute favorite Glass Animals song, not just on this album, but their entire catalogue. Simple and repetitive lyrics, but the buttery-smooth and sleek vocal melody makes this an addicting song. The escalation in the instrumentation gets me physically into it. 

Score: 11 / 10


  1. Psylla
  2. Pools
  3. Gooey
  4. JDNT
  5. Cocoa Hooves
  6. Flip
  7. Toes
  8. Black Mambo
  9. Wyrd
  10. Walla Walla
  11. Hazey

Final Thoughts

ZABA is an important album to me, though the album has many issues. The album severely lacks any sort of variety in sound, both musically and vocally. As fine as those two are, it causes each song to really blend together aesthetically. It was certainly a bit of a struggle to find interesting things to say regarding each track, but as an album with such an aggressively consistent and unique style, it was an enriching experience. ZABA is a record you listen to when you want to hear colors.

Overall Score: 8 / 10

How to Be a Human Being

Released in 2016, How to Be a Human Being was much more rich in detail and musical variety, Glass Animals successfully incorporating a hodge-podge of sounds across pop culture and culture itself. While on tour, Glass Animals found a variety of people across the globe, people rich in character and origins that inspired an album based off these people’s lives. The gimmick of the album is also an ambitious one: each person on the front cover is represented by a single, unique song on the record (i.e. phone dude with ‘Cane Shuga’, or camera guy with ‘Agnes’). It gave the album much-needed implementation of music variety and cultures that ZABA severely lacked. The end result was not at all disappointing, and the album remains a fan and critical favorite, as well as a personal favorite.

Life Itself

I can’t get a job so I live with my mom
I take her money, but not quite enough
I sit in the car and I listen to static
She said I look fat but I look fantastic

The song opens up with a peaceful harmony, welcoming you into the album as if you just awoke. Right off the bat, cheerful beats are followed up with a more rich voice from Dave. After some sour lyrics to contrast the upbeat instrumentation, comes an utterly fantastic chorus, “Come back down to knees, gotta get back, gotta get free”, alerts that you’re in for an electrifying album. 

Score: 8 / 10


Feel your mother right at your side
Don’t you know you got my eyes
I’ll make you fly
You’ll be happy all the time
I know you can make it right

Right after the loud beats and vocals comes a completely different tone. The instruments here are among the very best on the album, a song about lost youth and innocence that never fails to tug at my heart. 

I want you to be happy
Free to run, get dizzy on caffeine
Funny friends that make you laugh
And maybe you’re just a little bit dappy

Too much, man.

Score: 9 / 10

Season 2, Episode 3

She’s drunk on old cartoons
Liquid TV afternoons
Sometimes it makes me laugh
Sometimes it makes me sad

Incorporating a variety of electronic and 8-bit sounds, with a soft, envious vocal melody by Dave makes this a relaxing and emotional listen. A very low-key ballad that you can’t help but fall in love with.

Score: 10 / 10

Pork Soda

Five thousand footsteps in your wet dress
Back to the house with your arms round my neck
We drank pork soda with tangled legs
I won’t forget how you looked at me then

Dave Bayley mentioned how he was passing by a bum, who was stating how he has “pineapples in his head”. That line stuck with Dave, and he in turn incorporated that phrase into ‘Pork Soda’. The pineapple then became an iconic staple for the album and the band’s tour, with people bringing pineapples to concerts and scream at the band’s own personalized pineapple ball.

Outside the pineapple bits and the final chorus, the lyrics here aren’t too impressive. The “fuckin’ slum” verse completely ruins the flow for the song to me, up until the amazing and loud finale. 

Score: 7 / 10

Mama’s Gun

Play with me, my love, in the summer sun
I’ll be waiting in your favourite Cheshire grin
Lay with me, my dear, in the evening clear
I’ll be dreaming in my paper-pale skin

My favorite song on this album on a vocal base, the most attitude and distress on the album, and perhaps the song with the most interesting backstory. The band recollected a taxi driver they had who took cocaine and meth in order to stay up at night so she can drive across the states without stopping. One day she overdosed, and realized a whole month had passed; no memories at all. She worried what she did over that month, maybe ever murder.

Some haunting shit, and the lyrics perfectly illustrate this fear of the unknown, such as “In the summer silence, I was getting violent. In the summer silence, I was doing nothing.” A perfect summation of the fears towards the actions and words we unknowingly inflict.

Score: 9 / 10

Cane Shuga

Baby, don’t go
I’ll stop breathing coke
No more bloody nose
No more John Does

Packed with energy, filled with personality. The character so desperately declares he’ll stop doing cocaine, but evidenced by the song, he simply cannot stop. It’s taken over him. A fast-paced and hell of a weird song that is mostly hurt by odd voice manipulations and less-than-impressive, repetitive lyrics. But hey, that could be blamed on that “sugar” he’s taking in.

Score: 7 / 10

[Premade Sandwiches]

People complaining ’cause their Mum whines
People complaining about losing their minds
People complaining about standing in line
People standing in line and they don’t even know why

A basic interlude that was recorded on the streets, though obviously dramatically sped up. Nothing serious, but an interesting break nonetheless.

Score: Interlude / 10

The Other Side of Paradise

Fingers in a fist like you might run
I settle for a ghost I never knew
Super paradise I held on to
But I settle for a ghost

The most synergized and electric song on the record, with instruments that hit hard and don’t stop. Meanwhile, Dave provides some real vibrancy in his performance that makes this song so memorable and enticing. 

Score: 10 / 10

Take a Slice

Stewing in the black dope
I’m filthy and I love it
Studebaker all gold
Got a shotgun in my pocket

After a funny (if unneeded) intro about a guy with sausage candles, comes the filthiest and horniest song on the record. Singing about “black dope” and making yourself as scandalous as possible, comes a very dynamic and rapturous chorus. All that aside though, the song is a bit of a slow burn that doesn’t offer a whole lot outside the impressive vocal performance and some fun instrumentation.

Score: 6 / 10

Poplar St.

Mama always called that woman prosti-tits
For wearing lower cuts than most and red lipstick
One night Mrs Moore she made her eyes at me
Pulled me through her door and stuck her teeth in deep

Dealing with a very off-putting subject matter, I feel the song doesn’t go nearly as hard as it should’ve. It’s all catchy and has a slick lead guitar, but doesn’t have that dark tone as much as it could have with an especially weak end.

Score: 7 / 10


Guess life is long when soaked in sadness
On borrowed time from Mister Madness
And so it goes, a choking rose back
To be reborn, I want to hold you like you’re mine

A song dedicated to Dave’s friend who was in a drug addiction and eventually committed suicide. It’s maybe the best-written song on here, obviously quite personal to Dave. However, the instrumentation here just doesn’t quite do it for me. It’s clearly Dave replicating finding solemness and acceptance during a highly difficult time, but doesn’t work within the tone of the lyrics. There’s a level of emotion that can still be found throughout that makes the song an immersive one, but lacks a bit in the instrument field.

Score: 8 / 10


  1. Other Side of Paradise
  2. Season 2, Episode 3
  3. Mama’s Gun
  4. Youth
  5. Life Itself
  6. Agnes
  7. Pork Soda
  8. Poplar St.
  9. Cane Shuga
  10. Take a Slice

Final Thoughts

How to Be a Human Being has an eclectic and color production, containing a richer bunch of music influenced by other cultures. I loved the general aesthetics the album brought on, containing such lively and expressive music with limitless personality. ZABA has its own vibe that makes it such a near-masterpiece in my eyes, but How to Be a Human Being is full of variety and sounds that you just can’t help but move along with. Doesn’t flow quite as smoothly as ZABA, but HtBaHB is just better in every other regard. Certified ass-kicker.

Overall Score: 9 / 10


Dreamland reeks as Dave Bayley’s most personal project. While on tour, drummer Joe Seaward was in a life-threatening accident. Through a miracle, he survived and managed to play for the band within just a few short months. On top of that, the album came out at a fairly good time, as the rise of COVID-19 has ruined people’s plans. Not just for the country, but people’s plans for the future, for graduation such as myself, plans that have been squandered due to a microscopic killing machine. It’s not fair for anyone to have their immediate future plans tarnished, potentially forever.

Dreamland invites listeners to a digital world that explores the past; childhood friends, the blissful summer, and things we were just not able to understand at such a young age. Depression, abuse, and loneliness have only skyrocketed due to this mandated quarantine, and so this feels like an appropriate soundtrack for this generation. Unfortunately, some parts of the album either fail to reflect these trying times, or fail to hit as hard as they wanted to, resulting in a pretty messy and inconsistent record. Still though, it’s not a bad trip into our mind.

As the title of the album suggests, Dreamland is much like a dream, a dream we’ve all had once before.


You float in the pool where the soundtrack is canned
You go ask your questions like, “What makes a man?”
Oh, it’s 2020, so it’s time to change that
So you go make an album and call it Dreamland

The title track begins with a surreal, otherworldly synth, a repeating tune akin to a lullaby. The song also works as a “table of contents”, if you will, as it foreshadows the other songs on the record (i.e. “He had a gun on the first day of high school” for ‘Space Ghost Coast to Coast’ and “Movie from your youth” with ‘Tangerine’). Dave’s vocals, however, is something that could either pull in or push away listeners. His voice is heavily modified, which will be a continuous presence throughout the album. As for myself, I can probably do without it, but it’s a relatively pretty and calming harmony, even if the sluggish pace of the song is a bit unexceptional.

Score: 4 / 10


You let the devil in, and all you talk is money, money, money, money, money
It’s so funny how it changes how you feel
How you see, how you need, how you sleep
All your freedom, caffeine, how you’re looking at me

Decent flow in an otherwise unspecial song. The chorus is catchy, but contains some fairly generic songwriting and beats.

Score: 4 / 10

Hot Sugar

Long black tulips, born in your blue tints
Lemongrass eyelids, smoke in your slick lips
Chocolate chapstick, backbeat strat flips
Swimming pool spaceships, light through the wave tips

Nothing too special here either, but contains a mellow and consistent flow. ‘Hot Sugar’ contains some… interesting lyrics that don’t feel very substantive or unique, but one of the better flows and beats throughout the album.

Score: 6 / 10

Space Ghost Coast to Coast

Really think that metal gonna make you safe?
Playing peek-a-boo with the devil these days
Black cap back with a trench coat, ayy
Living in the valley cuttin’ porno tapes

The song tells of Dave and his childhood friend. They went their separate paths, only for the friend to bring a gun to his school. The song contains intriguing verses about gender norms and divorce, especially nostalgic callbacks to old shooters, games, and of course, Space Ghost.

The song appropriately slaps hard, containing some influences from Dr. Dre. It’s the song on this album so far that truly hits the hardest for me, both musically and personally.

Score: 7 / 10

Tokyo Drifting 

Ooh, now you’re lettin’ go
Heart beatin’ faster, feet pushin’ on the floor
Ain’t nothin’ better
Wavey Davey’s on fire
You still got it, you still got it alright, yeah

Dave’s vocals leave a bit to be desired, but Denzel Curry’s feature here is pretty exceptional. Just about the one song on here that one can get physically into, but not a whole lot of substance all-around.

Score: 6 / 10

Melon and the Coconut

Melon and the coconut are sittin’ on the floor
Coco said to Melly, “I can’t do this anymore
Everything we’re doin’ just feels fuckin’ cold
Everything we’re shootin’, that’s just fake B-roll”

The story of a melon and coconut breaking up. Besides the cute gimmick, just a pretty average and generic break-up song. Also contains some real ugly, unpleasant guitar strings and voice modulation. Bad on purpose, but still doesn’t make for a very enjoyable listen at all.

Score: 2 / 10

Your Love (Déjà Vu)

Maybe in time
When we’re both better at life
Daylight can open my eyes
And you’ll still be by my side

Your Love is the most enjoyable track on this record, with some engaging beats, a killer hook, and some of the better lyrics on this album. Nothing too amazing, but a very good song in general.

Score: 8 / 10

Waterfalls Coming Out Your Mouth

I’m going to read your mind
Big dicks and big ol’ titties on the sly
Say I got Aries eyes
Fuck no, I’m a bonafide Aquemini

There’s fun lyrics to be had here, like “Drip drop, show me what you got” and “It’s chemical warfare, Red lips and television eyewear“, coupled with some smooth, calm beats up until the loud and chaotic finale.

Score: 6 / 10

It’s All So Incredibly Loud

I’m breakin’ down
Whispers would deafen me now
You don’t make a sound
Heartbreak was never so loud

There’s an intense build-up through the song, with Dave’s vocals becoming increasingly more desperate. Dave Bayley referred to this song as “three seconds of life”, from when you say something to hurt somebody, to their reaction. The build-up of the instruments and the repetition of the lyrics towards the end makes for an overwhelming experience, clearly signifying the narrator’s desperation and heartbreak over their words. Song’s a slow burn, but quite a good one.

Score: 8/10

Domestic Bliss

Why’d you put up with that shit?
Why don’t we pack and leave this?
Why do you smile when he cries?
Why do you cry when he wins?

Some of my favorite lyrics pop up here. Not quite subtle, but still equally intense in its wording. The instruments here feel pretty minimalist, but the vocals carry the song quite well.

Score: 7/10

Heat Waves

You can’t fight it, you can’t breathe
You say somethin’ so lovin’, but
Now I gotta let you go
You’ll be better off in someone new

Really catchy hooks, and I love the faint, distorted audio at the beginning. If the album’s intent was to remind you of a nostalgic summer childhood, then that feel perfectly resonates here. That said, I could probably do without the trap beats.

Score: 8/10


My mama said they used to be white pyramids
They float above the sand, they’re slowly sinking in
Are our foundations destined to keep crumbling
Just ’cause we started this with zero innocence?
I just can’t build on something that begins like this

I have some mixed feelings regarding this song. I love the angelic harmony and epic build-up and eventual de-escalation. It all works, but the song breaks away from that feeling by switching to an altered verse from ‘Dreamland’. It’s meant as a sort of peaceful exit to this surreal world the band brought us into, but comes off as rather tacky and forced.

Score: 6/10


  1. Your Love (Déjà Vu)
  2. It’s All So Incredibly Loud
  3. Heat Waves
  4. Domestic Bliss
  5. Hot Sugar
  6. Space Ghost Coast to Coast
  7. Waterfalls Coming Out Your Mouth
  8. Tokyo Drifting
  9. Helium
  10. Tangerine
  11. Dreamland
  12. Melon and the Coconut 

Final Thoughts

If ZABA is about being lost in the wild and if How To Be a Human Being is about being lost in the crowd, then Dreamland is about being lost in your mind. All three albums share a similar theme: the idea of finding yourself. ZABA taught me to be creative, HtBaHB taught me to stand out, and Dreamland taught me to think. They all share their own aesthetics that make each album so unique and addicting. Dreamland is about the childhood we lost, the friends we used to have, and the weird adult stuff we didn’t quite understand as a kiddo. Stuff that was all taken for granted because we were a blissful, yet arrogant, child. The album is powerful like that.

In all other respects, though… Dreamland is pretty much the epitome of a mixed bag. The album has a very respectable intent behind it by reminding you of childhood nostalgia, but some songs either don’t quite work as well as they should, are just semi-decent, or just miss the mark entirely. ‘Melon and the Coconut’ is the one Glass Animals song I would categorize as being near-unlistenable. The interludes are charming (home videos of Dave as a child with his mother), but feel a bit too schmaltzy and sugary for their own good. It certainly lacks the energized production of HtBaHB, but kudos to Glass Animals for changing their sound. It just could have been so, so much more.

Overall Score: 5/10

Final Thoughts on My Final Thoughts

Glass Animals’ unique sound and presentation transcends music for me. As dramatic as they might sound, no band makes me feel the same way Glass Animals does. As much of a mixed bag Dreamland is, it still contains the sound that makes Glass Animals such a memorable and paralyzing band. They dabble in different sounds and ideas that make almost all their songs stand out, and it all means a lot to me as both a writer and a creator.

Glass Animals hasn’t completely changed my world, but it’s hard to imagine what I’d do without them. Dreamland may have been a mild disappointment, but in the end, I hope they put energy first, nailing down their sound and continue becoming the awe-inspiring band they are.

1 thought on “Glass Animals Albums: Ranked, Reviewed”

  1. […] Christmas with Weezer because… like, yeah. Otherwise, just about anything goes here! As noted in my Glass Animals ranking, I don’t claim to be a musical pundit; I enjoy music a lot but I’m not exactly a scholar. So […]

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