Porcupine Tree
Stupid Dream


4.5
superb

Review

by Nick Mongiardo CONTRIBUTOR (78 Reviews)
October 4th, 2013 | 250 replies | 6,840 views


Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Outstanding variety and a very accessible sound makes for a fantastic entry into the Porcupine Tree discography.

For all of you modern Porcupine Tree lovers out there, do not come into this record for the first time expecting it to be like In Absentia or Fear of a Blank Planet. Stupid Dream features a totally different raw sound that sounds nothing like the latest Porcupine Tree records. Not only does it sound a bit rawer, it also has a very simple sound that is extremely accessible. It’s bursting at the seams with great musicianship and some of Steve Wilson’s best song lyrics to date. Most of the songs on Stupid Dream are so infectiously catchy and memorable that you won’t want to stop listening.

The album’s title came from Wilson’s idea that most artists strive to become music artists because they want the lifestyle of fame when in actuality it is extremely hard work. When listening to this it’s clear that Wilson and co. are making music not to please anyone but because they love it. Each song is refreshingly diverse in its music and lyrics. From the incredibly trippy Baby Dream in Cellophane to the staggeringly radio friendly appeal of Piano Lessons, this record has something that everyone will enjoy. Piano Lessons is for anyone who loves those simple and catchy yet complex guitar riffs and choruses. However, make no mistake that Stupid Dream is not without incredibly progressive songs like Don’t Hate Me and the King Crimson like Tinto Brass. Tinto Brass is an entirely instrumental song that is driven by Colin’s ever so present bass, woodwind instruments and a heavy guitar riff towards the middle and end. The song is a bit out of place considering how light and radio friendly most of the album is, but it’s a masterful song on its own. Don’t Hate Me brilliant in its vocal delivery as Wilson sarcastically delivers “Don’t hate me/I’m not special like you/I’m tired/and I’m so alone” beautifully over his simple yet effective guitar riff. The jazzy saxophone solo in the middle also doesn’t disappoint.

When it comes to the lyrical department on this record, he without a doubt shines brightly. One of the best songs lyrically on Stupid Dream is Baby Dream in Cellophane. The beginning line states “I am in my pram.” This line gives away that Wilson is creating a mental picture in your head of what goes on in a baby’s mind. The song is extremely trippy and paints a picture that the baby can not talk but all of its thoughts are innocent and simple. The song is followed by the equally brilliant Stranger by the Minute which is another lyrical highlight. Underneath its overwhelmingly catchy psychedelic chorus are lyrics about a boy with mental problems being saved from drowning by a person completely fictional. The lyrics are quite bleak, but they are covered up by the songs pop like nature and memorable guitar. In fact almost every song on the album showcases memorable riffs and the guitar solos are not in short supply. A Smart Kid features a beautifully inspiring guitar solo towards the end.

Unfortunately, the album features a couple duds and those two songs are Slave Called Shiver and the title track. The title track is a perplexingly short interlude that literally adds nothing to the overall experience of the album and therefore it is completely useless. It’s only 28 seconds of static and one note from a violin that drones on until the end of the interlude. In addition to that, Slave Called Shiver is one of the only songs on the record that one could call boring because it never really climaxes and it just doesn't contain anything memorable about it like the other songs on Stupid Dream.

The album has so much variety on it that anyone could pick a song off this that they would like. It’s psychedelic, progressive and accessible. It places less emphasis on experimenting like their earlier works and heaviness like their newer works to create a simpler sound that really works. Wilson named his album Stupid Dream for a reason and lucky the band hasn't fallen under the spell of hypocrisy and actually follow the “stupid dream” Wilson speaks of. They are clearly in the business because they simply want to make beautiful music so that is admirable.



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user ratings (1235)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
KILL
October 4th 2013



71307 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

dont know if i'd describe this as raw haha good review though, prob my fav pt record overall

Digging: Invisible - El jardin de los presentes

MikeC26
October 4th 2013



3172 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

nice one. could be best PT here. Really solid record.

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
October 4th 2013



9612 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks guys. Well it's definitely not as polished as their latest four records. Not a bad thing by any means though.

MikeC26
October 4th 2013



3172 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, if anything their later records are too polished.

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
October 4th 2013



9612 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I love how polished In Absentia is. But yea I could see how people could call it too polished. I enjoy raw stuff too though.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
October 4th 2013



15892 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this and signify best PT, nice rev

Digging: Nemrud - Journey of the Shaman

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
October 4th 2013



9612 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks dude. I plan to try out Signify next.

Artuma
October 4th 2013



12091 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nice review once again mongi. def check signify, i actually prefer it to this

Digging: Le Pre Ou Je Suis Mort - Le Pre Ou Je Suis Mort

scissorlocked
October 4th 2013



3509 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

this is fuzzed up, psychedelic and sterilized at the same time

pretty amazing album

Digging: Leon Vynehall - Music For The Uninvited

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
October 4th 2013



9612 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks and I will man I'm working my way backwards. KILL don't worry The Sky Moves Sideways is after Signify haha

titlefightmeirl
October 4th 2013



659 Comments


nice review man. I just started listening to pt, and i'm really enjoying them, still have some albums of theirs to listen to.

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
October 4th 2013



9612 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks and good shit man what have you heard besides this?

titlefightmeirl
October 4th 2013



659 Comments


only other i've heard is In Absentia. which of theirs should I check next?

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
October 4th 2013



9612 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

What sound you prefer the heavier darker more polished sound or this?

titlefightmeirl
October 4th 2013



659 Comments


more like this

Artuma
October 4th 2013



12091 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lightbulb sun

MikeC26
October 4th 2013



3172 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Signify is dank bro

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
October 4th 2013



9612 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yea than definitely Lightbulb Sun. Pretty much the same sound. Not as good as this but it has Russia
on Ice so that's ok

Also Deadwing is well worth checking out too.

DrHouseSchuldiner
October 4th 2013



5643 Comments


Add The Sky Moves Sideways and u got a deal.

titlefightmeirl
October 4th 2013



659 Comments


will check Lightbulb, thanks guys m/



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