Yes, I know… Another review of an old Porcupine Tree album, but I just couldn’t resist! Released back in the year 1999, the album that came out three years later after my favourite album Signify.
Stupid Dream is actually quite different compared to Signify. That album is constantly dark, dreary, and almost even depressing from time to time, while Stupid Dream is filled with short ‘poppy’ tracks. The first song of the album is also one of the longest tracks, which doesn’t sound poppy at all. Even Less is a solid rock track, and also one of my all-time favourite songs of Porcupine Tree. The original version is actually almost fifteen minutes long, but the album version is shortened to seven minutes, ending with a lady announcing some random numbers at the end of the track. That ‘lady’ is probably a speech moderator that was used by secret numbers stations (find more information about numbers stations by clicking here).
Piano Lessons is one of those poppy songs, and was also the very first ‘single’ release of the band (if I’m correct). The video clip of this song is weird and entertaining. Title track Stupid Dream is actually just a small, weird transition that is half a minute long. Pure Narcotic is some sort of happy tune, but the lyrics are everything except merry. With Slave Called Shiver we enter the darker side of the album, and it has a very catchy bass riff. Don’t Hate Me is one of the most well-known tracks of the band. The longest one on the album, and it contains a lovely bass part, flute solo, and a saxophone solo provided by Theo Travis. This song has been put into a new jacket on Steven Wilson’s latest EP named 4 ½, but there’s also a rare demo version of this song with another title name (I think it was called London) somewhere floating around on Soundcloud.
This Is No Rehearsal brings you back into a lighter mood. This pop song mixed with more rock-like moments can be categorized in the same area as previous songs Piano Lessons and Pure Narcotic. Baby Dream In Cellophane is the shortest track. I love the multiple vocals during the chorus and the melancholic feel of this track. Stranger By The Minute is the most ‘happiest’ sounding track with a catchy guitar solo, but after that the album gets pretty gloomy again. A Smart Kid is dreary, the instrumental mid-section is haunting. The song transits into Tinto Brass, which is more up tempo. The only instrumental track on the album (if you exclude the track Stupid Dream). It’s somehow a precursor of the music the album In Absentia contains, it carries that same vibe. Last song Stop Swimming is the most saddest one on the album. The lyrics are heavy, the music very depressing.
My final conclusion about this album? It’s a bit of a strange, but very enjoyable album. It’s completely different than Signify, and you can’t really compare it to the later Porcupine Tree albums as well. I wonder how proud Steven Wilson is about this album.
Please let me know what you think about this album, I wonder what you have to say about this beauty!
Please, feel free to check out all my other reviews and stories about Porcupine Tree/Steven Wilson:
A big hug from your roving reporter!
Iris, aka Ier!
The Stupid Dream Collection! The album on (marbled) vinyl, the remaster CD (left), the original CD (right), Piano Lessons vinyl single (bottom left), and Stranger By The Minute vinyl single (bottom right):
Check the video clip of Piano Lessons here:
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