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Porcupine Tree - Stupid Dream CD (album) cover

STUPID DREAM

Porcupine Tree

 

Heavy Prog

3.99 | 982 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

progaardvark
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Stupid Dream was Porcupine Tree's fifth studio album. Although quite a popular release, Stupid Dream firmly follows the direction that was started on the band's previous album (Signify), that being a more song oriented approach. Wilson himself has been quoted as saying that a major influence on him while writing this album was the music he was listening to at the time, which was much more vocally oriented. Examples he gave included Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys, Todd Rundgren, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. I guess I can see why this album went in this direction, but I hardly hear any of those influences in Porcupine Tree's music. Instead, what I think Wilson applied was their song arrangement and mapped it onto Porcupine Tree music. The end result being Stupid Dream.

Stupid Dream approaches that gray area where one isn't sure if they're listening to prog or not. It is very radio friendly. Indeed, three singles were released off this album: Piano Lessons, Stranger by the Minute, and Pure Narcotic. However, Porcupine Tree still retains its psychedelic/progressive sound in this song oriented approach. True, it has less instrumental development and experimentation, but when one gives this CD a spin, it clearly still sounds like Porcupine Tree. In many ways, this is probably the best transformation of a band from progressive rock at its best to a commercialized form of progressive rock. Remember Genesis and Yes from the 1980s? I consider Wilson a genius in this regard.

But alas, I still miss the Porcupine Tree from the pre-Signify days. Those long, ambient-driven, spacey compositions will always have a happy adventure in my ears. That's not to say that I don't enjoy this newer, more streamlined version of the group. I enjoy Stupid Dream very much. It's just not as memorable and when we judge progressive rock albums, we often make comparisons to other similar bands or within the band's own catalogue. Stupid Dream just doesn't compare with The Sky Moves Sideways or Up the Downstair.

If you're new to progressive rock and are hesitant about taking a deep plunge, but would rather progress slowly into it, Porcupine Tree's Stupid Dream might be a good place to start because it's very accessible, yet retains enough to justify it as progressive rock even though it's very much in that gray area. At best, three stars for a good, though not really essential work.

progaardvark | 3/5 |

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