Perhaps Stupid Dream is one of the most melancholy and somber albums that PT has ever made till date. Yes, the mood that this band conjures up is always so, but on this even it is even more so. Maybe that is why this one has always ranked a little lower on my scale than the other PT albums (leaving the Incident aside of course).
On the other hand there are some songs on here that you would do well not to miss. The opener, Even Less, is one of my all time PT favorites, and is the best song on here. One for the greatest hits collection playah!! I rather not describe the song, in fact, I do not think that I can describe it. The second song to note on here is the poppish, catchy “Piano Lesson”. Check the lyrics-: “I remember piano lessons/The hours in freezing rooms/Cruel ears and tiny hands/Destroying timeless tunes/She said there’s too much out there/Too much already said/ You’d better give up hoping/You’re better off in bed” . Most of the times Steven Wilson’s lyrics are incredibly vague, though picturesque, but sometimes he just hits the button. Like on this one and “The Sound of Muzak” from In Absentia. Great stuff.
To tell the truth, the rest of the album passes in a sort of a haze. Maybe because the best cut is the opener, but the rest of the stuff is a bit iffy (for PT anyways). This might also be because of a lack of variation in song structure and style, but I can hardly remember what happens after “Don’t Hate Me”, which song has btw, some great sax going for it, also a rare occurrence. However, no real complaint again, since that is almost half the album! The album again is PT finding their sound and heading for what they must not have known, but we know, as In Absentia. Damn, how many times am I gonna mention that one in these PT reviews. As I shall note, the albums before this, namely Signify, The Sky Moves Sideways and Down the Upstair were high on experimentation, while from Stupid Dream onwards, till Fear of a Blank Planet, PT discovered the unique PT sound. Does that make sense? Whatever. And as for The Incident, the less spoken about it the better.
As for Stupid Dream, it is one the album that even a casual fan must hear to complete the PT experience. If not that, you are at the very least obliged to hear “Even Less”, which must be one of the all time great songs, in my book at least.
Recommended Songs-Even Less, Piano Lessons, Don’t Hate Me.