Thursday

35. Anesthesize (Porcupine Tree)

The British heavy prog band Porcupine Tree (image credit) around Steve Wilson has become one of my all-time favourites in recent years. Still, it has taken quite some time for me to really appreciate the grandeur of their 2007 album Fear of a blank planet. After dozens of listens I now rank it firmly in my top 5 albums of all time - the six songs are all fantastic by themselves, but in reality they form one composition of 50 minutes where the sum is definitely greater than the part. The inspiration for the album was the Bret Easton Ellis novel Lunar Park, dealing with the problems of contemporary youth. The novel is told from the perspective of the father, but in an unexpected twist, Wilson constructed the album from the point of view of the son. Anesthesize, which was nicknamed "The Beast" during their inaugural tour for the new album, is the first Porcupine Tree song exceeding the 15 minutes mark since The sky moves sideways of 1995. A devastating picture of a boy who is completely depressed, with strong lyrics that really need to be read in full. Musically, there are a number of different segments, but they are very well held together in the best prog rock tradition, and with striking melody lines (especially the Only apathy... refrain). There is the short flirt with metal that we have come to expect from this band, but overall there is a mixed feeling of resignation and urgency that is very difficult to describe. The best song of the album, and the best in their repertoire.

Other songs by this act that would have qualified: The sky moves sideways, Heartattack in a lay-by, My ashes.

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