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Fear of a Blank Planet is an album by a British rock band by the name of Porcupine Tree and it is their ninth album. It was released by Roadrunner on April 16 of 2007 in the UK, and released April 24 of 2007 in the United States. The album's title is a reference to a 1990 album named Fear of a Black Planet; the two do not have any common themes, although the names sound similar. Despite not having any singles, the album was very well-received by critics and even obtained the status of Album of the Year. It has been said that Steven Wilson started working on the album in 2006 when he was in Tel Aviv. In June, Wilson went back to London and met his band members to continue working on the songs that he had been writing. They produce a lot of songs, out of which six made it to the final album. The recording of the album was completed in December, and in January of 2007 they went public with the name of the album.
The lyrics are mostly about two disorders that many teenagers deal with in today’s day and age: bipolar disorder, and attention deficit disorder (ADD). It also deals with other behavioral problems seen in teenagers, like using drugs to escape reality, alienation from the world due to the internet and other technological phenomena like iPods and Playstations, and a lack of intelligence and thought because of mass media.
The concept of the album was heavily influenced by Bret Easton Ellis' novel Lunar Park. The novel is told from the perspective of a father, who bears the name of the novel's author himself, whereas the album is mostly from his son's perspective, an eleven-year-old kid named Robby. Many of the lyrics for Fear of a Blank Planet are lifted directly from the novel, particularly "My Ashes", which is an homage to the last chapter, in which the ashes of Bret's father are scattered and cover the memories of his life.
On April 18 of 2007, which was just two days after the official of the album in Europe, the band went on a long tour which lasting until the end of the year. The tour started in Glasgow and took the band through many music festivals like the Hurricane Festival and Southside Festival in Germany, the Voodoo Music Experience of New Orleans, and the Ilosaarirock Festival in Finland. They restarted the tour in April of 2008, making their first appearance in Australia, and they played in Melbourne, Brisbane, and Sydney. Then, they went to the Dutch Pinkpop Festival on May 30 of that same year, and also performed at the Rocksound Festival of Switzerland on June 6, and then they continued on to the Austrian Nova Rock Festival on June 13, and after that, they went on to perform at the Hellfest Summer Open Air on June 21. Then they went to Russian and performed there for the first time ever, and this was on July 6. In October, the band embarked on a small European tour, and during that time, a second DVD was produced. They also had shows in Portugal and the UK.
The album received a positive reaction, with on average rating of 82% which is relatively high. Reason magazine, which is an authority in this area, chose the album as one of the best of 2007. Some critics were not happy with the lyrics, calling it ridiculous, which is understandable. It is said that the album has sold 250,000 copies in the entire world, which is amazing.Please see the below tracklisting:
- "Fear of a Blank Planet" - 7:28
- "My Ashes" (Music: Wilson/Barbieri) - 5:07
- "Anesthetize" - 17:42 (feat. Alex Lifeson)
- "Sentimental" - 5:26
- "Way Out of Here" (Music: Barbieri/Edwin/Harrison/Wilson) - 7:37
- "Sleep Together" - 7:28