Arjen Lucassen is, as you may or may not know, the Dutch singer and multi-instrumentalist behind progressive metal band Ayreon, and several other projects including Stream of Passion and Star One. “Lost in the New Real” is his first solo album (and in this case a double album) since 1994’s “Pools of Sorrow, Waves of Joy.”
Those familiar with Arjen will not be surprised to learn that “Lost in the New Real” is a concept album. The story revolves around the character Mr. L who, upon dying from a terminal illness, is cryogenically preserved so he might be revived in the future when a cure is found. At some point in the distant future Mr. L is revived and must come to terms with a very different world than the one he knew; a world where it has become difficult to tell what is real and what is not. Mr. L must learn to cope, along with assistance from his psychological advisor, whose spoken parts are voiced by the great Rutger Hauer.
Lucassen is well known for composing rock operas and I expect “Lost in the New Real” will be another feather in that hat. The album is a lot more progressive/classic rock sounding than metal; I hear a lot of Pink Floyd and Beatles in these songs (not to mention the song “Pink Beatles in a Purple Zeppelin.”) The second disc contains five covers, featuring songs from Pink Floyd, Blue Oyster Cult, Led Zeppelin, The Alan Parsons Project and Frank Zappa.
I am afraid to go into too much detail about any one piece, because then I will feel compelled to talk about other pieces and this will go on forever and do far less justice than if you just listen to the album yourself. Suffice to say “Lost in the New Real” is an interesting listen, a quality production and an hour and a half well spent. Do check out “Where Pigs Fly” for some amusing pop culture references.
For your listening and viewing pleasure I am including this video of the album’s title track. Make sure to watch the screen, as Arjen adds interesting commentary text as the song progresses.