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Music / Lost in the New Real

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Lost in the New Real is a Concept Album released in 2012 by Dutch musician Arjen Anthony Lucassen. It is a departure from his Ayreon project, which spans several albums and features dozens of guest musicians, as all main vocals are performed by Arjen himself. The story may have some loose connection to the overarching plot of Ayreon, in any case (see tropes below).

Lost in the New Real concerns a 21st century man known as Mr. L, who is awoken from cryogenic sleep several hundred years in The Future. He is welcomed by Voight Kampff, the "hard-headed shrink" who has been assigned to help Mr. L adjust to the strange world he now belongs to. Technology has progressed to a point where what is real and what is virtual reality is nearly or completely indistinguishable from one another. The album concerns itself primarily with themes and motifs running throughout the Ayreon albums: alienation, dream sequences, technology versus nature, etc. Probably an example of Romanticism Versus Enlightenment.


Side One

  1. "The New Real" (6:24)
  2. "Pink Beatles In A Purple Zeppelin" (3:36)
  3. "Parental Procreation Permit" (5:03)
  4. "When I'm A Hundred Sixty-Four" (2:30)
  5. "E-police" (4:07)
  6. "Don't Switch Me Off" (4:06)
  7. "Dr. Slumber's Eternity Home" (3:51)
  8. "Yellowstone Memorial Day" (3:31)
  9. "Where Pigs Fly" (3:47)
  10. "Lost In The New Real" (10:19)
  11. "Behind The New Real" (13:45)

Side Two

  1. "Our Imperfect Race" (6:27)
  2. "Welcome To The Machine" (4:45)
  3. "So Is There No God?" (4:41)
  4. "Veteran Of The Psychic Wars" (4:34)
  5. "The Social Recluse" (3:55)
  6. "Battle Of Evermore" (5:28)
  7. "The Space Hotel" (3:49)
  8. "Some Other Time" (4:06)
  9. "You Have Entered The Reality Zone" (3:24)
  10. "I'm The Slime" (2:53)
  11. "Behind the Artwork" (13:55)

Pink Tropes In A Purple Zeppelin

  • Added Alliterative Appeal: "Parental Procreation Permit."
  • Alternate Continuity: It appears the album takes place in the future society frequently alluded to in Ayreon. The protagonist seems to be the same MR. L from 01011001, and the future does show signs of impending collapse. However, it's ambiguous enough that it could go either way and seems to leave it up to the listener to decide. Lampshaded when Mr. L and his Shrink discuss the possibility of alternate universes.
  • Author Avatar: According to Word of God, Mr. L is a stand-in representative of Arjen himself.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: The E-Police.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Although the album starts off with catchy light-hearted music, with songs like "Pink Beatles in a Purple Zeppelin", it quickly becomes apparent that the future isn't a happy one. Still, the songs remain cheery enough until the halfway mark when the music gets foreboding and introspective. This culminates in Lost in the New Real where the song is dark, cynical, and ultimately about Mr. L resigning himself to dying again.
  • Continuity Nod: As mentioned above, the album has many nods to the plot of Ayreon, including the character Mr. L himself. It can't be a direct continuation of the story, since Mr. L wouldn't have ever woken from his cryogenic sleep—in 01011001, the world ends in 2085. But since this album is part of The Multiverse, it can simply be a universe where humanity averted destroying themselves.
    • There's no direct mention of what year it is set during the album so it could be part of the Ayreon-verse. The subject matter certainly fits a descent towards 2084.
  • Cover Version: "Welcome To The Machine" is a cover of Pink Floyd's album Wish You Were Here (1975), "Veteran of the Psychic Wars" is a Blue Öyster Cult adaptation, "The Battle Of Evermore" is a cover from Led Zeppelin IV by Led Zeppelin, "Some Other Time" is covered from I, Robot by The Alan Parsons Project and "I'm The Slime" a cover from Frank Zappa's Over-Nite Sensation.
  • Crapsack World: Overpopulation, a cataclysm brought on by a massive eruption of the Yellowstone super-volcano, and society appears to have wedded Orwell and Huxley's visions into one.
  • Cyberpunk: The society as a whole has this feeling to it.
  • Darker and Edgier: A Downplayed Trope in the case of this album, steering a little away from the bleak outlook of the Ayreon albums. It certainly isn't cheery, given the Downer Ending and Crapsack World. However, "Pink Beatles in a Purple Zeppelin" is a psychedelic, reminiscent mash-up of Mr. L's favorite music. And despite the cataclysm, it would appear humanity has survived and flourished regardless.
  • Design Student's Orgasm: The cover is designed by Claudio Bergamin.
  • Digital Piracy Is Evil: Played with. In the present day, piracy is described in an unmistakably negative tone. However, the strictly-controlled policing of the internet by the E-Police if anything is seen as even worse. Ultimately, the message seems to be that file sharing and hacking are unavoidable and that both extremes are equally detrimental.
  • Downer Ending: Sadly, Mr. L doesn't think he could find a place in this new real.
  • Dark Reprise: "Lost in the New Real" takes Mr. L through a pretty wild range of emotions, but has a reprise of "Don't Switch Me Off," which is a pretty melancholy song as it is.
  • Dream Land: The entire setting of the story may be this. Or maybe not.
  • Epic Rocking: It should go without saying.
  • Gainax Ending:
    Now I know this is not real
    I can't trust the way I feel
    I'm alive but in a dream
    Am I only... [only vocoder remains] A MACHINE?
  • Lighter and Softer
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Dr. Slumber's Eternity Home". You'd be forgiven for jamming to an upbeat rock song about getting euthanized.
  • Man in the Machine: Or is man the machine?
  • Mind Screw: Like Ayreon before it, Arjen continues the proud tradition of screwing with our heads.
  • Mother Nature, Father Science: "Let me tell you about mama...our only Mama... Mama Nature." Voight Kampff and Mr. L, the two faces of science, are both male.
  • The Multiverse: "Where Pigs Fly." It would seem that we live in a multiverse after all.
  • Population Control: In the future, parents will have to apply for a permit in order to procreate. And We Will Have Euthanasia in the Future.
  • Questioning Title?: "So Is There No God?"
  • Richard Nixon, the Used Car Salesman: The Multiverse has spawned an infinite number of possible universes. Darwin defended creation. Einstein traveled in time. Columbus discovered India. Shakespeare couldn't rhyme.
  • Sexbot: "Don't Switch Me Off" - it's not clear whether the woman is a physical bot, or a virtual simulation. In any case, she can be turned on.
  • Shout-Out: Voight Kampff is presumably a reference to either Blade Runner and its own source Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, both of which have an empathy test used to detect replicants by the same name. The fact that actor Rutger Hauer speaks the part is an extra hint, as he played a part in Blade Runner.
  • Special Guest: Rutger Hauer provides narration as Voight Kampff.
  • Title Track: "Lost In The New Real".
  • We Will Have Euthanasia in the Future: "Dr. Slumber's Eternity Home" is essentially one big, happy advertisement for such a center.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: "When I'm a Hundred Sixty-Four" has a tinge of this.
  • Worldbuilding: Pretty much the point of disc 2 on the album.
  • Zero-G Spot: "The Space Hotel" mentions making love in zero G.