by Srijon Mukherjee
This is a review. I swear, it’s a review and not a random guy gushing incoherently over a song he’s crazy about enough to want to get it tattooed. Or maybe it is. No, no, it’s not.
Anyone who’s ever heard a little of Porcupine Tree, knows why ‘Rest Will Flow’ is an anomaly.
It’s an anomaly for the simple reason that its message is actually very positive. Steven Wilson, the genius behind the band, is known for writing lyrics dealing with serial killers, loneliness, creepy cults, dysfunctional relationships, and even more loneliness. He also likes to slam the music industry sometimes. You get the drift. This man lives for the negative emotions one can have, harvesting them and making them into beautiful tunes of mourning.
‘Rest Will Flow’ deals with a person who, in spite of maintaining a facade of strength, is actually ‘sinking’ and falling apart. However, the person finds his/her angel (angel could mean anything here, it depends on how you’d like to interpret it) and realizes that everything will work out just fine. All he/she needs to do is just go with the flow. And that, is the beauty of the lyrics. Unlike a lot of other songs, this song does not try too hard.
People like me tend to get really bogged down and tensed randomly and obsessively, and will never buy it when you just tell them that everything will just be alright. Why will it? Is it really that easy? And how the fuck do you know? I have a problem accepting that things are just going to be alright. Tell me just that, and I will lash out at you for trying to half-heartedly reassure me like a kid. I’m not a kid, I’m just depressed enough to be acting like one, so that approach will never work on me, because I’ll see through it, BUT, tell me that, yes, it’s not okay now, and it might never be, but it will still change? That, it will flow, along with everything in your life, all in one continuous stream? Now, THAT, I would accept readily without trying my best to debunk it. The one thing that I have no problem doing, is closing my eyes and letting the flow take me wherever it feels. As long as there’s flow, there’s hope. And as long as there’s hope there’s the scope of happiness, if not happiness itself.
And that is exactly what Steven Wilson is getting at here. He’s not telling you that this phase will be over soon, and that you’ll be dancing in flowery meadows with rainbows in every corner and multi-colored ponies following you around everywhere in no time. No, he doesn't have the time or energy for bullshit like that. He’s telling you to close your eyes and give in to the flow and see where you end up. He's let go of his beloved cynicism, and is giving you a message void of all those uplifting cliches that you've come to hate so much.
I don’t know about you all, but I’ll take it.
‘Rest Will Flow’ featured on the sixth studio album by Porcupine Tree, called ‘Lightbulb Sun’, released in July 2000. The song is an anomaly among the Porcupine Tree discography in terms of melody too, with the characteristic melancholy and experimentation that fans are so used to, being absent and a more straightforward approach being taken. It was sung by Steven Wilson, as is the norm, and features a very radio-friendly melody, backed by a string arrangement which accentuates the overall upbeat tone of the song very well.
I recently read that the band was very skeptical about putting this song in the album as they felt that it would not fit in with the theme and the other songs on the album. They still did it anyway as Steven Wilson insisted that the song had ‘single potential.’
Good call, Steven Wilson. Good call.