Lost In The New Real
2012 | Rock
Spotify | Amazon
“Stay clear The E-police are here, to watch every move you make, 24 hours a day. -- No fear The E-police are here, designed to keep you safe, to make sure you behave.”
- Anthony reached fame with his progressive metal/rock opera project Ayreon.
- Lucassen's career began in 1980 as the guitarist and backing vocalist the Dutch band Bodine as Iron Anthony. He then joined Vengeance in 1984 where he remained for 8 years.
- Lost In The New Real is Lucassen's second solo album nearly 18 years after his first.
THE HOT TAKES
This whole album is pretty weird. However, this song stuck in my memory and I thought it would be a great opportunity to talk about...the American Wild West. Yes, that's right. "The old days," when everyone was moving to the west and settling new lands. And yes, a time when people were more or less governing themselves. This is something that Hollywood has gotten spectacularly wrong in most cases: There is a lot of "Sheriff as hero" stories out there, and the general impression that most people have is that the Wild West was a land of kill or be killed. Outlaws were preying on everyone left and right, and it was only thanks to these genuinely noble humans, cut from a different cloth than the rest of humanity, that this anarchy was kept in check. In fact, there was very little of this. Not zero, but a very small amount. Towns banded together to solve problems. Neighbors settled disputes nonviolently. Relations with Native Americans (and this is true throughout the entire colonial period) were very civil with the exception of the violent tribes that attacked first. What does this have to do with the E-Police? The dawn of the internet has its parallels with the Wild West. Unclaimed territory, new ways of interacting and doing business, rapid changes. Then, the government comes in and claims to solve a problem that barely existed, and does so terribly. Policing, censorship, inprisonment, etc. This Orwell-inspired song provides a fun foray into this concept, but for me, it will always be about the Wild West of the late 1900's.
This song reminds me of The moody Blues circa 1981, and I like it. From the railroading of Ross Ulbricht to the takedown of Count Dankula, we can already see that the E-Police are out there and watching and waiting to find a reason to take down dissenters of The State. As scary as it is to be under constant surveillance, the best thing about the internet is that it is very difficult to control completely. Look at the Great Firewall of China, they've tried to keep the people there in an information bubble, but there are always those who find a way. That makes it much harder for States to go unresisted and unquestioned. The information superhighway is a very difficult thing to shut down completely.
Ah an overly obtuse prog rock song about the grand old days of the internet. Remember when we were free in unimaginable ways to be ourselves and find the parts of life that brought us joy all from the comfort of our homes and judgement? Pepperidge Farms remembers. It’s truly not that long ago but everything happens faster on the internet. It took two hundred years for the constitution to become a feces striped document bearing the skid marks of our “society” but the internet, well it’s only taken twenty years. Thanks to the greatest tool of human freedom, we now face more of the grossest overreaches of governmental authority imaginable on a moment yo moment basis. It’s odd but like any tool there are multiple uses for it, some like the gun are stark and plain but the internet while infinitely more complicated is no less dichotomous. What’s saddest is that the E-police (to the tune of a cheap trick song in my head) are typically all private actors now. And those private actors no longer want the scalp of your virtual life, they want you dead because the end result of attacking people’s income on a long enough time table is starvation.