Fantastic Planet (album)

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Fantastic Planet
Failurefantasticplanet.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedAugust 13, 1996
Recorded1996 at F.P.S. Studios, Los Angeles; Madhatter Studios, Silverlake
Genre
Length67:51
Label
ProducerFailure
Failure chronology
Magnified
(1994)
''Fantastic Planet''
(1996)
Golden
(2004)
Singles from Fantastic Planet
  1. "Stuck on You"
    Released: 1996
  2. "Pitiful"
    Released: 1996[4]
  3. "Saturday Savior"
    Released: 1996[5]

Fantastic Planet is the third studio album by American alternative rock band Failure, released on August 13, 1996. It was the last album released on Slash Records as distributed by Warner Bros. Records.

The album was produced by Failure themselves in a process that took longer than their previous two albums, with one song being recorded and produced soon after being written, and repeating this process. Space rock themes are present in the lyrics, as well as various indirect references to drug addiction, drug-related experiences, and prostitution. The album is cyclical, in that the chiming sound effect which ends the final track "Daylight" begins the opening track "Saturday Saviour", and was the beginning of a system of numerically designated segues in Failure's studio work, which would continue on later albums.[6]

Despite receiving critical acclaim, the album failed to chart on Billboard 's Top 200 albums, but did produce a charting single with "Stuck on You", which reached #23 on Billboard 's Alternative Songs Chart.[7] Seven of the album's songs were also included on Failure's Essentials, a best-of collection from 2006.

Fantastic Planet would be Failure's last studio album release, until The Heart Is a Monster in 2015.

Background[edit]

In 1992, Failure signed with Slash Records (an LA-based independent label, and subsequently released two albums; Comfort in 1992, and Magnified in 1994. Magnified, while not a commercial success, was a hit with critics and pushed the band to begin work on Fantastic Planet in early 1995. Guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen joined Failure around the time of this album's release.

Artwork[edit]

The album art is closely based on an illustration by Ed Valigursky used for the book jacket of the first edition of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard's 1954 novel To the Stars.

Release[edit]

The album's first single, "Stuck on You" (an appropriately catchy mid-tempo track that metaphorically compares infatuation to a nagging tune stuck in one's head), became a minor alternative-radio hit and achieved light to medium rotation on MTV, but failed to chart significantly. The song peaked at No. 31 on the U.S. Billboard Mainstream Rock chart and No. 23 on the Modern Rock chart.[8][7] Other songs, such as "Saturday Saviour" and "Pitiful", received some airplay from more adventurous-minded DJs, but no more videos were made for any of the album's tracks, and due to the state of disarray at their label at that time, little effort was put into its promotion.

A music video was produced for the single "Stuck on You" which closely resembles the opening credits of the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me (included on the DVD portion of the 2004 Failure compilation Golden). Other songs, such as "Saturday Saviour" and "Pitiful", were released as radio singles, but no music videos were made for them. An outtake from the album, called "Wake Up", was released through the 2004 compilation Golden.

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic2.5/5 stars[9]
Sputnikmusic4/5[10]

Fantastic Planet was met with critical acclaim. In a highly positive contemporaneous review written for The Daily Utah Chronicle in November 1996, Shan Fowler asserts that with the album “Failure separates themselves from the guitar-buzzed masses by balancing thick riffs with intricate arrangements and intelligent lyrics.” Fowler goes on to highlight the album's final two tracks, “Heliotropic” and “Daylight”, as its crowning achievement, writing that the songs are “two manipulated masterpieces with tribal drums, treated guitars, spacey synthesizers and dubbed vocals. It sounds like a mess when broken down, but flows weightlessly and gracefully in and out of the listeners mind.”[11] James Weiskittel of Soundblab said that the album was "an impressively focused affair, with each track fitting perfectly into an overarching story of addiction-fueled dissociation."

Legacy[edit]

In 2009, JustPressPlay named Fantastic Planet the third-best album of the 1990s.[12] In 2014, Decibel Magazine inducted Fantastic Planet into their Hall of Fame naming it a cult classic and an album that paints its heaviness in a gorgeous way.[13]

"The Nurse Who Loved Me" was covered by A Perfect Circle on their 2003 album Thirteenth Step, as well as by The Section Quartet on their 2007 album Fuzzbox. "Another Space Song" was covered by Statistics, the solo project of Denver Dalley of Desaparecidos, and released on Location is Everything Vol. 2, a Jade Tree Records sampler disc. "Stuck on You" was covered by Paramore on their 2006 CD The Summer Tic EP; the title of the CD is taken from the song's lyrics, albeit with "tick" changed to "tic". "Smoking Umbrellas" was covered by Phil Ritchie on Rock Star: Supernova, and was also covered by SouthFM. "Sergeant Politeness" was played live at solo concerts between 2004 and 2006 by Melissa Auf der Maur with her band Auf der Maur. A recording of a rendition was released on her Single "Taste You".

New York alternative rock band Pillowhead is named after the track of the same name.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Ken Andrews & Greg Edwards

  1. "Saturday Saviour" – 4:27
  2. "Sergeant Politeness" – 4:05
  3. "Segue 1" - 1:54
  4. "Smoking Umbrellas" – 3:58
  5. "Pillowhead" - 2:09
  6. "Blank" – 5:38
  7. "Segue 2" - 1:17
  8. "Dirty Blue Balloons" – 4:23
  9. "Solaris" – 3:43
  10. "Pitiful" – 4:45
  11. "Leo" – 3:05
  12. "Segue 3" - 2:11
  13. "The Nurse Who Loved Me" – 4:25
  14. "Another Space Song" – 5:10
  15. "Stuck on You" – 4:28
  16. "Heliotropic" – 6:14
  17. "Daylight" – 6:00

Personnel[edit]

Produced by Failure; engineered by Ken Andrews. Recorded at F.P.S. Studios (Los Angeles CA) and Madhatter Studios (Silverlake CA). Mastered by Tom Baker at Future Disc (Hollywood CA).

Chart Position[edit]

"Stuck On You" had charted on Billboard's Alternative Rock (January 11) and Mainstream Rock charts (January 25) in early 1997. The single left both charts nine weeks after appearing.

Singles[edit]

Year Song Chart peak positions
US
US
Alt Rock
[7]
US
Main Rock

[8]
1997 "Stuck on You" 23 31
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Terich, Jeff (February 10, 2014). "Hall of Fame: Failure - Fantastic Planet". Treble. Retrieved October 16, 2020.
  2. ^ Hadusek, Jon (April 3, 2019). "Live Review: Failure and Swervedriver invoke heavy tones, romantic moods at Brooklyn's Warsaw (3/29)". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved October 16, 2020.
  3. ^ Kreps, Daniel (December 16, 2019). "Failure Celebrate First Three Albums With Live Residencies, Box Set". Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 16, 2020.
  4. ^ "Failure - Pitiful". Discogs.
  5. ^ "Failure - Saturday Savior". Discogs.
  6. ^ Taylor, Chris (May 21, 2018). "Failure – "In The Future"". ReadJunk. Retrieved October 16, 2020.
  7. ^ a b c "Failure Album & Song Chart History - Alternative Airplay". Billboard.
  8. ^ a b "Failure Album & Song Chart History - Mainstream Rock Songs". Billboard.
  9. ^ Carlson, Dean. "Fantastic Planet - Failure | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved October 16, 2020.
  10. ^ FlawedPerfection (August 12, 2006). "Failure - Fantastic Planet (album review 6)". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved October 16, 2020.
  11. ^ Fowler, Shan (November 7, 1996). "Success Slow for Failure". The Daily Utah Chronicle. Retrieved November 7, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  12. ^ Medlock, Matt (October 28, 2009). "Fifty Years of Great Music: The Top 100 Albums of the 1990s". JustPressPlay. Archived from the original on July 22, 2012. Retrieved October 16, 2020.
  13. ^ Bonazelli, Andrew (March 31, 2014). "Failure – "Fantastic Planet"". Decibel. Retrieved May 28, 2019.

External links[edit]