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Steven Wilson - To The Bone CD (album) cover


Steven Wilson


Crossover Prog

3.59 | 407 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars Wilson has done it again. And the album is just what he said it would be: a celebration of the great art pop albums of the eighties and nineties. Let's do a song by song analysis.

- To the Bone - It starts off with a female voice, American accent, about the fact that everybody has his or her own perception of Truth. Trump would approve of this song! Lyrics for the entire song are courtesy of the great Andy Partridge of XTC-fame. After this introduction a guitar strum kicks in that "echoes" Pink Floyd (pun intended) and then Steven's clear voice comes in. A wonderful start of of the album which makes you crave for more. The lyric "Rain down on me" preludes on the forthcoming Refuge. Or does it hark back to Radiohead's Paranoid Android? You never now.

- Nowhere Now - The first "poppy" song of the album. Still proggy enough for me. Would have fitted perfectly on the Porcupine Tree albums Lightbulb Sun or Stupid Dream.

- Pariah - The song where Ninet Tayeb lends her voice to a song that ends in a marvelous hair raising crescendo. And in the end these chilling words sung by Steven: "Don't you worry, don't worry about a thing, 'cause nothing really dies, nothing really ends." Steven's first nod to Peter "So" Gabriel (Don't Give Up featuring Kate Bush, anyone?): a man and women duet about a society outcast.

- The Same Asylum as Before - Another PT era song, this time more in the vein of let's say Deadwing.

- Refuge - The opening sounds make you instantly think Peter Gabriel is going to shout out "Red Rain coming down" any moment now, but Steven keeps us in suspense. It is not until 2:39 that SW really bursts into full Peter Gabriel mode. And although he is not singing PG's words, the lyrics carry more or less the same message. Finding a shelter from modern day disturbances. The song is supposed to deal with refugees, but my interpretation dares to be deviant. Kind of blend between Red Rain and Gabriel's San Jacinto (esp. the chord structure).

- Permanating - The ABBA/ELO/Beatles song. Upbeat and uplifting. A well crafted popsong, but, with the SW touch which makes this a standout song after all.

- Blank Tapes - Early Genesis mellotron and guitar open this lovely quiet song about a love that's lost. Somehow reminds me of the Robert Fripp song Mary on his 1979 Exposure album.

- People Who Eat Darkness - The third PT song on the album. I would say Fear of a Blank Planet era. Another sonic treat. Fabulous U2-like guitar solo!

- Song of I - Sophie Hunger lends her voice to this one. Not the gritty quality of Ninet Tayeb's voice, but much clearer. Perfect fit for this song. Second hint at Peter Gabriel/Kate Bush with the lyric "Give it up" as opposed to "Don't give up"?

- Detonation - SW starts off in Radiohead mode. From 1:19 to 1:30 the reference to Thom Yorke is more than obvious. But it's not like a rip off of any kind. SW has this special way of borrowing from other musicians without becoming cheesy or a complete clone. Influences from King Crimson have always been blatant in Wilson's work, but in this track he seems to have amalgamated Radiohead, King Crimson, his own Porcupine Tree and a whiff of Tears for Fears. By far the "proggiest" track of the album with an epic length of 9:20.

- Song of Unborn - The album's closer sounds like It would have fitted perfectly on Wilson's Hand.Cannot.Erase album. A lovely finale to a contemporary progpop album. An instant classic if you ask me.

The "dirty" harmonica in several of the songs adds a bluesy touch that gives these songs this extra uhmpf. And in places it reminds you of Supertramp, which was supposedly the idea.

I'm probably biased, but it seems I am just unable to dislike anything Steven Wilson keeps churning out. I've known his musical output since 2005, watched him three times live and God knows what this man will be releasing in the future. There's just no end to his genius and inventiveness. He keeps baffling me with his ideas. Takes a new turn with every album and never fails to astonish me.

As I already pointed out, Steven's musical influences are very clear from beginning to end, but in his hands it never gets a total rip-off. He managed to turn this album into the new "OK Computer", twenty years after the release of that seminal Radiohead album.

Well done Steven! Keep it up.

LakesideRitchie | 5/5 |


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