Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography

STEVEN WILSON

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Steven Wilson picture
Steven Wilson biography
Steven John Wilson - Born 3 November 1967 (Kingston upon Thames, London, UK)

STEVEN WILSON, perhaps most widely known for his role as the frontman for the popular act PORCUPINE TREE , is an artist from the UK who, through his various side projects, has spanned a vast number of musical ideas and concepts. Some of the styles he has been known to utilize are heavy prog, psychedelic, electronica, post-rock, ambient music, drone, metal, and art rock. Furthermore, WILSON is intensely focused on production values, dynamic mixing and mastering, and all other sorts of building albums that sound best in high-quality systems. In short, WILSON has always been an artist that appeals to audiophiles and fans of meticulously produced music. This shows up strongly in each of his bands and projects, but it plays even more of a role in his solo efforts.

Photo by Lasse Hoile

Though some of his earliest musical recordings were demos that predated even Porcupine Tree, his solo releases did not truly start appearing until his "Cover Version" singles began in 2003. Essentially releasing one a year, each "Cover Version" contained a particularly unconventional song that WILSON chose to reproduce and one original song by WILSON. Also, in 2004, WILSON put out his experimental electronic album "Unreleased Electronic Music Vol. 1." Neither the "Cover Version" singles nor "Unreleased Electronic Music" feature any other performers, aside from some input from THEO TRAVIS on the latter.

⭐ Collaborators Top Prog Album of 2013 ⭐

⭐ Collaborators Top Prog Album of 2011 ⭐

That trend changed at the end of 2008, however, when WILSON released his first full-length, proper solo album, "Insurgentes." Featuring, among others, PORCUPINE TREE drummer Gavin Harrison, Prog bass legend TONY LEVIN, current DREAM THEATER keyboardist JORDAN RUDESS, and saxophonist/flautist THEO TRAVIS, "Insurgentes" proves rather quickly that it is not simply another ambient or electronic release. Toying with many of the styles that can be seen in PORCUPINE TREE, "Insurgentes" is a mature, laid-back album marked by less metal and more noise than PT's later albums. WILSON has stated that the album draws a lot o...
read more

STEVEN WILSON forum topics / tours, shows & news


STEVEN WILSON forum topics Create a topic now
STEVEN WILSON tours, shows & news Post an entries now

STEVEN WILSON Videos (YouTube and more)


Showing only random 3 | Show all STEVEN WILSON videos (5) | Search and add more videos to STEVEN WILSON

Buy STEVEN WILSON Music



More places to buy STEVEN WILSON music online

STEVEN WILSON discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

STEVEN WILSON top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.82 | 1097 ratings
Insurgentes
2008
4.19 | 1822 ratings
Grace For Drowning
2011
4.28 | 2181 ratings
The Raven That Refused to Sing (and Other Stories)
2013
4.30 | 1611 ratings
Hand. Cannot. Erase.
2015
3.53 | 518 ratings
4 ½
2016
3.60 | 497 ratings
To The Bone
2017
3.13 | 196 ratings
The Future Bites
2021

STEVEN WILSON Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.35 | 192 ratings
Catalogue/Preserve/Amass
2012
4.60 | 50 ratings
Get All You Deserve
2017
4.50 | 56 ratings
Home Invasion (In Concert at the Royal Albert Hall)
2018

STEVEN WILSON Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.54 | 147 ratings
Insurgentes - The Movie
2010
4.61 | 316 ratings
Get All You Deserve
2012
4.67 | 66 ratings
Home Invasion : In Concert at the Royal Albert Hall
2018

STEVEN WILSON Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.83 | 116 ratings
Nsrgnts Rmxs
2009
3.00 | 5 ratings
Tape Experiments 1985 - 86
2010
3.22 | 132 ratings
Cover Version
2014
3.45 | 81 ratings
Transience
2015
4.08 | 13 ratings
To The Bone: Deluxe Edition
2017

STEVEN WILSON Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.76 | 50 ratings
Cover Version
2003
3.67 | 48 ratings
Cover Version II
2004
3.71 | 48 ratings
Cover Version III
2005
3.45 | 57 ratings
Unreleased Electronic Music
2005
3.81 | 45 ratings
Cover Version IV
2006
3.47 | 49 ratings
Cover Version V
2008
4.47 | 77 ratings
Harmony Korine
2009
3.51 | 60 ratings
Vapour Trail Lullaby
2010
3.62 | 56 ratings
Cover Version 6 plus full collection bundle
2010
3.33 | 9 ratings
Demos
2010
4.04 | 48 ratings
Postcard
2011
3.84 | 25 ratings
Cut Ribbon
2012
4.01 | 130 ratings
Drive Home
2013
4.54 | 13 ratings
Luminol / The Watchmaker
2013
4.19 | 16 ratings
Happiness III
2016
3.54 | 28 ratings
Last Day of June (Game Soundtrack)
2017
3.00 | 14 ratings
Permanating
2017
3.36 | 11 ratings
Song of I
2017
3.62 | 13 ratings
Pariah
2017
3.31 | 13 ratings
The Same Asylum as Before
2017
3.40 | 10 ratings
Refuge
2017
3.25 | 12 ratings
Nowhere Now
2017
3.30 | 20 ratings
How Big the Space
2018
2.60 | 25 ratings
Eminent Sleaze
2020
2.72 | 27 ratings
12 Things I Forgot
2020
3.00 | 23 ratings
The B-Sides Collection
2020
2.76 | 17 ratings
King Ghost
2020
2.88 | 17 ratings
Personal Shopper
2020

STEVEN WILSON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Future Bites by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.13 | 196 ratings

BUY
The Future Bites
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Heavy / RPI / Symphonic Prog Team

3 stars My first listening session of this album was disappointing despite that I knew what direction Steven had decided to go. But when I listened to the music in surround, it grows on me probably because I was putting more attention into that environment. Suddenly, the vocals and the electronic effects had more meaning when it's coming from everywhere. From the beginning of the album with the two first tracks, we are not too far from the same mood of some songs from the previous album. There is a lot of vocals effects and multiple chanting parts that drive the melody through a sometimes ambient atmosphere and at other times in some Pop music mode. The song ''Eminent Slaze'' has some Prince and Frankie Goes to Hollywood style of music, and starting with ''Personal Shopper'' there is some addictive groove at an upbeat pace, that will continue in the next song. There is some guitar on this album despite being an electronic album but nothing to compare to his past material as a solo artist. The last song ''Count of Unease'' is a peaceful ending at a slow pace with piano and vocals that as the ambient atmosphere of the song ''Raven that Refuse to Sing''. However, it's a bit frustrating that Steven has not included in the Blu-Ray edition some good songs only available on the Deluxe edition. What rating should I give to this kind of album on a Prog Web site? It's an excellent addition to your music collection, not Prog but who says everything good has to be Prog.
 The Future Bites by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.13 | 196 ratings

BUY
The Future Bites
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by A Crimson Mellotron

3 stars Steven Wilson begins the new decade with a daring new album - 'The Future Bites' happens to be solo album #6 by the British prog rock icon, and it will quite likely be remembered for the big delay in the release date, precisely from June 2020 to late January 2021. Before diving into the content of this new album, I must say one thing: I'm glad that this album sounds the way it does, and not like 'To the Bone' Part 2 or a reworked version of 'Grace for Drowning' or even a 'Blackfield' spin-off; Steven Wilson has changed directions once again in the seemingly perpetual musical exploration journey that he has embarked on since the mid-90s, and thank god he has... again.

Unlike the album that came right before it, 'The Future Bites' is less guitar-driven for the sake of a more prevalent synth-pop-reminiscent sound, much more minimalistic in terms of the production approach, somehow more chorus-driven and severely electronic. Also, Wilson tips his toes in the field of disco and dance music, if you will, for the good of it.

A well-crafted and well-thought-out modern pop record that will, in my opinion, stand the test of time. Will it be considered his best in some decades' time? I certainly do not know but I had some hidden high hopes that it could be such. However, the kind of revolving concept around the album is well-known to Wilson, as he has explored consumerism, the influence of social media, and current events before, but this time all wrapped around the fictional high-end brand The Future Bites' plot to sell whatever useless crap could be branded.

Musically, this album has all the significant traces of a Steven Wilson record, which might not be necessarily named but are strongly felt once heard, the most dominant of all being the emotiveness of all of his music. Because despite the style and the thematic concept of 'TFB', this is a very emotive record. With songs like 'King Ghost', '12 Things I Forgot', 'Man of the People' and 'Count of Unease', you cannot dismiss this record as a bland or mindless collection of easy-going pop songs.

'Self' is an interesting entry in his catalogue - very electronic and upbeat, quite minimalistic in terms of production but effective enough to be a memorable song. 'Eminent Sleaze' sounds like something that Pink Floyd would have done had they been active in 2021; most likely my favorite song on the album, and another unique Steven Wilson piece. Enough said. 'Personal Shopper' is quite spectacular, almost 10-minutes of sort of dark-dance prog rock fest. Plus, the music video that accompanies this song is absolutely spectacular and this has to be pointed out. Finally, 'Follower' seems to be the only song I cannot get used to. Interestingly, the bonus material for the album is twice as long as the album itself, and contains some pretty good tracks but generally I can see why these were left out (covers, remixes, and shorter, more state-of-the-art songs).

Moreover, an interesting cast of additional musicians and collaborators, including David Kosten, Nick Beggs, Adam Holzman, Richard Barbieri, Elton John, Rotem Wilson, and many more are in to add something to this record. It is sometimes hard to feel the presence of people like Beggs or Holzman but this is not the kind of album that would be in need for their 'full-time presence'.

All in all, this album is strong, different, and surprising. Does it strike the same chord with me like his previous albums? Honestly, not quite. As much as I like the experience of this album that sounds tremendous on headphones, there is something lacking when compared to the masterful 'Hand. Cannot. Erase' or 'The Raven', or almost any other album that Steven Wilson has been involved in. Fantastic choice on his side, however, to continue exploring whatever excites him artistically! Still much more progressive than many other contemporary acts waving this flag.

 The Future Bites by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.13 | 196 ratings

BUY
The Future Bites
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by rogerthat
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I often find myself extremely conflicted when I review albums that are clearly not prog for this website. The rules require that the maximum score I could give for a non prog album would be 3. And I cannot bring myself to do that for say a Fire of Unknown Origin or even Rainbow's RIsing.

But not this time! ;)

Wilson talked a big talk at the time of the release of The Future Bites. He took aim at those listeners who prefer to listen to second rate prog but would hate your guts if you made first rate pop. Fair enough and I understand and agree with the sentiment. The trouble is when as an artist you put yourself out there with a statement like that to back your clearly not-prog album, you are begging for the question to be asked as to whether YOU have made a first rate pop album.

I wish I could say the answer is yes.

It isn't, not in my opinion.

It's a first rate PRODUCTION. Wilson's production continues to be top notch, one of the best in the business. I miss the days when pop was still produced like this as lately it is oversaturated with loudness and compression. Wilson's production is luxuriant and the songs sound easy on the ears without lacking punch.

The trouble is this isn't future bites anything. The musical composition itself is very by the numbers. There is hardly anything to surprise you if you have been casually familiar with the goings on in pop. I would even go so far to say that a lot of it is quite dated, evoking the pop that was made maybe ten years ago or older.

One song in particular is super dated but in a nice way. 12 Things I Forgot instantly brings the 90s to mind with a sweet melody that could have found its way into Cathy Dennis' Am I The Kinda Girl album. Which by the way is not an insult if you've heard that album at all. The melody, the arrangements evoke greener Britpop pastures gone by that perhaps Mr Wilson enjoyed when he was younger, so much younger than today. Indeed, the harmonizing on the chorus evokes Beatles. There is also a whiff of the song Gary Barlow wrote for Agnetha Faltskog - I Should Have Followed You Home.

There is little redemption elsewhere as Wilson frequently hides his own vocals behind computerised effects. So futuristic it sometimes brings to mind the beginnings of techno.

Wilson pronounced the guitar dead in the interviews accompanying this album. VS Naipaul/Sally Wertheim-like pronouncements declaring the death of the novel/tennis are best avoided but either Wilson does not think so or is consciously trolling us listeners to bait us into listening to the album. After all, I too may not have given this album a few spins had I not been piqued to find out just what was this new album about.

Anyhow, I wonder whether Wilson has listened to the work of Everything Everything, whether he realises that songs like Night of The Long Knives are constructed mostly out of guitars. I mean, I am a hundred percent certain Wilson can forget more about music than what I know about it but even so, such dubious pronouncements do force me to question his wisdom.

Everything Everything is polarizing and quirky but they certainly put out their work boldly and unabashedly and grab you by the collar. That is not something one has been able to say about Wilson in recent years and this album is no exception. His talk seems to be usually followed by a well produced but musically modest affair. What is striking, if anything, is how conservative Wilson's tastes are. I don't mean this in an ideological sense. I mean that he is playing it pretty safe. Even when he ventures far from the comfort zone of a prog rocker, he curates the sounds so carefully it's difficult for this album to offend you.

It does bore me a little though, if I am being perfectly honest. I give it three stars only for the sheer meticulous effort that has clearly gone into putting it together. I appreciate that there are still musicians like Wilson who want to give you a product with high technical values. It is a quality that has increasingly been given the short shrift in the name of everything-goes subjectivity. I respect the polish of this album. But there is only so much you can polish a, uh, semi- turd at the end of the day. Not even close to an excellent addition to any pop music collection, guys; for now, you should be just fine with your Beatles, ABBA, Michael Jackson and Prince albums. Perhaps the future is going to bite but Wilson isn't about to just yet.

 The Future Bites by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.13 | 196 ratings

BUY
The Future Bites
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by ssmarcus

4 stars The master of modern progressive rock and the man most responsible for keeping the legacy and spirit of 70's prog alive in the modern era has made a near full pivot towards synth-based pop... And we all should have seen it coming. As Pitchfork writer Sam Sodomsky reminds us in his latest review for Genisis' 1980 release Duke, ".. after the '70's, nearly every major prog band tried their hand at writing simpler tunes for a hipper crowd..." Wilson's pop pivot was basically pre-ordained.

Have no fear, the music on The Future Bites does not abandon rock entirely. There is a fusion here akin to something you might here from Imagine Dragons or 2010's Coldplay. Only the musical content is more interesting and tasteful. The tunes on this record are definitely loaded to this gills with layers of sounds and textures previously only teased on Wilson's other efforts. But the strong and memorable melodies along with colorful and inventive chord progressions that have always been hallmarks of Wilson's sound are still here in full effect. As much as this record is different, it is also a distilled and focused restatement of everything fans have always loved about this music. On a personal level, having the opportunity to appreciate a level of sophistication in an easily digestible format is always welcome.

While the musical foundation of this record is strong, the ethics of the project's underlying lyrical concept are murky. The Future Bites is the name of a fictional brand that employs the viral hype-marketing and artificial supply scarcity tactics of brands like Supreme and, to a certain extent, tech giants like Apple. Anyone with a brain can appreciate the extent to which these companies invest in creating an artificial demand for their products to foster gross amount of conspicuous consumption. But at the same time, artists should be a bit more humble and careful before attacking these trends outright. In today's penny- pinched music market, artists rely heavily on convincing consumers of the uniqueness of their brand and the experiences associated with purchasing their products, products like limited addition vinyl. Attacking this business model outright lacks self awareness and sympathy for what it is consumers are looking for in the first place.

 To The Bone by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.60 | 497 ratings

BUY
To The Bone
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by The Rain Man
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Having spent 50 years on this planet, it is quite amazing that Wilson is still on an upward projectory in terms of his popularity. It's not as if the early days when he was in Porcupine Tree were bad. It's just in those days he created music that generally didn't appeal to the masses. Although there were some hints in the likes of "Stupid Dream" and "Deadwing", that maybe someday he would make albums that are more commercial and appeal more to the wider music public. He did this with his 4th solo album "Hand. Cannot. Erase" back in 2015. But even more so with "To the bone" which is his most successful album to date including side projects and Porcupine Tree, reaching No 2 in the UK charts in its first week on sale.

As the singles started being released before the album came out, it was easy to see why this album would be more successful. For the first single "Pariah", Wilson brought in Ninet Yaheb to share the vocals with. This is a nice build up song and Yahebs vocals are incredible and compliment Steven's vocals well. Wilson did an interview on the BBC at the time of releasing this album and they played this song off the album just as a clip. The presenter commented that there was no singing, only for Steven to correct her as the bit they picked out was the only bit that didn't have singing! It was funny and is probably still on You tube. But I don't think it was that song that really pushed this album to the fore. I think it was "Permanating" which Steven describes as his Abba moment. It is a piano driven song and really is so joyous and uplifting. Something which is not often associated with Wilson's music. I do wonder given the success of this album he would be more geared to do more songs like this in the future.

Although the album is littered with more rock singles, there are still quite a few songs on the album which would fit quite easily onto one of his earlier more proggy solo efforts. Notably "Song of I" and 9 minute track "Detonation". But the problem is while I liked quite a bit of the prog stuff he did with Porcupine Tree. I didn't really enjoy Wilson's earlier albums and thought they were patchy. These songs are in my opinion the weakest on the album. "Song of I" is a slow moving track. I don't mind slow moving tracks but if its going to be slow moving it needs to have impact. And I don't feel this song has that. Detonation for me shouldn't really be on the album and I think it was more put on to please the older fans of his music rather than it was actually suited to the album.

But the album is saved by the quality of those shorter songs. I say shorter but most are still in the 5 minute region. Particular highlights for me are "Same Asylum as Before" and album closer "Song of Unborn". "Same Asylum" has this great riff in it and I would say this is best rock out song on the album. And "Song of Unborn" is just a gentle mesmerising masterpiece of song. I definitively have not listened to a Steven Wilson solo track as much as I have this one. If you included Porcupine Tree as well there are probably are a few of their songs which I have listened to more. But I think you get the picture. Its a very laid back song and although slow moving this one does have then impact. A perfect way to finish an album.

Overall, although this is a really good album, I wouldn't say its great. There are more sing along songs than ever which I like and "Song of Unborn" for me is one of the best things he has ever done. In terms of his solo stuff I would also rank this as this best album he is ever done. But compared to some of the stuff he did with Porcupine Tree I would say this is just a wee bit lower down. Not by much though.

 The Raven That Refused to Sing (and Other Stories) by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.28 | 2181 ratings

BUY
The Raven That Refused to Sing (and Other Stories)
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by Lieutenant_Lan

5 stars The Raven That Refused to Sing is the third solo album by British musician Steven Wilson which was released in February of 2013. The lyrics are all really great, telling several different stories that discuss moral lessons and hardships of life. The instrumentation on this album is really great, it knows when to be dark, energetic, or beautiful, it also takes many inspirations from other progressive genres. You can hear jazz, metal, classical, electronic, and folk influences on the album. Because of this I would say this album gives a showcase of all the things that make prog great. And for that I give it a 5/5. I would highly recommend this album to anyone, and it would make a great addition to any prog collection.
 The Future Bites by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.13 | 196 ratings

BUY
The Future Bites
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by lazland
Prog Reviewer

4 stars When I get an album and start listening to it, I do not stop to think about what particular sub-genre it might belong to in Prog Archives, or whether, in fact, it should be here in the first place. I am slightly old fashioned in that my first thought is; is this any good? Do I like it? Will I like it moving forward after that initial rush of excitement on the first few listens?

The answer to the (as far as the so-called hardcore fan base is concerned) "sellout" electronica pop/rock album that is The Future Bites is yes. I do like it. It is clever conceptually regarding rampant commercialism and its use of technology (Follower is a very clever commentary, as well as including a fantastic guitar riff). Musically, it is as tight as one would expect from a maestro musician. In terms of its sound, it is as polished as one would expect from the man most in demand for remixes on the planet. And in the 10 or so listens thus far, each time I find myself foot-tapping and head-nodding in appreciation at what I am hearing, most definitively on the quite marvellous 12 Things I Forgot, which, perhaps deliberately, reminds one strongly of my favourite Porcupine Tree track, Lazarus.

Elsewhere, we have a guest slot by Elton John on Personal Shopper, an extremely clever exposé of all those utterly inessential "essential" items of shopping we are so addicted to, showing if nothing else that Sir John has a nice sense of irony about himself. The passage where he reels out the list of items is a dreamy sequence in stark contrast to the relentlessly upbeat opening themes, and this continues before the corporate electronica reasserts itself.

Most of the music here is beat driven and electronically upbeat, and certainly a massive contrast to the relentless, if brilliant, gloom of Hand. Cannot. Erase, although there are a couple of tracks which can be identified as natural progressions from that album in their melancholy, namely Man of the People and Count of Unease.

All in all, I admire this album and the driving force behind it. Wilson is progressing, and taking his musical vision to places he wants them to go, rather than the somewhat obsessive minority who demand a repeat of In Absentia every time he records something.

In closing, I might also add that this album reminds me quite a bit of that period in the early 1980's when every "proper" Genesis fan decried the commerciality of ATTWT and Duke, and wanted Collins strung up after the massive success of Face Value. Let me tell you something. There are a great many people about now who love a lot of the music we hold dear on this site because of the accessibility of those albums, and others such as 90125. They listened, and thought, "this ain't half bad", and explored further.

Steven Wilson is a man who I think is becoming more and more like the man he obviously holds in the highest regard (and it is reciprocated), namely one Robert Fripp, an artist and leader who spent an entire 50+ career reinventing himself and his music.

I for one look forward very much to the next instalment of Wilson's journey, because The Future Bites is an excellent album those with an open mind to class pop/prog/rock will take a great deal of enjoyment from.

And you know what? As much of a masterpiece I regard aforementioned Hand....this one will be on the deck quite a bit more often, even if it is as background whilst I work. Yep. Accessible. Easy to listen to, but still oozing intelligence in every note and word. That will do for me.

 The Future Bites by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.13 | 196 ratings

BUY
The Future Bites
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by lukretio

2 stars If you have been following the progressive rock and metal scene over the past 30 years, the name Steven Wilson will be no stranger to you. After leaving his main band Porcupine Tree, in 2008 Wilson started a very successful solo career that has seen him rapidly become an icon for the contemporary progressive rock/metal community. Albums like The Raven That Refused to Sing (And Other Stories) and Hand. Cannot. Erase. are rightfully considered modern prog rock masterpieces and gained Steven Wilson accolades among critics and public alike. However, Steven is not a man who rests easily on his laurels and already with 2017's To The Bone he showed his hunger for experimenting with new sounds and influences, which inevitably disappointed more than a few progressive rock aficionados. Personally, I quite liked that album and did not find it such a dramatic departure from Wilson's previous output as some believed it was. It wasn't perhaps his strongest effort and did not have the charm of concept albums like Raven and HCE, but it did contain some excellent moments.

Steven's sixth album, The Future Bites, was announced to be an even starker deviation from his prog rock roots. It undoubtedly is. It's an album born out of Steven's love for sophisticated pop and electronic music (Tears for Fears, Talk Talk, Roxy Music, XTC). The rock (let alone metal) influences are nearly completely wiped out off this album. The guitar work is sparse and limited to chords and occasional solos that are more punkish, noisy explosions than melodic constructions ("Eminent Sleaze"). Rhythmically, the music relies in equal parts on Michael Spearman's (Everything Everything) light and easy drumming and David Kosten's (aka Faultine) synthetic programmed beats. Synths, sound effects and loops dominate the musical landscape. Vocally, Steven frequently resorts to his characteristic androgynous falsetto to carry the melodies. This, and the abundant use of background female vocals give the album a strong funk/R&B flavor.

Most songs revolve around short and simplified structures, with only two songs exceeding the five minutes bar ("Personal Shopper" and "Count of Unease"). There is not much space for solo spotlights on this album, and the moments of instrumental brilliance are few and far in between. "Eminent Sleaze" surprises the listener with a string orchestra superimposed to a funky bass and guitar pattern. The vocal collage in the middle of "Personal Shopper" is another stroke of genius and one of the most exhilarating moments on the album: Elton John (!) guests by reading out a list of superfluous consumption products and a series of psychological states that they substitute for ("self-esteem", "self-love", "self-doubt"), the different words appearing faster and faster to create a vocal tourbillion that disorientates the listener. The rest of the album, however, inhabits much more average territories, coming across as pleasant and well-constructed, but never exciting or engrossing.

Despite all this, the album still sounds undeniably like Steven Wilson. In its most mellow electronic/ambient moments ("King Ghost", "Man of the People", "Count of Unease"), it reminds me of Steven's early work with Porcupine Tree on albums like Stupid Dream and his first solo release Insurgentes. "12 Things I forgot" continues Steven's tradition of pop/rock semi-acoustic ballads that one can find aplenty on Porcupine Tree's albums. Even the most electronic moments of the album, like "Personal Shopper", do not come as a total surprise given that Steven's love for electronic music has surfaced more than once in his previous work (for instance on "No Part of Me" or "Index" from his second solo album Grace for Drowning).

Therefore, my disappointment with The Future Bites does not really come from the fact that I thought Steven Wilson has "betrayed his origins" (what a silly thing to criticize an artist for, anyhow) or that he has "sold out". I feel that this album is a product of Steven's genuine artistic expression as much as anything he has written before. No, the reason why I gave a low score to The Future Bites is that this album leaves me terribly cold, unexcited and uninvolved. I suspect this is partly the effect Wilson was going for as it matches well the theme of the album ? a dry satire of the mindless consumerism and status-seeking of our times. The clean and aseptic production, the detached and processed vocals and the synthetic elements of the music all contribute to conjure up images of shopping malls infested with plasticky products, lifeless mannequins and brainwashed consumers. It's a sinister and compelling concept, that however does not work so well as a musical embodiment precisely because of the qualities that it strives to incarnate (lifelessness, sterileness, asepticism). In a nutshell: The Future Bites comes across as dull and uninteresting, with too few moments that really perk my interest and hold my attention for more than a handful of seconds.

I doubt that Steven Wilson will ever be able to write an album that is a total disaster, no matter the style he chooses to write or play. The Future Bites is no exception. It is not a bad album. There is enough variation in its songs to please everybody except perhaps the most radical progsters out there. The melodies are pleasant, some songs are even very good ("King Ghost", "Man of the People", "Personal Shopper"). However, there is too much averageness, too many moments that pass by unremarkably and are soon forgotten. I hate to say it but much of the songs on The Future Bites have a background music quality that greatly reduces my eagerness to play them over and over again while listening intently. In the end, my disappointment mostly comes down to wrong expectations: I admire and respect so much Steve Wilson's artistic genius that when I put on one of his albums I always expect to be blown away by it, no matter its style or genre. This did not happen with The Future Bites. Its songs did not impress me from a technical point of view, nor did they involve me emotionally. They did not even outrage me. I felt nothing: they just passed by, mediocrely and inconspicuously. And this is probably the worst possible thing that can happen to any piece of music.

[Originally written for The Metal Observer]

 The Future Bites by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.13 | 196 ratings

BUY
The Future Bites
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by tugatugatuga

2 stars sorry steven,,with respect: the fact of this album is not my cup of tea, is not because someone like me likes hard metal or prog or jazz, blues of hard rock! which i do all. the reason for this album being a very disappointed album in my opinion is due to factor of being more than nothing special, with the same old routine pop album that you can find it everywhere, anywhere but even better than this album. when artists goes from one area into another is something that i really admire. i seen 5 shows from porcupine tree and 7 from steven wilson and it looks like he wanted to provoke hard metal fans and make them to go away or at least to exempt himself from prog music. he always criticized in concerts people who likes guitar star players or hard metal, but if you are going to do something different, at least be different from the others, and that thing was always something steven did better than everyone else by creating a difference in his music. i know that electronics is a future state of mind of the new generations of musicians or non musicians, and the guitar instrument is fading away in this millenium decades, but this album didn't went well on me by not creating any other way for perfection we got used too with steven. when bands like silverchair, pain of salvation, imelda may, span and other bands decided to go into a different direction, they left behind something that was so amazing that would take decades to have such bands like that coming by or they would be the best in their style. porcupine tree was one of those examples: it sounded like radiohead, coldplay, dream theater, nine inch nails, pink floyd and other genres. this album would get into your ears very fast but it will fade away faster as well, at least for me. prog genre was always a name for me that represents various genres and that's the reason for me to call progressive music, because you never knew were they stand. this album is somehow the other way of that. it's justsounds like many thousands pops albums out there. it's like when a man gets married and gets kids, he tries to please his music more to his wife than too his fans,,,,and he achieved that,,,but like every other man, when you get tired of your wife and kids, the old mind will kick off and it will come back soon or later. i still admire steven wilson for his dedication and i will never stop going to his shows. look at this point: even in his shows when he lost money because he wanted to produce an amazing and different live show, and only to a small bunch of people,,,he did that because he wanted to leave people shocked from their performance and the visual aspects from being different. people would get out and say: **** what the hell did i just watch,,amazing shows, and next time he would perform another show, i would come back with more invited people to witness his shows,,,they all loved their live shows but they also didn't like this album either.
 The Future Bites by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.13 | 196 ratings

BUY
The Future Bites
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by Glubluk

5 stars "The Future Bites" is a brilliant album, one of the highlights of Steven Wilson's huge discography.

I'll discuss the pop/sell-out discussion only briefly. Yes, it's pop and no, it's not a sell-out and I don't care either way. Musically, the album is first and foremost a reflection of Wilson's life-long appreciation of pop music but he has released albums that are much more pop-oriented (earliest and latest no-man, Blackfield, even some Porcupine Tree songs). In general, the album is not as huge a departure from "To the Bone" as you might think. Most importantly, though, it's a great piece of work on many many levels.

What makes an album great are the songs, as in ? tunes. Here, every song has something that makes it stand out and many of those elements are precisely the ones I see criticized in reviews. Examples: the ABBA-like vocals in "Eminent Sleaze", the falsetto vocalizations in "King Ghost", the drum machine-based arrangements. Also, the strength of "12 Things I Forgot", although it is indeed the most PT-like song on the album, lies in its poppy melody and smooth arrangement, not in its similarity to PT. It's a brilliant radio-friendly pop song.

Easily the best song on the album is "Personal Shopper", just listen to the 'Consumer of life?' section: the intelligent and funny ironic lyrics, Wilson's The Lonely Island-like delivery, the hook ? such things are a rarity in music and disregarding this kind of brilliance because you expect "Raven"-style prog workouts equals to being intentionally blind to quality music. But even if you miss some PT, the section narrated by Elton John (whose spoken voice is really rich and pleasant) is pure atmospheric Wilson of old. Where the song excels, though, is in how the music and the lyrics ('buy for England' and 'sell it on then buy it back' crack me up every time!) form a cohesive piece with a distinct tone and message, delivered in a manner that manages to criticize and glorify consumerism at the same time. If ever there was a work of art, "Personal Shopper" is it.

The falsetto vocals in "King Ghost" are another moment of brilliance. The song begins with a sparse unmelodic verse only to expand into a hugely atmospheric chorus based on the vocals and a beautiful synth line. The song is also a great study in minimalism as all the few musical elements that it has are absolutely essential for it to work.

There is no weak track on the album. Each of them is unique, after 2-3 listens you feel you have known them forever, and they get better with each listen.

As for the lyrical content, it's extremely well-written and intelligent in the quintessentially British way, which means it's critique and praise at the same time. What SW says here is basically 'yes, we are a consumer society, and it's often totally ridiculous, but it's also enjoyable, so why deny it?' I much prefer it to virtue signalling.

Overall, "The Future Bites" is one of Wilson's best albums to date. I see no reason neither to expect nor to wish for another Porcupine Tree record at this moment as Steven's revolving door policy concerning his collaborators has led to a really diverse and interesting body of work. "TFB" is also progressive in the true sense of the word. An excellent record.

(The numerous b-sides from the "TFB" sessions are also worth checking out, especially the brilliant cover of Lonely Robot's "In Floral Green".)

Thanks to Dean for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.