Leave The Anger Out of It: Let’s Just Enjoy

Steven-Wilson-To-The-Bone-Banner

There’s no doubt, it’s fun to be self-righteous from time to time.  Well, “fun” for the writer, if not for the reader.

I’ve been patiently waiting for my deluxe box set of TO THE BONE to arrive in Michigan.  It finally arrived today, and it’s a thing of beauty and wonder, at least in terms of packaging.  It’s now my fourth such Steven Wilson deluxe box set, and I assume the deluxe edition will always be my default purchase option when it comes to any thing new Wilson releases.

Our own beloved Richard has already reviewed the new album rather nicely and objectively.

I’ve only given the album a listen or two.  It’s pretty neat, but it’s not grabbed me in the way that the previous solo albums have.  Such is life.  I’m going to let my like or dislike of it grow organically.

Still, I must write this.  Not liking the album is an OK position to hold.  I saw several folks today on social media claiming that if you don’t like the new Steven Wilson, you’re betraying the prog tradition.  What the ????????  Let me repeat that: What the ????????

One more time: What the ??????

There are days I simply need to detox regarding social media and, especially, Facebook.  For some reason, the new Steven Wilson has become a lightning rod in the way Donald Trump is a lightning rod.  One either hates or loves him.  No via media.

If I choose not to decide, I still have made a choice.  So once spoketh Neil Peart.  And, I agree wholeheartedly.

5 thoughts on “Leave The Anger Out of It: Let’s Just Enjoy

  1. kruekutt

    Man, the twists and turns of social media can be darkly fascinating. Before the album was out, the folks determined to call a Two Minute Hate were making the most noise. Now it’s the commissars of Prog Unity haranguing everyone to join the Popular Front?!? Wild.

    As long as a listener comes by their opinion on a work of art honestly and with humility, it’s valid. Pride kills, even in prog. Thanks for the timely reminder, Brad.

    Like

  2. SW fan

    I’m absolutely loving “To the Bone” as a whole. I can understand why many loyal SW fans, especially those from the Porcupine Tree stable, might be lukewarm — the pop sensibilities, funky beats and plethora of major chords take some getting used to. It won’t be for everybody, and that’s fine. For those sitting on the fence undecided, clearly many more are voting thumbs up, judging by the album’s spectacular chart success.

    Any prog rock band of note has changed direction over their careers. How could they not? Think of Rush or Yes or Genesis or (one of SW’s influences) Talk Talk. The great thing about “To the Bone” I think is that SW is following his own instincts and musical curiosity: the fact that he’s having such early sales success is just reward.

    Even if some tunes on the album leave you cold, there’s no doubt that the two closing tracks — the thrilling “Detonation” and the utterly sublime “Song of Unborn” — rank with the best material he’s ever recorded.

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  3. Michał

    A very very good point Brad! Strangely enough (or not) the comments that jump on me on social media are more along the lines of ‘Wilson betrayed prog, if you like the album, there must be something wrong with you! Bring back PT!’

    “What the?????” First of all ‘prog Wilson’ for me is: 1) “The Sky Moves Sideways” and “Signify”, 2) More importantly: prog is all his output taken together. ‘Prog Wilson’ is not “Grace for Drowning” and “Raven” as I don’t really count retro as progressive and those people on social media I quoted above somehow see this direction (a fraction of SW’s overall output) as THE Wilson. I do not – it was a phase in his career (probably caused by his remixing King Crimson et al. at that time) that seems to have passed (or abated) as all phases in his career do. This is the very thing that makes him TRULY progessive, now culminated in a self-proclaimed ‘pop’ album released after the retro of “Raven” and the wonderfully eclectic “H.C.E.”.

    The position you descibe, ‘you must like his new album or you betray prog!” is equally daft. I don’t listen to genres. I use genre names so that I can communicate ideas (like this post), they have no qualitative value for me. I don’t like “Raven” not because it’s retro (prog) but because when I listen to it I’m bored. It doesn’t resonate. The label doesn’t change anything either way. I heven’t heard “To the Bone” in full yet (I’m waiting for the CD), but I like the tracks I heard a lot and Pariah is one of the best things SW has ever done.

    Pop or not, prog or not I like what I hear and this is what ultimately matters. One should not like a poor record any more or less because it is a poor record in a genre they happen to like. And no album should be forced down my throat because it’s prog or Wilson or classic or whatever. People should grow good sets of ears and an anti-social media shield 😉

    Liked by 2 people

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