First Listen: Steven Wilson, ‘Pariah’

Steven Wilson has recently announced the details of his fifth solo album, To The Bone, which is set to be released on August 18, 2017. For this latest album, Wilson has decided that he will be channeling some of the great progressive pop albums of our time. In his words: “My fifth record is in many ways inspired by the hugely ambitious progressive pop records that I loved in my youth – think Peter Gabriel’s So, Kate Bush’s Hounds Of Love, Talk Talk’s Colour Of Spring and Tear’s For Fears’ Seeds Of Love.”

Wilson released a track from his new album, titled ‘Pariah’, featuring the brilliant Ninet Tayeb (who sang with him on his previous album, Hand.Cannot.Erase). It has quickly made its way around the progressive rock world, eliciting a variety of reactions from fans- some positive, some negative. Here at Proglodytes, we decided to do a first listen and let you all know what we think about it.

Xerxes:  Steven Wilson has a happy talent for melancholic melodies and it shows yet again in Pariah, the first single for his new album, To the Bone. It’s no secret or controversy that Mr. Wilson is the vanguard of progressive music at this time, so a new release from him comes with great anticipation, particularly when the previous album was so strong.

Guest singing on Pariah is Ninet Tayeb, who broke my heart on Routine, and threatens to do it again here, although this song is not as tragic as the former. She is wonderful and powerful in this song which actually shows some of the limitations Wilson has as a vocalist. I suspect he’s aware of this, and it’s a show of confidence that he gets someone like Ninet to sing for and with him. He of course knows how to write for his own voice, so it isn’t like his vocal parts in the song are bad, far from it.

All in all, it’s melancholic and beautiful. I can’t wait for the album, which I have already pre-ordered.

Thomas: I am a huge fan of the albums that Steven is channeling for this new album. Peter Gabriel, Tears for Fears, and Kate Bush have certainly set the stage for a modern take on pop with heavy progressive elements. I also love Steven Wilson’s latest solo work- I’ll admit that the first few solo albums didn’t do much for me, but I think The Raven That Refused to Sing and Hand.Cannot.Erase deserve their accolades.

To the song- I think if you are a Steven Wilson fan who is familiar with his work for the last three decades, you will definitely feel like this song is a familiar musical statement. It sounds to me like it would fit well on a No-Man or Blackfield album.  This isn’t to say that it’s bad. I think it’s more the distillation of years of fine tuning his pop sensibilities. I agree with Xerxes that Ninet Tayeb’s dramatic voice really elevates the song. I really like the trend of male and female artists singing together, like Anneke or Che Aimee Dorval on Devin Townsend’s music, or Kate Bush on Peter Gabriel’s songs. I feel like it covers much more sonic range, and the prog world could always use more influence from awesome female singers/songwriters. Overall, I am not completely enamored with this song, but I think it could grow on me, and could make a lot more sense in the broader context of the album.

As a sidenote: I cringed a little bit at the line, ‘I’m tired of Facebook’, but I think it’s probably time that I got used to that sort of line being sung in music, just because it’s such a big part of life for so many people. Don’t know if anyone else feels this way.

Cedric: Wilson has permanently etched his name into the pantheon of progressive rock and Prog metal. Now he is showing yet another brilliant side of himself within the realm of atmospheric intelli-pop, reaching the levels attained by the likes of Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush, and Talk Talk, whom he idolizes. He could easily get away with resting on his musical laurels. Instead, Steven Wilson continues to add colors to his sonic palate and push the musical envelope toward his own stratosphere.

What do you think about Steven Wilson’s track, ‘Pariah’? Let us know in the comments.

One comment

  1. Effortlessly pushes his music to where he needs its and bends it to his will. Another beautiful song which will slot in nicely to what ever other diamonds it nestles amongst. He may not be the most well known artist but for those who do know him, we are lucky and privileged to have such a powerhouse and true musician…


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