Alternative Weekend: The Future Bites

in Music2 months ago

Some of you may know that I am an avid fan of Stephen Wilson. He’s one of the few modern artists that I follow and has an admirable track record, despite never breaking the mainstream.

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Like many music artists, COVID-19 has hampered his latest album and delayed the subsequent tour that should have been this year.

I have been following his latest album from which he has been releasing tracks with mixed feelings.

He likes to re-invent himself and this does not always go down well with his fanbase. These new songs sound like a mixture of Techno infused with Nine Inch Nails with Boney M as his backing singers.

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I have full respect for the former two traits but fucking Boney M were a blight on the music industry in the late '70s.

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Personal Shopper – Steven Wilson (The Future Bites – 2021)

So the techno vibe is great though completely unexpected. He sings most of this in falsetto which is going to be a strain on his vocal chords during tours.

Here we're introduced to his Boney M style backing singers. Please lose them; there are not doing your music any favours.

To say this song is about personal indulgence with Elton John in the middle letting us know just this is quite hypocritical considering the amount of spam I get from his Twitter feed about 'deluxe-box sets' and other items.

Not a song I can listen too and the first that was unleashed to us.

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Eminent Sleaze – Steven Wilson (The Future Bites – 2021)

This is probably the least memorable of the FOUR tracks I will present to you. I can hear a minor vibe of seventies disco in here..., dare I say that?

Boney M are back with the dreadful backing singing, and yet the song might be decent without them droning away in the background.

After listening to Eminent Sleaze again while writing this article, I can say there’s not a chance that this is going to grow on me.

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King Ghost – Steven Wilson (The Future Bites – 2021)

This is better; especially the haunting vocals that once again stretch the Wilson vocal chords.

From what I read King Ghost was made using 100% electronics. This is a far cry from the guitars I have been accustomed to.

@steevc mentioned to me that Wilson is following in the footsteps of Radiohead after OK Computer. In terms of lack of guitars, that may be true but as far as sound goes they are leagues apart.

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12 Things I Forgot – Steven Wilson (The Future Bites – 2021)

The latest snippet from The Future Bites is much more mainstream and may well be a single.

It's not bad but reminds me more of a Blackfield track, and not one of the better ones.

To say it’s the pick of the bunch would be embarrassing. I can say that none of these songs are particularly inspiring to me. Has he lost the magic?

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Steven seems to be heading in another direction again. I can't say it's one I am happy about. I may miss his tour next year if it's full of these kinds of songs.

I never thought I would say all this. Now I will need to find someone else to follow until he changes his style again.

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There is irony in someone who sells so many special editions and merch preaching about consumerism. He was selling the various 'TFB' products on his site and many were sold out including cans of air. I assume you didn't buy the £10,000 special edition of the album :)

I may not buy this album. I don't think it's going to get listened to much. Maybe this is just what he wants to do, but it's not doing it for me. He's showing signs of wanting to be more mainstream, but he may lose some of the original fans along the way. There are bits of it I like, but I can spend my money elsewhere.

With the present situation I think the only way he can make some money is selling 'special edition boxsets'. He can't tour, and is relying on the royalties of his back catalogue to live.

I guess the single was made before covid, but even then he was trying to flog special editions all the time. He also tweets a lot about special editions so much that it's becoming spam. He does make the most of social media.

The music.. Are we seeing a has-been? I hope not.

Well I'm not sure he'll go back to Porcupine Tree style stuff, much as some would like him to. I guess he does well enough to be able to do whatever he wants. Some dedicated fans will buy it, including the expensive editions, but he makes money from other stuff too. I don't see him as someone with an expensive lifestyle. Mind you, he is married now.

I hope these 'Future Bites Sessions' tracks are not on the album. That would seem a right cop-out. They are OK, but not exactly original.

There are some people who I sometimes think it would be best if they just stuck to singing their old songs and stopped trying to keep up with the times. I am not sayig that is the case here, but there is something to be said for the classics. I heard a good interview the other day with Jon Bon Jovi where he was talking about if they had tried to do the grunge thing in the 90's they probably would have broken up and failed. Instead, they kept doing their own thing that they were known for and it gave them lots of additional success.

Changing your image I feel can be good, but in this case the direction is not to my taste.

You know? Maybe he's just been 'soft driven slowly mad' (special bonus points if you know that reference) with the whole CV situation and just decided 'fuck it' I'm shipping an album.

I think a whole lot of people (not just musicians) would like a 'do over' after this. Maybe he's one of them.

Thanks for continuing to make Hive awesome.

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