Classic Rock Bottom

1. To The Bone
  2. Nowhere Now
  3. Pariah
  4. The Same Asylum As Before
  5. Refuge
  6. Permanating
  7. Blank Tapes
  8. People Who Eat Darkness
  9. Song Of I
  10. Detonation
  11. Song Of Unborn
Actually, I feel it's still to early to give my final review of this album, so the meaning I have now, will have to do.
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I 'm a big fan of the last two albums Wilson released, but I wouldn't call myself a Porcupine Tree-fan. I like some of their albums, but I don't really have one or two favorites. I'm not a fan of the first two solo-albums, and I remember, when "Raven" was released, it was kind of the last call for me. But of course, "Raven" and "Hand" was and is awesome albums, and I still count them among the best 5 or 7 albums the last 20 years.
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So of course, I ordered the box-set of "To The Bone" back in May, since I also own box-sets of "Raven" and "Hand". And then the songs was "released" one by one, and then and now, a LOT of people/"fans" hates the new "Pop-version" of Wilson. By god, it has been discussed over and over on some of the sites, I write in and read. And I have been given some of mine opinions, both good and not so good.
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Because that's what I feel this album is: Both good and not so good. It's not good enough, but still good.
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When I heard it the first time, I was a bit blown away how much better it was, than I had expected after listening to 3 of the songs in the last 3 months (only once, because I hate being tired of a couple of the songs, before an album arrives). But now, I've heard the album 5 times or 6, I've stopped counting, and thes are my thoughts now, again song by song:
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1. To The Bone is a good opening-track. Awesome harmonica (I can't remember, who's playing, but to me, it sounds like Wilson have used him before). I like Wilson's voice. He's not a great vocalist, but I like his voice. This song is not pop, and it has a good melodi, and great guitar. I don't know if it's Wilson himself, but the solo is very good. But.....it's not as good an opening-track as the openings to his last two albums. It's more "laid-back", which will be the same on the rest of the album.
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2. Nowhere Now sounds like a Blackfield-song. Meaning it's an okay "popish" rock-song, but it's not a great song, and not as good as the title-track. But again, the playing on the song is awesome. At 2:18, to me it sounds like Toto, and it sounds good, very good, and then it's back to the melodi again. Not a bad melodi, but...I'd expected more. It's like it's left-hand work by Wilson. I know he can do better.
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3. Pariah is the song, a lot on Facebook writes is they favorite, and the song also grow on me. But again the melodi is simple. Too simple. Maybe that's why people call this pop and not prog. Nine Tayeb is an okay singer, but I don't really like that crispy voice. Later on the album, it's clear that she really has a good voice. This song kind of reminds me of Kayleigh by Marillion. I didn't like that song back then, and it became a big hit. 
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4. The Same Asylum As Before is probably my favorite track on the album. Very good melodi, and I like the text. I think of The Who, both because of "..the same Asylum as before/Meet the new boss...." but also because of the riff around 2:13. Very "Who'ish" to my ears. But it's a good song, and again every musician is outstanding. More of this, please. One of the best songs so far in '17.
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5. Refuge is what I would call an okay Wilson-song. It could easily had been a Blackfield-song as well. But that also means, it's not as good a song, I would expect by a song on a new Steven Wilson-album in 2017. And what's with Wilson falset-voice. He's okay at it, but not THAT great, and he sings in falset quite a few times on the album. Halfway through the song, it gets better, and is definitely more prog than anything before on the album. The great harmonica appears once again. I'm thinking Pink Floyd, listening to the guitar-solo.The song has a great "Hands"-ending, but that's both good and bad. Good because I love the sound of "Hand", bad because where's Wilsons new great ideas? Maybe I expect too much?!
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6. Permanating is pure pop, but it has a great beat. Again Wilson's falset-voice. This is actually a good song. Around 1:05 it sounds like "The Motels" or some band from around 1979, and I really like that sound. This should be a hit, but still it bothers me, that this is the way, Wilson takes these days. I need a double Prog-album!! But I like the tune, alright.
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7. Blank Tapes has the exact sound I had hoped a new album would sound like, and that means this is another one of my absolute favorites. Still, it much too short, and should had developed into something even better. Nine proves she's a good singer without the crispy voice on this song. Great stuff!!
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8. People Who Eat Darkness starts very aggressive, with Wilson singing "f..." and heavy guitars, and it sounds good to me, but it gets even better along the way. A good Wilson-song....but not as great, as it could had been. Could had been a left-over from one of his last two albums, and maybe it is? But wow, what a great guitar-solo around 3:15!! It sounds like Steve Clarke from Def Leppard. That solo improves the song for me.
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9 Song Of I is what some people would call pop. I don't think it's pop. But it's good. A simple tune, and a duet between Wilson and...I don't really know who she is? It sounds like Peter Gabriel-song from So, and that was probably also the meaning. Still of course it mostly sounds like Wilson, which is good. But again the song is "only" good, not great.
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10. Detonation is another song, which is as good, as a song I would had expected. Definitely the most priggish song on the album, and probably the one that will grow most on me the coming weeks. It's my favorite at the moment. A real Wilson-track in the best meaning. Definitely no pop here. It MIGHT just be one or two minutes too long, but I don't care. Another awesome guitar-solo on this song as well.
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11. Song Of Unborn is a very good ending to the album. It might not be the best song, but it is one of the best songs, and another "real" Wilson-song. Still, I have that feeling, that it could had been better. Again I get a "Hands"-feeling, which is good/bad, because the ending of "Hands" was awesome, this is merely good/very good.
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Which brings me to the bottomline.
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A year ago, I had expected more. A month ago, I had expected less. Will this album be album of the year for me? Who knows, but it IS probably the best album so far in 2017, but it would definitely not had been best album in either 2016 or 2015. 
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This is Wilsons "Diver Down" or "Hot Space".
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8/10
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By the way: One of the 3 bonus-track, that aren't demo's of the songs on the actual album is one of the best songs on the album, so for me, now the album is at least 67 min. long:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IIx6g_2DsE

The other two are a 3 minute quite song, might grow with repeated "spins", and an instrumental, also 3 minutes, not bad, but I'm not a fan of instrumentals.

Okay, I've now listened to the five songs Jon posted in NMC as well as the three songs you have posted or linked here Niels. I think I really liked 3 of 5 on the NMC post.  I like 2 of 3 here.  I don't really care about the one you linked in your last comment.  I believe you said it was a bonus track, so no big deal there.

I do really like the first one you posted here.  It's another pop oriented song, but it just has a nice groove. I remember when I liked pop music.  If more of it sounded like this, I might still listen to the radio. Refuge is quite good as well.

I'll be honest, I have the non-deluxe version on my Amazon Wish List.  Just can't quite make up my mind.

One more thing.  It looks like the regular version of the album is right at one hour.  That's a bit long for me, but not a deal breaker if I like the songs.  My wife is a massage therapist (no longer practicing), and this CD would be perfect I think for a massage.  It's the right length, it has some up-temp tracks but what I've heard isn't too heavy.  And it has the quiet tracks.  I'd be interested in playing it and finding out what my wife things of it.  

Actually, I've changed my mind about how long a CD should be, and at the moment the perfect lenght is 50 minutes.

Once, I was dissaponted with anything below 70 minutes.

Sometimes, I wish for more than 70 minutes, for example double-CD's, especially when it's new albums by Neal Morse and Steven Wilson.

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