1. Steven Wilson – Hand. Cannot. Erase
I am confident in saying that this gentleman is the most inspiring musician of the 21st century, and quite possibly one of the most naturally gifted, and underrated songwriters of this generation, Steven Wilson. He gains mainly plaudits in the realm of progressive rock, normally storming the rock and classic rock awards every time he presses record (even if it’s not his albums (remasters)).
“Hand. Cannot. Erase.” initially did not thrill me, at least not as instantly as it’s predecessor. It took another few listens for it to truly sink in before I, as per, fell in love with it. It opts for a more electronic approach than previous albums, appearing to be inspired by more pop elements also. What Wilson never fails to let up on, however, is melody; regardless of how heavy, soft, mainstream, or obscure your album is, the best way for it to succeed, and have longevity, is to focus on the melody. Wilson achieves this and then some created, again, melancholic and nostalgic passages of music that tugs on your heart strings, yet also make you fell content.
‘Routine‘ demonstrates clearly Wilson‘s genius, it is a masterclass of songwriting that immediately makes its way onto my Steven Wilson’s Best Songs Ever playlist. ‘Home Invasion‘ and ‘Regret #9‘ follows closely, and they smash the compulsory “exceptional prog instrumentals” quota with absolute ease.
It’s a highly emotional album, and one that should only be appreciated with full sensory involvement otherwise what’s the point. Music is not entertainment, first and foremost it is an art and Wilson understands this and demonstrates as such. That is why I have picked “Hand. Cannot. Erase.” as my album of the year for 2015.
Wilson tends to steal the top spot but there is a real reason why; whether you call it bias or not, this music affects people deeply and that is why it’s held in such high regard. To some that attitude it’s pretentious, but that’s because they don’t understand it.