To the Bone

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Metascore
78

Generally favorable reviews - based on 9 Critics What's this?

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8.9

Universal acclaim- based on 16 Ratings

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  • Summary: The fifth full-length solo release for the British progressive pop artist features guest appearances from Sophie Hunger and Ninet Tayeb.
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 9
  2. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. Aug 11, 2017
    90
    He displays that it’s just as impressive to make an effective pop song, as it is to create a progressive rock epic. Steven Wilson proves that an artist can venture into uncharted musical waters, even 30 years into their career, for ambitious and vibrant results like these.
  2. 80
    To The Bone is arguably his best and most complete solo album yet.
  3. Mojo
    Aug 2, 2017
    80
    To The Bone keeps its pop and prog influences in a near perfect balance--flash and flamboyant at times but with some lovingly crafted big tunes. [Sep 2017, p.86]
  4. Aug 17, 2017
    80
    While To the Bone sometimes seems inconsistent, it's an illusion; repeated listening reveals that Wilson's brand of progressive pop is so multivalently textured and expertly crafted, that its aesthetic and sonic palette refuse to be contained under a single rock umbrella. As such, To the Bone stands with Wilson's best work.
  5. Aug 2, 2017
    75
    To The Bone is not perfect Throughout, but the immaculately clean production, thought-provoking lyrics, and refined aesthetics make it an excellent introduction to the qualities that make Steven Wilson such an important songwriter and producer in modern music, prog or otherwise. [Jul-Sep 2017, p.62]
  6. Aug 17, 2017
    70
    Melancholy defines Wilson’s music, no matter the project, which makes the unapologetic happiness of To the Bone a welcome entry into his catalogue. In post-truth times, joyous music may seem absurd, but Wilson makes it, and the times we live in, feel alright.
  7. Aug 15, 2017
    40
    There are hooks here, but they are scattered and often attached to tracks that come worryingly close to mediocre exercises in MOR.

See all 9 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 3
  2. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Aug 18, 2017
    10
    The most different album from Steven Wilson. He really put his efforts on it, and bring to us a completely psychedelic pop art of work. HisThe most different album from Steven Wilson. He really put his efforts on it, and bring to us a completely psychedelic pop art of work. His writing really improved compared to his others works, he made easy, accessible and at the same time deep lyrics. To The Bone isn't a conceptual album, but has many interesting themes about the crazy society we're living nowadays, and make we reflect with our truths. Steven Wilson became a legendary musician of this century. To The Bone is his most fantastic work, not his most complex and progressive but this work has it's value for representing the Steven's journey for exploring his own musically personality to bring us a great experience. Doesn't makes sense to compare this albums to the other ones. Expand
  2. Aug 18, 2017
    8
    After Wilson's strong return to form with Hand. Cannot. Erase., To The Bone feels like a far cry from his 2015 masterpiece. Understandably,After Wilson's strong return to form with Hand. Cannot. Erase., To The Bone feels like a far cry from his 2015 masterpiece. Understandably, Wilson has taken to the more pop oriented route. But to discredit him for this current album would be shy of a felony. Though not matching up with his previous release, Wilson still manages to invoke his unique musical prowess while also trying to find a perfect medium for appealing to the broadest audience. As albums go, this may be Wilsons' most eccentric and accessible album to date. Expand
  3. Aug 19, 2017
    5
    Though much has been said of his pop-direction, Wilson has displayed pop influence before. He has plenty of catchy hooks on albums likeThough much has been said of his pop-direction, Wilson has displayed pop influence before. He has plenty of catchy hooks on albums like Porcupine Tree’s In Absentia and Deadwing. With exception of a couple songs, this album doesn’t push as far in the direction of pop music as I had expected. To the Bone ends up sounding less like a new direction and more like some of his more poppy Porcupine Tree and Blackfield songs.

    There’s much to like about To the Bone, which has the tough task of following up his 2015 masterpiece Hand.Cannot.Erase. The album begins with a steampunk-esque harmonica over guitar and percussion that is reprised throughout the album and his love of music and wide range of influences is evident throughout. there are some good pop songs as well. “Permanenting” has a nice Abba feel to it and provides a nice change to Wilson’s usual melancholic atmospheres. “The Same Asylum as Before” has a catchy chorus and a falsetto verse reminiscent of Muse’s “Supermassive Black Holes”, although the vocals in the verse seem forced and outside of Wilson’s comfort zone. “Refuge” builds up to an emotional guitar solo reminiscent of Porcupine Tree, while songs like “Nowhere Now” draw from the pop-rock sound of Blackfield.

    These bright spots show great potential, but the lack of direction really hold the album back. One of my favorite things about his previous album, Hand.Cannot.Erase, was its unpredictable song structures. This album also has surprises, but it often transitions clumsily from one part to another. There’s a lot of promising moments in the album, but they never quite come together cohesively, making To the Bone feel more like a rough draft than a prog-pop masterpiece. A good example of this is the first single released, “Pariah”. There’s elements to like: The verses are beautiful and the guest singer, Israeli popstar Ninet Tayeb, provides powerful vocals on the chorus and bridge. While they do work okay together, it feels like both parts would work better if they were expanded into their own song. The chorus disrupts the flow of the verse a bit and the verse squelches the power of the chorus. It isn’t until the second chorus flows into the bridge that the song feels consistent. But what really kills the track is the lyrics. Though Wilson often puts a lot of thought into the concepts of his songs, his lyrics have always been a weakness, though he has improved in this regard over the years. “Pariah” is a step backward lyrically, with reminiscence of Porcupine Tree’s Fear of a Blank Planet–an album so incredible musically that it was able to overcome its trite and uninspired lyrics. The same can’t be said of “Pariah”.

    Overall To the Bone has all the good ingredients of being a great album, but lacks a cohesive recipe.
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