Metascore
74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 13 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 13
  2. Negative: 1 out of 13
Buy On
  1. Feb 5, 2021
    100
    It’s hard to imagine a more prescient-sounding record than one that explores how nascent technologies affect our motivations as modern consumers at a time when we’re all frantically buying online to stave off the effects of lockdown. The songs dealing directly with this are The Future Bites’ most captivating. ... There’s no need for the buyer to be wary here. The Future Bites is guaranteed to weather the ravages of time.
  2. Jan 29, 2021
    80
    It’s a long way from the psychedelic odysseys and ambient drones of his Porcupine Tree days: not prog, but always progress.
  3. 80
    Despite its dark, cautionary subject matter, The Future Bites is Steven Wilson’s most powerful and commercially appealing set to date. Beautifully produced—it’s one of the first studio albums of new material mixed in Dolby Atmos surround—this is the bristling sound of Wilson taking a bite into the future of prog-rock.
  4. Mojo
    Jan 26, 2021
    80
    The Future Bites is a great grown-up pop record - knowing and self-aware, but never too much for its own good. [Feb 2021, p.83]
  5. Uncut
    Jan 26, 2021
    80
    There's a loose lyrical theme of branding and consumer culture inspiring the maverick meta-pop of "Personal Shopper." ... The Sparks-y spriteliness of "Follower" also stands out, thanks to beautifully falsetto-iced vocal hooks, which further grace the gorgeously forlorn synth-pop of "King Ghost." [Feb 2021, p.37]
  6. Jan 26, 2021
    80
    For many admirers—myself included—it'll be his weakest solo record, but that's only because the rest are so terrific. Honestly, The Future Bites objectively deserves applause for perpetuating Wilson's integrity and creativity, even if it's a markedly—and perhaps intentionally—divisive collection, too.
  7. Feb 10, 2021
    75
    If The Future Bites is heard as a provocative record, it also underscores how Wilson continues to creatively challenge himself.
  8. 70
    Powerful and thought-provoking, if depressing, The Future Bites ultimately asks you to take a good hard look at what the hell you’re doing with your life.
  9. Jan 26, 2021
    70
    The Future Bites is neither a huge stylistic departure nor the betrayal that many Wilson diehards have claimed it to be. Conceptually, the album revolves around a post-apocalyptic vision of an overly materialist society, and while the electro-pop trappings are almost never “happy,” they serve as a slick backdrop to the dystopian landscape Wilson envisions.
  10. Feb 1, 2021
    60
    In sum, those who had trouble with To the Bone, Wilson's well-executed homage to the progressive pop of Kate Bush, Tears for Fears, and Peter Gabriel, may have even more with this. Most fans, however, especially more recent ones, shouldn't find The Future Bites an inconsistent entry in Wilson's catalog, but an arguably minor one that steps sideways instead of forward.
  11. Jan 28, 2021
    60
    Mr Wilson has travelled all over the musical map, but appears to be more direct in wanting bigger results this time around. Is it better than what he’s done before as a result? Not always, but it’s the next blockbusting step from an artist who’s always done things on his own sonically strange terms.
  12. Jan 27, 2021
    56
    The Future Bites traverses a strange course ripe with rewarding avenues and detours of failed attempts alike. It’s nothing if not fascinating, and will perhaps be more rewarding to those with a high tolerance for unorthodox marriage of various elements influenced by Prince, 1980s pop, modern electronic music, and alternative rock.
  13. Feb 5, 2021
    30
    The Future Bites is the worst sounding album he’s ever put out.
User Score
5.8

Mixed or average reviews- based on 38 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 38
  2. Negative: 10 out of 38
  1. Feb 3, 2021
    2
    Steven Wilson has the absolute right to abandon his ambition and cash in on easy soulless pop music, and as a die-hard fan, I have theSteven Wilson has the absolute right to abandon his ambition and cash in on easy soulless pop music, and as a die-hard fan, I have the absolute right to hate it.

    Look, do I blame the dude? Absolutely not. If I had spent my entire life making some of the best music in existence only to receive mild acclaim, I'd be kinda mad, too. I'd want to do something easy. This is like a world class chef with Michelin stars and multiple cook books buying a few McDonald's restaurants just to make a quick buck.

    This is the same man who has written Homeric Epics like "Anesthetize," "Arriving Somewhere Not Here," and "Time Flies." Someone who belongs in a Hall of Fame unto themselves for remastering, collaboration, and inspiration.

    And he's making terrible pop garbage.

    Within seconds of putting my CD in my car, I became a faceless drone of attention-seeking cacophony, because the distorted bass is the same thing your hear in every Walmart parking lot in the ghetto. That same guttural bass rumbling and license-plate slapping BRRRRRRT from people who have no qualms on trying to be deaf by their 40's.

    The music, itself, has the same pattern as someone who's recently drawn inspiration from blasé hackneyed artists like the Weeknd and Lorde, grinding through the paces of mediocrity like a high-schooler who downloaded a free app trying to emulate the much less sophomoric efforts of Daft Punk.

    What's most insulting is that the album feels like a parody of itself. Even the name "The Future Bites" insults you, insinuating that the current state of music is not to entertain, only to repress and neutralize your brain, but then flagrantly using every heartless computer program to ram another bass-drop down your throat. In the song "Eminent Sleaze," Wilson talks about skeezy, slimy, untrustworthy people who are only out for your money by brandishing a sharp suit and a fake smile.

    It's utterly ironic, intentional or not, that this album is the personification of the latter two things.

    I'm going to keep trying, but currently I just feel insulted as a fan of Wilson's. Maybe one day it will click. Maybe one day the silver pills and soma will just knock me into an unconscious state where I can appreciate something on this album.

    But until then, I think I'll throw on some Opeth and think of better times.
    Full Review »
  2. Jan 29, 2021
    6
    Even dating back to the Porcupine Tree years, I rank Steven Wilson's skills in this order:

    1. Sound Design and soundscapes. This is what he
    Even dating back to the Porcupine Tree years, I rank Steven Wilson's skills in this order:

    1. Sound Design and soundscapes. This is what he most excels at. Whether it's the atmospheric textures of Porcupine Tree or the synth production of his later solo stuff, his sound production is always exceptional.

    2. Musicianship. He's a good multi-instrumentalist and he always finds great musicians to work with.

    3. Songwriting. He's a solid songwriter and has written some great compositions. I wouldn't say he's an elite songwriter, but he does stand out from many of his peers in this skillset. 

    4. Vocalist. Wilson is a below average singer, but has largely written songs that fit his limitations until recently where he's tried stepping out of his comfort zone, which has made his limitations more apparent. An example of this is the falsetto in the previous album's "Same Asylum As Before", which sounds forced and insincere.

    5. Lyricist. He's never been great at writing lyrics in my opinion. He often takes some interesting concepts and expresses them with some of the most clumsy and corny lines. More often than not, his other skills distract from this limitation.

    Why am I starting with a ranking of his skills? Because I think this album perfectly exemplifies this hierarchy. There's some amazing synth and beat production and good musicianship, but there's also some very unfortunate falsetto vocals and awkward lyrics that prevent this album from resonating with me. And that's a big problem because a good pop album requires strong vocal performances. The first single, Personal Shopper, is a great example of this. The synth production is fantastic and musically, this song is amazing. The vocal melodies are well written and the female vocals on the chorus sound pretty good. But the falsetto verses are outside of Wilson's comfortable range and as a result it sounds spurious. The lyrics focus on one of the most overdone concepts in music (The typical breakup song is the only one I can immediately think of as more overdone) and is conveyed with clumsy delivery. Much of this album feels that way. There's a lot to like, but there's some glaring flaws that are hard to ignore. I welcome his venture into electropop and I think this album is stylistically more focused than his previous effort, but I can't help but wish that this was more of a collaboration with a skilled pop vocalist/lyricist.

    A lot of his fans are going to be disappointed that this isn't a prog record, but I applaud Wilson for trying new things. If you want to listen to prog, you can always listen to his back catalog. All bands reach that point where they need to go new directions to avoid becoming stale. But not everyone is capable of pulling off a KidA. Most bands end up in a tough spot where they either have to continue rehashing the sound they've done for decades, or go in new directions where they're not particularly impactful (See: Muse). I like that Steven Wilson is trying to expand into new genres, but the problem is that this genre requires a lot from the parts of his skillset that are lacking and exposes many of his flaws. This album both showcases his greatest strengths and his greatest flaws.
    Full Review »
  3. Feb 4, 2021
    1
    I wonder if the concept has become more important than the music. At least he has a large back catalog to listen to.