I have stumbled upon Steven Wilson's "Cover Versions" — a series of six two-song mini-albums (? singles?) recorded over the last decade, one every few years or so. One song on each set is a cover version of a previously-released song (Alanis Morissette's "Thank U" being one example, Prince's "Sign O' the Times" being another) and the other, with one exception, is an original work. By putting them all together I've turned the collection into an album of sorts, and it's what I've been listening to incessantly the last several days.
It's no secret I'm a huge fan of Steven Wilson and his various associated musical projects. With Porcupine Tree's hiatus entering its fourth year (quite possibly to last into a fifth or sixth, unfortunately), Blackfield turning more into an Aviv Geffen project than a Steven Wilson project, and Steven himself working on his third solo album for release in early 2013, I decided embracing his solo work was probably my best bet. Hence this.
It's a good and diverse collection of stuff. "Thank U" is surprisingly heart-wrenching, and Steven's rendition of The Cure's "A Forest" makes the original version sound like Robert Smith was on Prozac through most of the late 70s. "Sign O' the Times" of course exudes a good bit of Prince's masterful funk (unavoidable, really), but with some of Steven's ultrasludgy jarring guitar toward the end. The original works are strong on their own, too. "Four Trees Down" is a bright wistful piece meshing nicely with this Autumn, and "An End to End" — shown in this video, and appropriately, the last song in the collection — is simultaneously minimal, haunting, and gorgeous.
The thing about Steven Wilson is just when you think you've found all his work, you find something else. Whether it's a one-off song or a scattered collection of them like these, there are always gems to unearth. I'm glad we live in this age which makes it easy to share the love, and of course, I hope by reading these words, someone else becomes curious and stumbles upon their own musical gems and passes them along in kind.