Steven Wilson Says Radiohead Got Away By Making Conceptual Rock Music

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In a recent conversation with Porcupine Tree frontman Rob Moore Steven Wilson says that Radiohead managed to achieve recognition in the mainstream, although it deals with conceptual rock music.

Steven Wilson has established himself as a prolific artist throughout his career spanning over three decades. While the famed musician is widely recognized for his long-term tenure in Porcupine Tree, he was also a member of Blackfield and No-Man. In addition to fronting several bands, Wilson has also built a solo career releasing six studio albums.

His music is mostly described as a combination of progressive rock and art and has post-progressive influences. Wilson is known for his willingness to take risks and for always being experimental in his style. In a recent interview, the singer discussed the sound of Radiohead, comparing it to his own music. The musician said that Radiohead does conceptual rock music but somehow get away with despite his common negative reactions.

When asked for further explanation, Steven Wilson pointed out that Radiohead successfully incorporates various elements of concept music into their sound, but mainstream audiences have always embraced them. He likes their music because it also follows a similar line, but he is also aware of the typical attitude towards this style. However, Radiohead has somehow managed to escape of these negative comments. According to Wilson, the reason is that they come from the alternative rock scene of the 90s. So their mainstream acceptance is understandable, given that point.

Steven Wilson speaking on Radiohead:

“Here’s the thing. I think Radiohead gets away with doing mostly very obviously conceptual rock music, using a lot of what you might call progressive rock tropes, clever time signatures of triumph, and heavy lyrics about the human condition. I say that in a bit of a sarcastic way, but of course, I like it all, and I do that too.

Heavy lyrics about the human condition, things the mainstream media has traditionally sometimes deemed worth poking fun at, not embracing, but Radiohead seems to get away with it in the sense that they were completely kissed.

When I reason with myself, I say, ‘Okay, what’s the difference?’ The difference is that Radiohead comes from the tradition of alternative music. They went through the same era as Britpop. They were seen as part of a scene from the alternative culture while I was very obvious from the beginning about my roots.

You can watch the rest of the conversation below.

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