Music is finite, opinions are endless. On The Album Years podcast, long term friends, collaborators and music nerds Steven Wilson and Tim Bowness discuss and bicker about their favourite music released during the golden album years, which they reckon to be from around 1965 to the end of the millennium. Each episode focuses on a single year picked at random. At the end of each episode they pick their personal favourites and the album they think had the most long-term impact on music. Can you guess which albums they will pick?
2001, a music odyssey! Tim and Steven venture into the 21st century and, against expectations, they like what they see. Good Lord, it might even be a Golden Age! Artists discussed include Radiohead, Opeth, Bjork, Tool, Elbow, Mercury Rev, Brigitte Fontaine, The Caretaker, Prefuse 73 and Prefab Sprout (with a special shout out to Paddy MacAloon's beard).
Giving overviews of the years that in the duo's opinion define the era of ‘the classic album’, Season Two opens with 1981. Taking in Post-Punk, Electro-Pop, Metal, Progressive, Jazz and more, in this edition Wilson and Bowness discuss artists as diverse as Japan, A Certain Ratio, Rush, Grace Jones, Rupert Hine, OMD, Pat Metheny, Iron Maiden, Magazine and others. Against all odds, they also make a valiant attempt to defend Phil Collins' masterwork Face Value! Launched at the beginning of the UK lockdown in 2020, The Album Years ended up being in the Top 5 music podcast charts in nearly 30 countries.
In the latest episode the guys venture into the nineties. Extra fun can be had by joining in with a drinking game as you prepare to down one every time Tim mentions Robert Fripp or Steven mentions industrial music!
Tim even sounds like he's beaming in from a barn circa 1969 on this one, as the duo bring you more schoolboy errors in the third of their “9” trilogy. Oh, and it’s 69 minutes long, can you see what they did there?
The heyday of punk and disco music is just around the corner, but one of Steven and Tim‘s favourite albums from this year is the very antithesis of both; an obscure solo homage to the English countryside by the bass player of a progressive rock band! Elsewhere 1976 proves to be another golden year for the duo.
The duo make a case for 1967 being the single most significant year in the history of rock and pop, and discuss several genre defining albums, but conclude that Steven being born in this year actually eclipses them all!
The guys can't find much in their collections that they unconditionally love from this year, with even some of their favourite artists releasing what are lesser works in their opinion. They consider why that should be and admit indifference to the dominant grunge music scene of the time.
Steven and Tim struggle to get their list of great albums released in this year down from a shortlist of hundreds. So much so that they forget to mention King Crimson's Larks Tongues in Aspic completely, shame on them!
Steven and Tim reckon this is a fantastic year for albums, with the explosion of creative music coming out of the post-punk crucible. There are also some older artists producing some of their very finest work in this year. Plus Tim tries to enthuse Steven about an ex-Beatle's solo album and Steven tries to do the same with industrial noise music.