Album that changed my life: "The Raven That Refused to Sing (And Other Stories)" - Steven Wilson

Category:  The Arts
Wednesday, April 17th, 2019 at 10:31 PM
Album that changed my life: The Raven That Refused to Sing (And Other Stories) - Steven Wilson by Rhiannon Pushchak
Graphic: Jalil Robinson

Of all the albums I’ve heard in my lifetime, and out of all the records that have moved me in the most beautiful and most painful ways, Steven Wilson’s third studio album, “The Raven That Refused to Sing (And Other Stories),” is at the top of the list.

It was February of 2013, and I was suffering through a freshman year of hell, or what most people would call high school. Needless to say, school was the least of my worries at this point in my life; I was dealing with various other traumatic experiences at that time. I was in one of the darkest, lowest points in my life, and Wilson’s “Raven” spoke volumes to me. It was a revelation. I was not alone in my pain.

Steven Wilson was always extremely important to me, and he is definitely one of the most prolific musicians I’ve ever had the pleasure to have float through my ears. Wilson (a very humble and down-to-earth person, and possibly the most human person I have ever met) is what I would consider an artist who speaks the truth, and nothing but the truth, no matter how dark or painful it is. Although he’s said to have never experienced depression himself, he feels as though it’s an extremely painful disease that needs to be taken seriously.

The surreal songs on the album are “ghost stories” of sorts; each telling a deep story about a person with pent-up regret or pain. Each song on the album, some of which clocking in at over ten minutes long, are so theatrical and so beautiful. Just saying how beautiful it is doesn’t do it justice; it is an experience all its own to hear the record in the dark, and as loud as you can handle it. Moreover, the songs are hauntingly relatable, such as “The Watchmaker,” “The Pin Drop,” and “Drive Home,” dealing with subjects such as isolation, despair, and death.

I was lucky enough to have met Steven Wilson at one of his shows last November. I thanked him for what he has done for his followers who are suffering. The man hadn’t seen me before in his life, but spoke to me with such sincerity and softness. The tears in my eyes were still fresh from the show I had just witnessed.

The encore was the closing title track from “Raven,” the song that speaks to me the loudest. I cannot make it through the album without shedding a few tears. This song tells the tale of a man who has lost his sister at a young age, and is visited by what could be her soul reincarnated as a raven. I felt as though I was both the raven and the man; I was afraid to open my mouth because of the trauma I had experienced. The fourth verse of the song is exactly how I felt at that time in my life:

“But just because I’m weak,
You can steal my dreams.
You can reach inside my head,
And you can put your song there instead.
Please, come to me.
Please, stay with me.”
I may be broken now, but I can still grow from this experience. This album helped me see that I am not my disorders or my fears. I am alive. I am here. I can “sing.”

Rhiannon Pushchak | @edinboronow

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