In his column for Electronic Musician entitled 'In the Mix,' Porcupine Tree frontman Steven Wilson spotlights the 80s pop trifecta: Madonna, Michael Jackson and Prince, as well as the mysterious lives of superstars like Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie and Led Zeppelin to dissect today's over-consumption and over-disclosure of all things celebrity.
Through his column, Wilson contemplates, "It seems to me we have now passed out of the era of the pop enigma and are now firmly entrenched in the era of reality. But when was great pop music ever about reality?
"...When I first started to buy records in the early ’80s, the only means I had to find anything out about the music and musicians I liked was whatever I could glean from the credits on the sleeve, or perhaps an interview in a music paper like Melody Maker or NME. These little scraps of information only increased my sense of awe at the magic of the music. David Bowie is a bisexual alien? I’ll buy that. Jimmy Page sold his soul to the devil? That makes total sense!
" In contrast, these days I’m only a few clicks on the Internet away from the minute details of the lives of any number of pop and rock stars on Twitter (handy if you want to know what they had for breakfast), a webcam link into their studio as they write their new album, or a blog discussing their personal and business problems. Of course, there is something to be said for this. Musicians are just regular people; the rock star thing was just a pretense anyway, so aren’t things more honest now? Yes, more honest, but hellishly more dull too. I am writing this in a magazine designed to demystify the process of how music is made (and as I write this perhaps I’m even demystifying myself), but I’m not really talking about the technical considerations of making music; I’m talking about the human aspect. I want to believe that the music I love was created by superhumans who, when they were not space traveling, hanging out with supermodels, and finding religion, spent their time dreaming up music that would somehow perfectly encapsulate the human condition in a way that only a divinely gifted being could."
Read more of Wilson's thoughts on the matter right here, and to learn more about the enigmatic art-rock outfit Porcupine Tree, pick up a copy of their latest album The Incident right here.