The Best Tracks of 2017, #17

17. Steven Wilson, “Permanating”

Remember when progressive rock bands from the 1970s embraced pop music in the ’80s? I’m talking about Yes, Genesis, Rush, Toto, Asia, when all those bands were able to create cutting-edge pop music while retaining that sense of adventurous and achieving unprecedented commercial success in the process.Steven Wilson, being the biggest and most famous prog nerd on the planet, knows this, and in the spirit of the early-1980s he took on the challenge to create some pop-infused progressive rock of his own, and with “Permanating” he succeeds in spectacular fashion. I’ve never been the biggest fan of his work – though I do admire Porcupine Tree’s Fear of a Blank Planet and his production work with Opeth – but this track shows another side of Wilson that made me stop dead in his tracks. It’s a perfect little danceable track with a hook that gets into your head immediately. Its reminiscent of Devin Townsend’s wonderful little pop rock experiments, and it works so well that I hope Wilson continues in this direction in the future.