“Carrying The Weight Of Man on his shoulders” - The Weight of Man, the new album by Ray Wilson reviewed by Alan Hewitt.
Ever since Genesis' implosion back in 1999 and the beginning of Ray's career as an artist in his own right proper, he has grown immensely in stature both as a performer honed no doubt by his incessant touring schedules, and also as a song writer whose work has become increasingly impressive. Lockdown made Ray take a different approach to putting together an album but in The Weight Of Man, he has produced a truly remarkable album. The themes of regret and longing for a normality which we can no longer have underpin this album giving it a sharp resonance which anyone will appreciate.
Getting things under way with You Could Have Been Someone, a wonderful evocation of a life of missed opportunities and an exhortation to grab hold of life with both hands and celebrate it each and every day. Given the circumstances that we all find ourselves in right now, this song will have a resonance for all of us I think.
Mother Earth to me has an echo of Pink Floyd at their most melancholy, not necessarily a bad thing. The planet we call home is in serious danger and how much longer will she tolerate our excesses? Thought provoking stuff all round.
We Knew The Truth Once ...Yes, in the days before Social Media told us how to think and what to believe (how I miss them!) I do wonder if we will ever be able to tell fact from fiction again and this song brilliantly describes that feeling.
I Like You and The Weight Of Man are both heartfelt encouragements to embrace our fundamental humanity beforr it is too late, whilst Amelia dissects a relationship at an end with clinical precision.
The Last Laugh describes how our reliance on people who are, at best unreliable and how we have come to the situation we find ourselves in today whilst Almost Famous dissects the aspirations, once again, driven by Social Media and the obsession some people have with that all too fleeting "moment of fame" which isn't worth the effort expended on it and whose lasting consequences are much more damaging.
Symptomatic and Like Stone Cold too bring the harsh reality that we as a nation, species etc are running out of time and changing our ways may already be too late.
However, just as the album could conclude on this bleak theme, there is a glimmer of hope provided by the cover version of Lennon and McCartney's Golden Slumbers which jars the senses with its delicate message.
Ray has once again proven himself an adroit observer of life and his surroundings. His is a cynicism based on experience but not one which leaves no room for hope and change. A thoroughly absorbing and thought provoking album which confirms my belief that Ray is one of the best song writers currently plying his trade for all our benefits.