The Album Years

The Album Years

By Steven Wilson & Tim Bowness

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?


#20 (1978 Part 3) Kate Bush, Chic, Marvin Gaye, Black Sabbath, Brian Eno & more

Six months after they left it dangling, the boys return to 1978. Part Three features deep dives into Chic, Marvin Gaye, Kate Bush, Peter Hammill, Scott Walker, Kevin Coyne, Be Bop Deluxe, Ange, Kraftwerk, Brian Eno, Tangerine Dream, Popol Vuh, Steve Reich and much, much more in a truly epic edition! Elsewhere, SW finds a Genesis album he unconditionally likes, chickens are referenced (quite a lot) and, bless the lords of commerce, there's an Album Years t-shirt available… Buy The Album Years T-shirt (Graphite) Buy The Album Years T-shirt (Classic Olive) --- Send in a voice message:
05/07/221h 38m

#19 (1978 Part 2) Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, Queen, The Who & more

Steven and Tim return with 1978, a year so rich with significant albums ripe for discussion it looks like it’s going to require 4 episodes to get through them all! Part 2 of The Album Years' investigation into 1978 continues with some of the more established guard, including The Who, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, 10cc, Warren Zevon, Elton John, Neil Young, Queen and more. Parts 3 and 4 to follow! --- Send in a voice message:
31/01/2244m 4s

#18 (1978 Part 1) Blondie, The Police, Jeff Wayne, The Stranglers & more

Steven and Tim return with 1978, a year so rich with significant albums ripe for discussion it looks like it’s going to require 4 episodes to get through them all! Part 1 takes on board Tim's suggestions for 'guilty pleasures’ (a notion which Steven strongly objects to), and the non-stop rise of the New Wave goes interstellar. --- Send in a voice message:
31/01/2250m 4s

#17 - The Album Years 2021 Christmas Special with special guest Paul Sinclair

As Noddy Holder keeps on reminding everybody, "It's Christmas!!!". So to celebrate instead of the usual format this episode finds us looking back, and discussing the general state of the physical album based music industry. To help us in this endeavour we are joined by special guest Paul Sinclair, the founder of influential music website We also hang our heads in shame at numerous schoolboy errors, answer a few listener's questions, and Tim once more tries to make a case for McCartney II as a masterpiece, but this time with Paul on his side. --- Send in a voice message:
20/12/211h 14m

#16 (1986) Talk Talk, The Smiths, Peter Gabriel, Metallica, Prince & more

Steven and Tim find themselves marvelling at the greatness of what they’d assumed was a typically flat mid-1980s placeholder year. Talk Talk, The Smiths, Peter Gabriel, Arthur Russell, Miles Davis, Metallica, Momus, XTC, Prince and many an Album Years drinking game favourite are discussed. We also discover that Tim saved a man from drowning while listening to Depeche Mode, and Steven forever associates Peter Hammill’s Nadir’s Big Chance with vile pink medicine. --- Send in a voice message:
26/11/211h 24m

#15 (2006) Arctic Monkeys, Thom Yorke, David Gilmour, The Flaming Lips & more

The boys' time machine lands in 2006 and the fresh fields of 2001 seem to have become neglected and funky (and not in a glorious James Brown kind of way). Artists discussed include Scott Walker, The Who, Thom Yorke, Joanna Newsome, Arctic Monkeys, Sparks, The Flaming Lips and more. Elsewhere, the fractious duo fiercely debate the merits of Marmite. Yum? Yuck? --- Send in a voice message:
12/09/2155m 23s

#14 (2001) Radiohead, Opeth, Bjork, Tool & more

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). --- Send in a voice message:
25/04/2158m 28s

#13 (1981) Rush, Japan, Iron Maiden, Magazine & more

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. --- Send in a voice message:
05/03/211h 6m

#12 (1974) Gentle Giant, Roxy Music, Tangerine Dream, Egg & more

Tim declares 1974 the year of ‘Peak Prog’, while elsewhere Bowie the dog and Tim’s neighbour’s electric drill make debut podcast appearances. --- Send in a voice message:
17/11/201h 12m

#11 (1998) Massive Attack, Mansun, Mark Hollis, Goldie, Philip Glass & more

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! --- Send in a voice message:
15/10/201h 19m

#12 (1969) Scott Walker, Nick Drake, Fairport Convention & more

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? --- Send in a voice message:
07/09/201h 9m

#9 (1989) Kate Bush, De La Soul, Neil Young, Tin Machine, Tears For Fears & more

Tim and Steven try to to figure out why they don't understand the appeal of an album that regularly appears near the top of greatest albums of all time lists. --- Send in a voice message:
17/08/201h 6m

#8 (1979 Part 2) - Motörhead, The B-52's, David Bowie, This Heat & more

Can it be that the album Tim and Steven finally agree is their unanimous favourite of the year is a 3 hour minimalist opera? Find out by listening to sides 3 and 4 of the double album that is 1979. --- Send in a voice message:
28/07/2051m 26s

#7 (1979 Part 1) Gary Numan, Wire, Jethro Tull, Alex Chilton & more

The guys have so many albums to talk about that they decide it's got to be a double! So welcome to The Album Years: 1979, record one. --- Send in a voice message:
28/07/2051m 26s

#6 (1976) Frank Zappa, Led Zeppelin, Santana, Lou Reed, Elton John & more

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. --- Send in a voice message:
05/07/2055m 57s

#5 (1967) The Beach Boys, Leonard Cohen, Donovan, Love & more

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! --- Send in a voice message:
12/06/2052m 57s

#4 (1984) David Bowie, Swans, Prince, Marillion & more

Tim tries to explain the trauma of first hearing David Bowie’s career nadir album Tonight, but otherwise the guys find 1984 to be another very special year. --- Send in a voice message:
07/06/2055m 14s

#3 (1992) Roger Waters, XTC, Nine Inch Nails & more

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. --- Send in a voice message:
29/05/2048m 28s

#2 (1973) Roxy Music, 10cc, Todd Rundgren, David Bowie & more

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! --- Send in a voice message:
22/05/2052m 36s

#1 (1980) Van Morrison, Paul McCartney, The Durutti Column & more

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. --- Send in a voice message:
11/05/2057m 21s
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