Friday, February 12, 2010

So, what IS progressive music?

This has been on my mind for the last few hours, since it was only this afternoon that I opened my CD copy of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon."

On the surface, the album sounds like everything a self-respecting British punk would hate - odd time signatures ("Money"), extended synthesizer bits ("On the Run"), strange sound effects (pretty much the whole album), and self-referential lyrics ("Brain Damage").

But then again, while you can hang the "progressive" tag on Pink Floyd, Yes, and ELP (Palmer or Powell, take your pick), the term can apply to artists as widely varied as Brian Eno (whose work certainly moved in different directions later) and Elton John (yes, he's a pop star, but take a listen to some of the album tracks on "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" and some of his other albums some time).

And it's not surprising to note that the editors of Wikipedia can't agree on who is prog-rock either. The section of the article entitled "Peak in popularity and decline" includes this note:

The neutrality of this article is disputed. Please see the discussion on the talk page. Please do not remove this message until the dispute is resolved.

So forget about the article; let's go right to the fight, which gets into stuff like this:

Progressive Rock should have the following Sub-Genre pages:

* Canterbury
* Crossover Progressive
* Eclectic Progressive
* Jazz Fusion
* Krautrock
* Neo-Progressive
* New Prog ("nu-prog" would redirect to this page)
* Progressivo Italiano
* Proto-Progressive (or "Progressive Influences")
* Psychedelic/Space Rock
* RIO/Avant Progressive
* Symphonic Progressive ("Art Rock" would redirect to this page)
* Zeuhl

I would like to start with the cleanup of the Symphonic rock page (see the discussion on that page). I would like to re-name it Symphonic Progressive. If I can get exclusive use of the page, I would appreciate it. That way I won't be fighting other editors that want to tout their favorite bands -- most of them on the page are not truly Symphonic Progressive bands! Thanks.

Argh. Now I see why people stuck safety pins in their noses.

But I will say one thing, now that I formally own "Dark Side" - its fame is justified. So many great albums, even ones by the Beatles and Led Zeppelin, are often just collections of very good songs. But "Dark Side" truly holds together as an album, with musical themes repeated throughout the tracks. Truly deserving of its oft-cited record of 741 weeks on Billboard's Top 200 chart, it is truly one of the great albums of all time.

So here are my promo links for your buying pleasure:

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