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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Tarkus CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

4.06 | 1932 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Tarkus, for me, is not an album. It is a song (probably the best song ELP have to offer, but a song nonetheless). And this song happens to have six b-sides...

Looking at the overall package, it is clear that everything revolves around the title track: the name, the outer artwork, the inner-gatefold images, the fonts, even the name of the record company these guys would subsequently set up. Tarkus, the song, is worth 5 stars hands down, but I won't attempt to justify the merits of this prog epic because hundreds have done so already in previous reviews. Lets just say, for arguments sake, that it is perfect. Within ELP's catalogue it certainly is. But then theres the other 20 minutes.

Now most prog bands who have released a side- long song have at least focused some of their attention to the other tunes. Lizard, Meddle, Relayer, Foxtrot... all these albums (and many more) are great examples. Obviously the epics are intended to be the best songs, and they are, but there's always some good tunes on the other side as well. Some have filler, but the only "other side" that I've encountered which contains NOTHING BUT filler, is Tarkus here. After reading the recent forum thread about whether humour belongs in progressive music or not, the conclusion is that it does if it's actually funny. 'Jeremy Bender' and 'Are You Ready Eddy' are NOT funny. Thus, their purpose (other than for fulfiling Emerson's boogie woogie cravings and ragtime addiction) is rendered obsolete. On top of this there are two below-mediocre rock shorts, a stolen hymn, and another pointlessly repetitive instrumental. It's not just me who hates these tracks; it's fair to say that everybody with remote taste, ignores them.

Tarkus is a 5-star song, but this site its for rating albums, not songs. At best, this is half an album (or a very short album). It's like an extended single with too many b-sides. So, for an album which I consider to have one, albeit good song, the overall package has to be deducted accordingly.

thehallway | 3/5 |


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