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Simon Says - Paradise Square CD (album) cover


Simon Says


Symphonic Prog

3.70 | 86 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars For many within the Progressive Rock Fan community, Paradise Square by the Swedish group 'Simon Says' is an example of Progressive Rock that fails to progress. Such an approach to the genre, of course, misunderstands the original meaning of the word 'Progressive' within a context where it referred to an initiative to create a style of 'art-for-art's- sake' music in which commercial success was not ofuppermost concern. The label, 'Progressive' Rock, therefore, indicates a style of music which demands the listener's attention and valuation according to its own structural dynamics and compositional sophistication while retaining many of the same sonic qualities and power of Rock (or even 'Pop') music in general. That this initiative led to a radically new art form does not suggest 'newness' was its primary objective ? indeed, the early masterworks of Progressive Rock were always indebted to much of the music that came before and did not offer anything purely original. (The obsession with 'newness' incidentally, addresses a greater concern with 'fashion' with all its commercial connotations). That Paradise Square shares much with the music of Gabriel era 'Genesis' should not, then, lead to its dismissal as un- progressive. The album clearly strives to adopt a similar soundscape, conceptual approach and compositional structure that is highly reminiscent, for example, of Genesis' Suppers Ready ? its frequent employment, for example, of the Mellotron to create an ethereal sonic quality, or its development of a dreamlike and almost incomprehensible narrative - and despite its failure to achieve the same vocal resonance, lyrical brilliance and instrumental beauty of the latter, still offers a highly estimable piece of Progressive Rock. Paradise Square is an album within the same musical mode as Gabriel era Genesis and, assessed according this mode and not by criteria it obviously does not intend to meet, it successfully fulfils its intention. As a listener to a symphonic poem by Delius should not condemn it simply because it adopts a musical form first developed by Liszt, we should appreciate Progressive Rock not according to its 'originality' but by how well it achieves cohesiveness within the mode to which it adheres. And just as a symphonic poem by Delius shares much in common with those composed by Liszt yet will always 'sound' distinctive from it in ways that many will regard as less powerful (while others, of course, will regard it as of greater artistic merit), I feel justified in regarding Paradise Square as a very good Progressive Rock album, a la mid-period Genesis, and of high artistic value even if it fails to achieve ( and here, of course, I only indicate my own personal taste) the same greatness as the mode's founding creations.
Kiwi1 | 4/5 |


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