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Is Progressive Rock truly pretentious?

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criticdrummer94 View Drop Down
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    Posted: December 05 2011 at 04:36
I know it kinda sounds stupid but a lyric in the song It really spoke when it said and I quote "If you think that its pretentious, you've been taken for a ride." So I'm gonna ask you. How would you define pretentious and does it set with Prog music? 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Chozal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 05 2011 at 05:15
Pretentious : "Making unjustified or excessive claims as of value, or standing".

It is true that Prog has this image for the non-prog listener of a pompous, needlessly intellectual music. I do not think it is true for the genre or for any of the subscenes, as genres : they are neutral ways of making music.
When it comes to musicians, the virtuoso approach can indeed sometimes sound pretentious if that makes any sense. Obvious examples are Emerson or Dream Theater, people that I often hear described as "playing for their own sake". Which can be discussed.
I don't know any but I am sure some prog "fans" too like to feel themselves superior because of the music they enjoy.

To cut it short (or rather shorter, as I am not accustomed with long and documented posts), the music is not pretentious, the people can be. But it still is a minor characteristic that is overblown by the main audience imo, following the punk pattern : "anyone can do music, so why do these old jazz people want us to lear odd time signatures, modes, harmonies ? f**k off, let me play my riffs".

As a minor "downside" to the genre it can be played upon -try to make the most complicated riff, blend as many influences as possible, just for fun - but the masterpieces of Prog - Brave, SEBTP, Aqualung, Images and Words,  etc speak to everybody with a rock sensibility at one point or another, without sounding pretentious, just good music.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sleeper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 05 2011 at 05:25
In general, no, not in the least. Of course there will be a few bands or albums that can reasonably have the finger pointed at them and called pretentious, but its a rarity rather than the norm.

If you want pretention, look at Hip-Hop.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vompatti Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 05 2011 at 05:35
Much of bad music is pretentious regardless of how complex it is.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Slartibartfast Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 05 2011 at 07:01
Originally posted by criticdrummer94 criticdrummer94 wrote:

I know it kinda sounds stupid but a lyric in the song It really spoke when it said and I quote "If you think that its pretentious, you've been taken for a ride." So I'm gonna ask you. How would you define pretentious and does it set with Prog music? 

It was an epithet hurled by critics of the music at the time, nothing more, nothing less.  I hopped on the prog bandwagon about four years after that line was written.  I found the critics at the time to be the pretentious ones.  If you are an inept critic then you resort to what you think are clever retorts rather than digging in to the substance.


Edited by Slartibartfast - December 05 2011 at 07:03
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Snow Dog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 05 2011 at 07:08
Depends who you are. To your average rock fan who thinks songs must be 3 to 4 minutes long. You have to take drugs and have a sleazy lifestyle (bit cliche I know) then all prog is pretentious to them. Musicians wanting to play music that oversteps the constrictive boundaries of a normal rock song is just not proper music.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AtomicCrimsonRush Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 05 2011 at 07:11

ok move on now....
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Slartibartfast Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 05 2011 at 07:24
By the way, It has come up before, but I can't be bothered to look up the thread. While Peter was making an allusion to prog rock critics of the day, he was in fact singing about the penis or in a more broader sense about genitals in general.  And when it comes to pretentious genitals, the penis wins over the clitoris. LOL


Edited by Slartibartfast - December 05 2011 at 07:25
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote twosteves Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 05 2011 at 08:44
Originally posted by Slartibartfast Slartibartfast wrote:

Originally posted by criticdrummer94 criticdrummer94 wrote:

I know it kinda sounds stupid but a lyric in the song It really spoke when it said and I quote "If you think that its pretentious, you've been taken for a ride." So I'm gonna ask you. How would you define pretentious and does it set with Prog music? 

It was an epithet hurled by critics of the music at the time, nothing more, nothing less.  I hopped on the prog bandwagon about four years after that line was written.  I found the critics at the time to be the pretentious ones.  If you are an inept critic then you resort to what you think are clever retorts rather than digging in to the substance.

So true---which is why Gabriel took a final swipe at critics ---who were pretentious f**ks themselves---as the Lamb came to an end---a preemptive strike so to speak.Big smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote twosteves Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 05 2011 at 08:45
Originally posted by Slartibartfast Slartibartfast wrote:

By the way, It has come up before, but I can't be bothered to look up the thread. While Peter was making an allusion to prog rock critics of the day, he was in fact singing about the penis or in a more broader sense about genitals in general.  And when it comes to pretentious genitals, the penis wins over the clitoris. LOL

Also true.LOL
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Progosopher Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 05 2011 at 09:40
I think most people confuse 'pretentious' for 'pompous.'  A pretentious musician is one who pretends to be better than he or she is.  To me, these people are posers more concerned with how they look than with how they sound.  A pretentious fan is one who pretends to know more about music than he or she does.  The same goes for critics.  So, no, Prog is not pretentious, but it is often pompous.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 05 2011 at 10:13
Originally posted by Progosopher Progosopher wrote:

I think most people confuse 'pretentious' for 'pompous.'  A pretentious musician is one who pretends to be better than he or she is.  To me, these people are posers more concerned with how they look than with how they sound.  A pretentious fan is one who pretends to know more about music than he or she does.  The same goes for critics.  So, no, Prog is not pretentious, but it is often pompous.


Good point. I'd call something like Yanni pretentious because it was promoted as something very sophisticated, which it wasn't.  Prog's bite lives up to its bark in that regard.  In any case, there's nothing inherent in the very premise of prog to suggest that it is pretentious but there may be some bands who are, just like in any other genre.


Edited by rogerthat - December 05 2011 at 10:13
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Snow Dog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 05 2011 at 10:18
Yanni. Not sophisticated. I like that.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The T Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 05 2011 at 10:21
Yes. And that's why you like it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CloseToTheMoon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 05 2011 at 10:39
Nope. It's just music for people who enjoy music. There's pretentiousness in any genre, but as a rule I think Prog was originally created by bored musicians.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DisgruntledPorcupine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 05 2011 at 11:06

I used to use that word, but my view has changed. Now I think pretentious is the most overused word ever and now borders on being a synonym of incredibly experimental and unique, which really ticks me off.

Originally posted by sleeper sleeper wrote:

If you want pretention, look at Hip-Hop.

That's a better way of looking at the phrase. Obviously not all rappers or hip-hop artists are pretentious, but the ones that seem to get the most attention are.


Edited by DisgruntledPorcupine - December 05 2011 at 11:07
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Yes it is but that's not necessarily a bad thing
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gerinski Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 05 2011 at 13:17
No it's not. In my job I try to be a bit of a perfectionist and I don't think my customers find that pretentious, I know they appreciate it. We are the customers of the musicians so it's only for us to be grateful that they try to deliver a quality product.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JS19 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 05 2011 at 13:31
When we start topics on this forum called 'How To Convert People To Prog', that's pretentious.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote presdoug Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 05 2011 at 13:34
to dismiss progressive rock as pretentious is wrong because that is a generalization, and the prog world is a complex one, and has a lot of different aspects and attitudes associated with it

       And as someone said before, there is pretentiousness in every type of music

               
"and what music unites, man should not take apart"--Helmut Koellen                               
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