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Second Life Syndrome View Drop Down
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    Posted: May 16 2013 at 20:24
How important are the philosophies and ideas in prog to you?  I find more and more that I often appreciate the lyrical message more than the music, at least at first.  The lyrical content often opens up the door for me to fall in love with the music!  One example: Riversea's "Out of an Ancient World".  This album is a masterpiece in my opinion, but the philosophy is what gripped me at first.  Truly, prog is music for thinking men!

I've been thinking about this concept for a while, and so I started a Facebook page called The Prog Mind.  I want it to be a community of prog lovers that appreciate the message just as much as the melody.  They place emphasis on the lyrics and on the music.  I feel that this will get us closer and closer to the true soul of prog: that undefinable aura that seems to embrace prog.  If you feel like it, join my community at https://www.facebook.com/TheProgMind  If not, share your feelings about this topic!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dr wu23 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 16 2013 at 22:35
Lyrics and ideas in the songs have always been important to me. They enhance the listening experience. I often have trouble listening to a band if the lyrics are lousy/trite even if the music is decent.
For instance I found out early on that Fripp was into Gurdjief and Bennett; ie, The Fourth Way Work. It encouraged me to find out what the philosophy was all about nd I spent several years reading about it which led me to other philosphical ideas. The same with Yes and Topographic Oceans which led me into Paramahansa Yogananda and Vedic ideas.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ambient Hurricanes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 16 2013 at 22:49
VERY important to me.  I like my music to actually mean something.  I can deal with crappy lyrics from time to time but trite themes annoy the heck out of me.  It's even more important to me in my own music.

Lyrics (and music) should speak to a vital part of the human experience and tell part of the great story of life/history.  Even if I don't agree with the philosophies/messages behind a song's lyrics, I can still enjoy them.
In blood, he's writing the lyrics of a brand new tune.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Second Life Syndrome Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 16 2013 at 23:12
Originally posted by Ambient Hurricanes Ambient Hurricanes wrote:

VERY important to me.  I like my music to actually mean something.  I can deal with crappy lyrics from time to time but trite themes annoy the heck out of me.  It's even more important to me in my own music.

Lyrics (and music) should speak to a vital part of the human experience and tell part of the great story of life/history.  Even if I don't agree with the philosophies/messages behind a song's lyrics, I can still enjoy them.

I completely agree!  I can appreciate the music even if I happen to disagree.  What's important to me is that they put some thought into it.  For instance, Epica's Design Your Universe is quite pantheistic or something similar.  I disagree, but I still feel a great pull into the music based on the lyrics.  However, I want to see some serious thought.  Last year, Galahad released Beyond the Gates of Euphoria, and the philosophical train of thought was terrible.  It was all over the place.  They contradicted themselves multiple times!  The music was great, but I still have trouble listening intently to it; 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 17 2013 at 02:09
Philosophy is a waste of a mind, it is the single most useless invention mankind has ever created, and the nonsense that dribbles from the mouths of pop and rock lyricists are some of the worst example of that. Prog lyrics are often poor poetry and even poorer philosophy even when compared to the inane banality of Hit Me baby One More Time. Why should I think that the probably drunken and possibly drug-addled musings of a singer in a rock band should carry any meaningful message or insight into the human condition. If the words tell a story then great, if they attempt to impart wisdom then ... meh.


If you cannot be wise, pretend to be someone who is wise and then just behave like they would - Neil Gaiman
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 17 2013 at 02:14


If you cannot be wise, pretend to be someone who is wise and then just behave like they would - Neil Gaiman
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Aussie-Byrd-Brother Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 17 2013 at 02:24
Completely off topic, but damn, Dean, what a band Mansun were....I've still got a Mansun t-shirt somewhere, but I hardly ever wore it because people that didn't know them assumed that good looking bunch of young lads were a poppy boy group like Nsync etc lol!

Anyway, thanks for throwing in such a random Mansun plug, and....



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Neo-Romantic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 17 2013 at 02:27

I love a good lyrical message. It's not something I always found important, but as I get older, I find I'm more invested in the words and what story or mood they're trying to convey. Often a song that I regard as my favorite nowadays is based on the criteria of a strong lyrical message augmented by powerful, deep music that adds to the meaning without becoming a distraction.

A perfect example for me is A Louse is Not a Home by Peter Hammill. Lyrically and musically, it's one of the best songs I've ever heard. I'm moved by the poetry on such a deep level, and the images the text depicts is matched flawlessly by the musical gestures throughout.

I also have a similar preference for albums with strong, unified narratives, such as Opeth's Still Life and Genesis's The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. Two of my top 5 albums for this very reason.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Svetonio Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 17 2013 at 02:33
Gabriel era Genesis' lyrics got me when I was a minor kid.
Also some verses by King Crimson.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Aussie-Byrd-Brother Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 17 2013 at 02:46
The lyrics of bands and artists such as the Flower Kings, Magenta, Neal Morse, Unitopia, etc mean a lot to me, I find the blend of religious/spiritual elements, new age philosophies and vague enough suggestions on how to approach your life absolutely inspiring.

Other than that, one of the things I've always loved about prog is how cryptic, confusing, vague, subtle and complex the words often are. I love really giving them a lot of thought and working out what they might possibly mean. Sometimes even one line can really stand out and mean something of great importance to me.

To me, those sort of lyrics can be just as much a prog trademark as striking artwork and involving arrangements are!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 17 2013 at 02:49
Originally posted by Aussie-Byrd-Brother Aussie-Byrd-Brother wrote:

Completely off topic, but damn, Dean, what a band Mansun were....I've still got a Mansun t-shirt somewhere, but I hardly ever wore it because people that didn't know them assumed that good looking bunch of young lads were a poppy boy group like Nsync etc lol!

Anyway, thanks for throwing in such a random Mansun plug, and....



It wasn't random. Mansun were reknowned as being the "bedsit-philosophy" band of the 90s and the darlings of the student philosopher, just like Yes and Genesis were in the 70s and Marillion in the 80s. Fans would pour over the lyrics, analysing the words for meaning. Realising this would happen with the songs on the Attack Of The Grey Lantern album, Paul Drapper penned An Open Letter To A Lyrical Trainspotter as a hidden coda track to close the album, but to no avail, the bed-sit philosophers still picked over the lyrics. Which of course leads directly on to their Prog-Opus: Six, where they made a deliberate effort to show all the songs references in the cover art, including showing all the literature that inspired them in the book titles on the desk and the images in the background.


If you cannot be wise, pretend to be someone who is wise and then just behave like they would - Neil Gaiman
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Aussie-Byrd-Brother Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 17 2013 at 02:56
Originally posted by Dean Dean wrote:

Originally posted by Aussie-Byrd-Brother Aussie-Byrd-Brother wrote:

Completely off topic, but damn, Dean, what a band Mansun were....I've still got a Mansun t-shirt somewhere, but I hardly ever wore it because people that didn't know them assumed that good looking bunch of young lads were a poppy boy group like Nsync etc lol! Anyway, thanks for throwing in such a random Mansun plug, and....

It wasn't random. Mansun were reknowned as being the "bedsit-philosophy" band of the 90s and the darlings of the student philosopher, just like Yes and Genesis were in the 70s and Marillion in the 80s. Fans would pour over the lyrics, analysing the words for meaning. Realising this would happen with the songs on the Attack Of The Grey Lantern album, Paul Drapper penned An Open Letter To A Lyrical Trainspotter as a hidden coda track to close the album, but to no avail, the bed-sit philosophers still picked over the lyrics. Which of course leads directly on to their Prog-Opus: Six, where they made a deliberate effort to show all the songs references in the cover art, including showing all the literature that inspired them in the book titles on the desk and the images in the background.

Guess what, Dean, I was one of those people that pored over those details too! I've got a massive framed poster of the `Six' album cover, and I remember when I was younger I used to stare at that thing all the time, along with my vinyl copy! Guilty....and loved every bit of it!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote octopus-4 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 17 2013 at 02:57
Any form of art is made to vehiculate messages, conscious or not. I'm used to look at track titles when listening to instrumental music because even without a real concept an instrumental contains emotions and states of mind. 
Also, knowing what an artist had in mind during the composing process can be very important and can give us the possibility to catch the message. The way one listens to Jugband Blues is very different if you know the story behind. One thing is a psychedelic-pop song, another is the testament of an artist aware of his mental illness. 

It's the same in literature: the short horror tale "The extraneous" written by HP Lovecraft is apparently meaningless and surely not interesting, but bearing in mind the author's story and what he has suffered as child because of his mother, it becomes self-biographical and it's really moving.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tom Ozric Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 17 2013 at 03:14
In my Prog world, lyrics have often come 'secondary' to the music.  I love Jon Anderson's lyrics, even if they are a bunch of kozmik and spiritual rambling, I love Peter Hammill's lyrics, more often than not, unique and intelligent.  At the same time, Todd Rundgren has a knack of writing from the heart.  Even some nonsensical lyrics I can overlook as long as the music behind it is well played.  Some lyrics are just plain dopey..........
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 17 2013 at 03:22
Originally posted by Aussie-Byrd-Brother Aussie-Byrd-Brother wrote:

Guess what, Dean, I was one of those people that pored over those details too! I've got a massive framed poster of the `Six' album cover, and I remember when I was younger I used to stare at that thing all the time, along with my vinyl copy! Guilty....and loved every bit of it!
Should I ever decide to write another album review (unlikely), it would be of a Mansun album (which one is hard to chose), however since I put so much into their PA biography and the few reviews they have here being so good, I'm not sure what I could add that isn't repetition of what's already been written. More people should listen to Mansun.


If you cannot be wise, pretend to be someone who is wise and then just behave like they would - Neil Gaiman
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dellinger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 17 2013 at 10:38
Yeah, lyrics are important for me, but not more than the music.   I can enjoy a song with very good music and crappy lyrics, but there is no way I can really enjoy a song with excellent lyrics but crappy music (though I might come to admire said song for it's message or significance, but not really enjoy it).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dayvenkirq Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 17 2013 at 10:49
Originally posted by Dean Dean wrote:

Philosophy is a waste of a mind, it is the single most useless invention mankind has ever created, and the nonsense that dribbles from the mouths of pop and rock lyricists are some of the worst example of that. Prog lyrics are often poor poetry and even poorer philosophy even when compared to the inane banality of Hit Me baby One More Time. Why should I think that the probably drunken and possibly drug-addled musings of a singer in a rock band should carry any meaningful message or insight into the human condition. If the words tell a story then great, if they attempt to impart wisdom then ... meh.
I don't understand what is wrong with philosophy. People learn from it.
"People tell you life is short. ... No, it's not. Life is long. Especially if you make the wrong decisions." - Chris Rock
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 17 2013 at 11:05
As with any other performance art, I am interested mainly in expression in music.  So I look at lyrics too from the standpoint of expression, rather than the content.  I am not particularly interested in whether I agree or disagree with the content (and the content by itself has never influenced my way of life) but in whether I find the manner convincing and engaging.   I love how in the line "Plans that either come to nought or half a page of scribbled waste", Waters presents a reflection on Britain in a manner that could be interpreted and related to a personal situation as well.   On the other hand, while Neil Peart may make a good point at times, I don't like his lyrics because of the way he frames his thoughts (which comes across as somewhat banal and 'captain obvious' to me).

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The T Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 17 2013 at 11:10
Originally posted by Dean Dean wrote:

Philosophy is a waste of a mind, it is the single most useless invention mankind has ever created, and the nonsense that dribbles from the mouths of pop and rock lyricists are some of the worst example of that. Prog lyrics are often poor poetry and even poorer philosophy even when compared to the inane banality of Hit Me baby One More Time. Why should I think that the probably drunken and possibly drug-addled musings of a singer in a rock band should carry any meaningful message or insight into the human condition. If the words tell a story then great, if they attempt to impart wisdom then ... meh.
This. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dayvenkirq Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 17 2013 at 11:12
^ Then stories are just as much of human waste as philosophy. We have nothing to learn from them.

Edited by Dayvenkirq - May 17 2013 at 11:12
"People tell you life is short. ... No, it's not. Life is long. Especially if you make the wrong decisions." - Chris Rock
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