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Poetry of Progressive Rock

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Knobby View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Knobby Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Poetry of Progressive Rock
    Posted: June 17 2013 at 07:37
It does not bother me one whit that GG lyrics are distinctly sub-par. The vast, vasty majority of prog lyrics are embarrassingly so. (Matter of fact, Im glad I do not understand Italian for this reason alone.)
However, you could have picked bands way more dire on the lyrics front than GG, but I suppose you areonly familiar with the cornerstone bands. (Thank God you have no familiarity with, for instance, the Dutch Sym-Info bands of the 90s.)
 
If lyrics are important to you, my advise is stay away from prog - and by staying away from prog, I really mean stay away from ALL vocal musics ,because if prog is bad, you can be sure the other genres are going to worse - at least prog  can be literarily-inspired.
 
I never concentrate on lyrics (unless Im reading them on the backs of album covers). I treat the human voice as another instrument.
 
However ,when it comes to vocals in prog, what bothers me immensely more than poor lyrics is poorly-recorded vocals. How is it that the majority of  vocals were recorded clear in the 70s but these new bands use shoite-engineers, or no engineers at all and go to all that trouble to make (usually) fantastic music, yet DESTROY EVERYTHING by having the vocalist buried in the mix. We should do a thread on cds that are totally ruined by this trait. I think it would be a real eye-opener. (I recently found out the first Il Trono De Ricordi lp is on the theme of William Blake. You wouldn't know it by struggling to make out the lyrics.)
 
 
So, the problem for Knobbers is not cheese-lyrics  - I love cheese and I specifically collect cheese exploito psych - its clarity.
 
 
....
 
Oh and I should add about prog lyrics:
 
when I DO try to make them out, 9 times out of 10 I have no idea what general idea they are meaning to convey - nevermind clarity of production, prog lyrics (unless its a clear concept work, like Birthcontrol's "Backdoor Possibilities") also suffer from basic clarity/uniformity of meaning. It seems they are just dropping (poetic) images without any linkage of meaning. I find this very bothersome. Its as if they are doing a Dylan "Tarantula" on us - pulling the wool over our eyes. For this reason, I tend to  skip with the lyrics altogether and just flow with the voice instead.


Edited by Knobby - June 17 2013 at 07:47
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Vibrationbaby View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Vibrationbaby Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 17 2013 at 07:49
I agree half the time you can't even make out the lyrics so who cares.
                
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Post Options Post Options   Quote someone_else Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 17 2013 at 07:49
Originally posted by Tubes

Interesting. But I'm more specifically interested in the poetry of whom I see as the true giants of progressive rock: Yes (Jon Anderson, although Howe, Squire, etc. made significant contributions), Genesis (Gabriel, but also Rutherford, Banks, Hackett, etc.), Jethro Tull (Ian Anderson), Van Der Graaf Generator (Peter Hammill), and to a lesser extent King Crimson (Pete Sinfield, Richard Palmer-James), and to an even lesser extent (the highly over-rated) Gentle Giant.


The highly over-rated Gentle Giant... I don't know if this indicates bad taste or a lack of understanding, not sacrilege anyway, though you seem to have angered some of their priests .
Anyway, I just don't agree. I did not spend much time analyzing their lyrics, but their music is virtuoso.

What I find more intriguing is putting Jon Anderson in line with other giants of progressive rock as lyricists for crying out loud. Ian Anderson, Roger Waters, Pete Sinfield and Peter Gabriel have some qualities as lyricists (the latter having written the best lines ever about sex in the chorus of The Cinema Show), but Jon Anderson is another story: although he can be credited with a major share in the shaping of some of the most beautiful gems of prog rock, many of his lyrics can be qualified as crap. In the best case it is like the 2001 Christmas letter from my aunt in California: full of misspellings, so that many words had another meaning than originally intended, which cost me three days to decipher .
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Tubes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 17 2013 at 08:29
Well, Jon was well-intentioned enough. And calling them 'distinctly awkward' as if it were fact, is improper. That is only your own experience listening to them.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote refugee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 17 2013 at 08:37
someone_else, the lyrics to The Cinema Show were written by Banks and Rutherford. Here’s an excerpt from a private mail from my brother (translated by me):

I wonder if Banks and Rutherford have delivered what Harold Bloom calls a “strong misreading” of Eliot’s lines — actually the only kind of reading Bloom thinks is worth anything at all. They are less concerned with soulless sexuality than with an eternally valid erotic play that — as the reference to Romeo and Juliet suggests — very often ends in tragedy (West Side Story has probably some significance here as well). Moreover, in The Cinema Show Tiresias gets a much more vital and vitalizing role than in Eliot’s poem: In The Waste Land, to a strong degree he (she) connotes an erotic/sexual fatigue that’s just as present in both sexes; the song seems more like a feministic myth where the female principle is identified with Gaia. Thus, The Cinema Show can be understood in the same way as Hart Crane’s grand epic poem (or series of lyrical poems) The Bridge — that Crane himself viewed as a more optimistic version of The Waste Land.

 

Well, I’m not altogether sure that this is a valuable input to the discussion at ProgArchives. However, what it once again shows, is how well schooled or — in the best sense of the word — cultivated these boys in Genesis are, something they share with members of the other British prog- and artrock bands. So when I still from time to time see intellectual skeptics claim that rock lyrics exclusively contain formulas like “I love you”, I wonder what side of the moon they inhabit — it’s certainly not the dark side. They can’t be especially close to the edge either, and they have still not found out that the lamb lies down on Broadway (titles by King Crimson and Van der Graaf Generator spring to my mind as well, but I’d better stop while the going is good).


He say nothing is quite what it seems;
I say nothing is nothing
(Peter Hammill)
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Gerinski Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 17 2013 at 08:42
Who cares if there's no poetry in GG's lyrics? Confused imagine they are singing in Kobaian and enjoy Kerry's Clavinet
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Vibrationbaby Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 17 2013 at 08:54
GG's lyrics can be humourous and cynical. I think there was some of that on Giant For a Day.
                
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Tubes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 17 2013 at 09:12
Thank you refugee! Useful information for me there. And yes, I agree; some critics of progressive rock aren't exactly 'critical' enough sometimes, it seems.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote AtomicCrimsonRush Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 17 2013 at 09:22
I always believed Hammill was like Bob Dylan, a poet first, a musical artist second. Looking at his lyrics this would make sense. Dylan ia a visionary but not much of a singer. Hammill is also a visionary but thankfully can sing the fretboard off Dylan in every department. Poetry exists in prog no doubt but it is engaged in the thematic content. for me it is all about how the lyrics move me while listening to amazing musicianship. If the two line up,  a masterpiece is often the result. But its not Shakespeare...  
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Post Options Post Options   Quote progbethyname Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 17 2013 at 09:29
There is a ton of poetry in the form of flowery or dark macabre language in prog Rock for sure! Quite a fan of it as well.
Great examples of the flowery--YES
examples of the Dark--Saviour Machine
Examples of both flowery and macabre is Marillion (fish years)
Fugazi is a poetic gem. ;)
Belhold the power and gift of BEARD! As Damian Wilson sports a beard now his voice somehow got even better than it already was. :)
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Tubes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 17 2013 at 09:33
For anyone interested, I should also like to mention that I currently have a thread about Ezra Pound's poetry in the General Polls section.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote progbethyname Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 17 2013 at 09:35
Originally posted by AtomicCrimsonRush

I always believed Hammill was like Bob Dylan, a poet first, a musical artist second. Looking at his lyrics this would make sense. Dylan ia a visionary but not much of a singer. Hammill is also a visionary but thankfully can sing the fretboard off Dylan in every department. Poetry exists in prog no doubt but it is engaged in the thematic content. for me it is all about how the lyrics move me while listening to amazing musicianship. If the two line up,  a masterpiece is often the result. But its not Shakespeare...  


oh man Scott, when bob Dylan sings it's like a rusty nail being driven into my ear.
He makes me wanna stick my finger in my eye-ball and swirl it around. Lol
The worst part is I can't understand him.

Here. This is brilliant.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H26rfN5H8J0&feature=youtube_gdata_player
Belhold the power and gift of BEARD! As Damian Wilson sports a beard now his voice somehow got even better than it already was. :)
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Post Options Post Options   Quote AtomicCrimsonRush Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 17 2013 at 09:38
I am a fan of poetry especially Coleridges Rime of Ancient Mariner, Brownings My Last Duchess, and Pam Ayres humorous poems such as Teeth. I used to teach poetry to High School, and we looked at a huge amount of styles. Most students wanted to look at the darker side of poetry, such as from Mudrooroo and Coleridge. He would be my favourite and Tennysonn, and Keats.

We should all open our eyes and minds to a poetic world - it speaks to the innermost being.


Edited by AtomicCrimsonRush - June 17 2013 at 09:41
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Aussie-Byrd-Brother Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 17 2013 at 09:43
Originally posted by progbethyname

oh man Scott, when bob Dylan sings it's like a rusty nail being driven into my ear.
He makes me wanna stick my finger in my eye-ball and swirl it around. Lol
The worst part is I can't understand him.

I'm the same, Nick....Can't stomach him, and worse still I don't relate at all to his words.

I remember someone once telling me `No, ignore his voice, listen to his words...', and I came back with something like `Yeah, but...kind of hard to ingore the voice when he's a SINGER, that's the whole point of what he's doing' lol!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote AtomicCrimsonRush Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 17 2013 at 09:47
Originally posted by Aussie-Byrd-Brother

Originally posted by progbethyname

oh man Scott, when bob Dylan sings it's like a rusty nail being driven into my ear.
He makes me wanna stick my finger in my eye-ball and swirl it around. Lol
The worst part is I can't understand him.

I'm the same, Nick....Can't stomach him, and worse still I don't relate at all to his words.

I remember someone once telling me `No, ignore his voice, listen to his words...', and I came back with something like `Yeah, but...kind of hard to ingore the voice when he's a SINGER, that's the whole point of what he's doing' lol!


With Dylan I admit his lyrics are incredible such as JokerMan - my fave, and his singing then was not too bad, but he has gotten worse, and a friend talked me into seeing him live.... worse $50 I ever spent for a concert.

He said nothing, sung all his new songs nobody cared about, no classics were sung, no Blowing, Joker, Hurricane or Blues, just a wasted waste of waste.

Back to poetry... Jokerman - THATS poetry! But the voice is like sandpaper scraping out grandpa's undies with a shredder.... yeah, its bad! LOL
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Post Options Post Options   Quote progbethyname Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 17 2013 at 09:47
Originally posted by Aussie-Byrd-Brother

Originally posted by progbethyname

oh man Scott, when bob Dylan sings it's like a rusty nail being driven into my ear.
He makes me wanna stick my finger in my eye-ball and swirl it around. Lol
The worst part is I can't understand him.

I'm the same, Nick....Can't stomach him, and worse still I don't relate at all to his words.

I remember someone once telling me `No, ignore his voice, listen to his words...', and I came back with something like `Yeah, but...kind of hard to ingore the voice when he's a SINGER, that's the whole point of what he's doing' lol!


You got it buddy. It's tough to ignore. He should just recite it as in using a first person 'narrative' approach. Lol say it don't sing it bob!!! Hey....that should be the title for my new book. Lol
Belhold the power and gift of BEARD! As Damian Wilson sports a beard now his voice somehow got even better than it already was. :)
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Post Options Post Options   Quote progbethyname Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 17 2013 at 09:52
I really want to clear by saying I don't like being overly critical or negitive towards musicians. I do understand the simplicity of bob's approach to his music. I just can't stomach it. Poetic or not, his voice is a deal breaker.
It's like a pair of testicals on a woman....just not cool. Lol
Belhold the power and gift of BEARD! As Damian Wilson sports a beard now his voice somehow got even better than it already was. :)
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Post Options Post Options   Quote progbethyname Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 17 2013 at 09:58
Also. One last thing. Sammy Cool's Rime of the ancient mariner is one of my all time favourites.
I also especially like Iron Maiden's wonderful track adaptation of the poetic work itself.

Well done Bruce!!

Belhold the power and gift of BEARD! As Damian Wilson sports a beard now his voice somehow got even better than it already was. :)
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Post Options Post Options   Quote HolyMoly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 17 2013 at 10:01
Originally posted by progbethyname

Also. One last thing. Sammy Cool's Rime of the ancient mariner is one of my all time favourites.
I also especially like Iron Maiden's wonderful track adaptation of the poetic work itself.

Well done Bruce!!

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Knobby Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 17 2013 at 10:05
Originally posted by Tubes

Well, Jon was well-intentioned enough. And calling them 'distinctly awkward' as if it were fact, is improper. That is only your own experience listening to them.
The reason that Circus track is awkward is that he is cramming  too much lyric into a bar of music.
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