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Should politics return to Prog music?

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SteveG View Drop Down
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    Posted: June 16 2014 at 13:40


When Marillion released their album titled Sounds That Can't Be Made last year, it contained the controversial track Gaza which addressed one of the long standing Middle Eastern controversies. With more than ten years to reflect on the events of 9/11, two Gulf wars and world wide economic and social divides; would you like to see more of these topics addressed in the lyrics of Prog music songs (even if they are controversial) or should Prog music, with the old political guard with artists such as Zappa, Floyd and KC long faded and mute, remain an escapist or purely aesthetic medium devoid of any social and political commentary?



Edited by SteveG - June 19 2014 at 19:48
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote KingCrInuYasha Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 16 2014 at 14:08
Does Frank Zappa's stuff count?
He looks at this world and wants it all... so he strikes, like Thunderball!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Wanorak Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 16 2014 at 14:09
I personally enjoy a good political song ala Forgotten Sons and Gaza. I though Gaza was great because it focused on the effect the Israeli/Palestinian conflict had on ordinary people. I think a lot of times we don't address world problems and just hide our heads in the sand and ignore them. Bravo to Marillion for saying something important with Gaza.
A GREAT YEAR FOR PROG!!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SteveG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 16 2014 at 14:12
Originally posted by KingCrInuYasha KingCrInuYasha wrote:

Does Frank Zappa's stuff count?

Yes, but unfortunately the great man has left the building.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Horizons Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 16 2014 at 14:20
Obama Prog


I Will Write Peace All Over Your Wings And You Will Fly Around The World
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SteveG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 16 2014 at 14:27
Originally posted by Horizons Horizons wrote:

Obama Prog
Could the other guy even spell prog?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stonebeard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 16 2014 at 14:33
It could work, but most if not all artists lack the combination of humility, talent, and self-awareness to do it without appearing naive or full of themselves. It's either be preachy or embarrassing either way.

And Zappa's stuff was basically American culture satire masquerading as music. Almost a different thing entirely.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Prog_Traveller Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 16 2014 at 14:37
It would be a crap shoot for the bands and artists because they risk alienating part of their audience and I think most prog bands(unlike most punk bands)aren't willing to do that. Apparently The Flower King's latest album falls along the lines of political commentary but I haven't heard it yet. I'm personally ok with a bit of controversy(ie lyrics that challenge the powers that be).

Edited by Prog_Traveller - June 16 2014 at 14:38
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SteveG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 16 2014 at 14:38
Originally posted by stonebeard stonebeard wrote:

It could work, but most if not all artists lack the combination of humility, talent, and self-awareness to do it without appearing naive or full of themselves. It's either be preachy or embarrassing either way.And Zappa's stuff was basically American culture satire masquerading as music. Almost a different thing entirely.

I agree with you on all counts. Not all prog bands could pull it off, but enough could. I was a bit tongue-in-cheek about Zappa's views which are not relevant to the discussion.

Edited by SteveG - June 16 2014 at 14:44
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mind_Drive Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 16 2014 at 14:46
as to this state of humanity, politics have exclusively been driven by EGO and thus never where expression of the beauty of SELF. this is a contradiction to harmony per se

im very very annoyed and set up by any politics so i feel atuomaticly discomforted when it shows up somwhere in my magical prog.

for me they both are clearly incompatible!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 16 2014 at 14:47
What happens when the politics involved is diametrically opposite to your personal ideology?

If Zappa had been a rabid right-wing tea-bagger would it have made a difference to anyone's appreciation of his music? If Peter Hammill and/or Peter Gabriel had sung songs in honour of P W Botha instead of Steve Biko would we like them as much?


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rushfan4 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 16 2014 at 14:50
Politics abound in Neil Peart's lyrics for Rush.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SteveG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 16 2014 at 14:54
Originally posted by Dean Dean wrote:

What happens when the politics involved is diametrically opposite to your personal ideology?
If Zappa had been a rabid right-wing tea-bagger would it have made a difference to anyone's appreciation of his music? If Peter Hammill and/or Peter Gabriel had sung songs in honour of P W Botha instead of Steve Biko would we like them as much?
Of course, therein lies the rub. I appreciate listening to the argument of opposing views, but I'm firmly in the minority in regard to this.

Edited by SteveG - June 16 2014 at 15:00
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SteveG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 16 2014 at 14:57
Originally posted by rushfan4 rushfan4 wrote:

Politics abound in Neil Peart's lyrics for Rush.
Yes, but I would have to say in a more obscure Ayn Rand philosophical way, though.

Edited by SteveG - June 16 2014 at 15:25
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Nogbad_The_Bad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 16 2014 at 14:57
As long as it's left wing and anti religion, I don't think I could listen to Teabagging God Fearing stuff.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Doctor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 16 2014 at 15:00
Lots of politics already in prog. A lot of Neil Peart's and Roger Waters' lyrics are political in nature. Fish has also had quite a few political songs. Hey, even Genesis has thrown the occasional political song at us. I think sometimes politics is fine in a song. And some of them I thoroughly enjoy, others not so much, whether for the political message or for the music itself. The problem is, sometimes, if it's extreme one way or the other, politics can definitely alienate one's potential fan base and so from a financial/mercenary point of view, musicians may want to be careful about how much politics they inject into their music.   
I can understand your anger at me, but what did the horse I rode in on ever do to you?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Toaster Mantis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 16 2014 at 15:11
I don't avoid political lyrics as a matter of principle, being a fan of Frank Zappa and all, it's just that very often when a political ideology becomes integral to the band concept the resulting music suffers artistically as a result. It's more a problem in punk and the national-romantic kind of black metal (e. g. Drudkh), though, than in progressive rock though it is the main thing keeping me away from the "Rock In Opposition" scene.

Really I prefer ideology in music to be more a matter of the music embodying a specific set of more abstract virtues from which the artists' political ideals also are derived, rather than expressing a stance you simply can agree or disagree with. It might not be quite as effective in terms of concrete activism, though, but more likely to get interesting music out of. Zappa could get away with the latter because he usually had the interesting music to back it up with.

To use the examples of punk, it's what separates Amebix from The Exploited.

Edited by Toaster Mantis - June 16 2014 at 15:25
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mirror Image Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 16 2014 at 15:15
I think if a prog band has something to say politically they should say it, but, at risk of alienating listeners, it should be about human rights issues and deal with the corruption that's plagued our governments for so long instead of exclaiming "I'm a libertarian" or "I'm a member of the Labour Party," etc. The political messages should be universal.


Edited by Mirror Image - June 16 2014 at 15:16
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rdtprog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 16 2014 at 15:17
The content lyrics in music are one part of the whole thing, if i had to stop listening to every bands that i don't share the social, political or religious message, i would be listening to the same music. This is why i prefer don't care too much about lyrics and concentrate on how they get in harmony with the music. I pay attention to Peart's lyrics a bit more but i wouldn't say that it  add a lot to the listening experience. However sometimes when i hear Neal Morse sings with the word "Jesus", Jon Anderson talk bout "love" and some esoteric message, i just find it funny more than anything else.

Edited by rdtprog - June 16 2014 at 15:18
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote zravkapt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 16 2014 at 15:20
As long as the music moves me I don't give a Censored what the lyrics are about. It is not an accident that most of the music I listen to is either instrumental or sung in a language I don't understand. You got something important to say, write a book.
"We don't know a millionth of one percent about anything" - Thomas Edison
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