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How Important are lyrics to you in Prog music

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SteveG View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SteveG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 24 2014 at 18:42
Originally posted by Dayvenkirq Dayvenkirq wrote:

Originally posted by dr wu23 dr wu23 wrote:

Originally posted by Dayvenkirq Dayvenkirq wrote:

...
I can't make it any clearer than what I've already said several times. This ain't rocket science. From above:
"it's odd that those who like reading, books, current events, etc, which are probably most of the people on PA, seem to care less about song lyrics."
 
This is getting way over analyzed which seems to happen frequently on PA....LOL
I agree, it's not rocket science, but you have to recognize the fact that I interpreted your statement the way it seemed transparent to me. It means that the connection you see between "the intellectual presence here on PA forum" and "lyric-writing mastery" isn't that transparent to me. I'd like to see it; maybe then I can see certain things in a new light.


Perhaps we are all confusing being literary with being intellectual?


Edited by SteveG - July 24 2014 at 18:51
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 24 2014 at 19:22
Originally posted by Toaster Mantis Toaster Mantis wrote:

Originally posted by rogerthat rogerthat wrote:

In my case, it is simply that I don't want to find a reason to dislike the music that doesn't have anything directly to do with the music.  If they make poor album covers, it's fine.  If they write mediocre lyrics, it's fine.


And the lyrics don't have anything directly to do with the music, as in they're part of the songwriting and composition?

No, in the sense that if it was an instrumental composition or vocal but just with vocalese instead of words, it would still be eminently listenable.  I don't like the idea of first enjoying the musical aspect of it and then on further examination of the lyrics, saying "nah, that's too crappy" and avoiding the composition thereafter.  And there is the possibility of that happening if one pays too much attention to lyrics.  I have seen people dismiss a song only because there were one or two lines of verse they didn't like.  Somehow that just comes across as close minded or emphasising lyrics too much to me.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 24 2014 at 19:36
Originally posted by SteveG SteveG wrote:

^^Time for the guy that belittles prog lyrics to actually defend them for what they once were. At one time prog lyrics were very much a part of the listening experience if even on a near subliminal level. The obvious great lyricist was Roger Waters with his over the top theatrics (it would be nearly impossible to not understand his points) but he truly came into his own on Wish You Were Here. WYWH is an album about absence and even Waters stripped down use of lyrics to add to the feeling of absence and abandonment did little to detract from their meaning contrasted with over long verbiage from albums like The Wall. Alas, Waters is mute. KC's In The Wake Of Poseidon lamented the destruction of the earth from pollution 45 years before global warming become a common phrase in pop culture. And then there's Neil Peart who summary tale of teenage isolation in the song Subdivisions related to more isolated high school kids than any song that I know of and actually turned them on to Rush, more than any other song that I know of. Than we come to "all is bliss' ramblings' of Yes whose dippy verse from Roundabout perfectly fit around Squire's circular and returning bass riff so that even if the meaning of the lyrics were lost on people, they were a memorable fit. And what other song has two ands in both its title and it's lyrics such as Yes' And You And I. Even if the lyrics were not up to snuff they were at least extremely unique and memorable. These are only a few of the types of lyrics that are sorely lacking in modern prog music, I could go but the exercise would be redundant. I doubt that you will find any information in regard to this in PAs thread on songwriting or people would be smart enough to write lyrics like the ones mentioned. (And you can't put common sense down on paper sometimes)
I love Dark Side of the Moon and love the lyrics of the album, almost every word of it.  But there is also no other prog album or rock album for that matter written that directly and plainly.  Now add to that complex and epic music, then it gets too much to pay attention to.  It is only in a case like Marillion where most of the proceedings happen by way of vocal verse that I listen to the words.  I don't really feel the need AT ALL in the case of Yes and only intermittently when it comes to Genesis.  They all wrote magical interludes that to my mind communicated far more beautifully than any words can muster.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 24 2014 at 19:42
Originally posted by dr wu23 dr wu23 wrote:

Perhaps those that don't care about lyrics in general  might be better served with instrumental prog.
 

On the other hand, I am immensely interested in vocals, every aspect of it from tone, technique to phrasing and emoting.  But I also don't exactly worship at the altar of say a Gabriel or Jon Anderson.  I don't think they are really that awesome as singers.  They are alright but need the prop of great music.  In short, most of the time, it is the instrumental aspect of prog that is the most alluring.  Prog tracks are also often arranged in such a way that the singer only interjects with a couple of lines of narrative or such with 10 of 15 minutes taken up by instrumental sections.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dayvenkirq Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 24 2014 at 19:47
^ "I am immensely interested in vocals, every aspect of it from tone, technique to phrasing and emoting." I'm with you there. Besides, someone has already mentioned (on this thread, I think) that there are non-Anglophonic prog albums that we enjoy listening to without ever having to understand the language, be it Italian, KobaÔan, etc. That's why I love Francesco Di Giacomo (RIP).

Edited by Dayvenkirq - July 24 2014 at 19:49
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 24 2014 at 19:52
Kobaian especially.  How does one get to enjoy Magma if one is supposed to first learn an imaginary language to appreciate it?  Just seems like too much work.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dayvenkirq Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 24 2014 at 19:59
^ Besides, the language was constructed with words that have syllables that sound to Vander's liking (at least that's how I understood it). Here's a Wiki page that gives a bit more insight on how the language works.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HackettFan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 24 2014 at 21:45
Originally posted by SteveG SteveG wrote:


Originally posted by dr wu23 dr wu23 wrote:

I think they are fine...I love sci-fi, myth, etc , and they work for me. I can't imagine not hearing that song now with other lyrics or with none.

Originally posted by The Doctor The Doctor wrote:

I agree other Doc....I think Tony and Mike's lyrics to Watcher were great and Peter does a great job singing them, because that couldn't have been an easy set to sing. †

I'll third that. Great lyrics and great delivery from Gabriel. What could have Banks and Rutherford been talking about? Perhaps from an inferior vocalist it would not have worked.
I don't rate a lot in Foxtrot as high as many others on PA do, but that's not really the point. There's a difference between good poetry as written, and lyrics set artfully to music. They are not simply interchangeable. I might have been advised to choose a different example, but I had Banks and Rutherford to help make my point (or to hide behind).

Edited by HackettFan - July 24 2014 at 21:46
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SteveG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 25 2014 at 08:33
Originally posted by SteveG ^^Time for the guy that belittles prog lyrics to actually defend them for what they once were. At one time prog lyrics were very much a part of the listening experience if even on a near subliminal level. The obvious great lyricist was Roger Waters with his over the top theatrics (it would be nearly impossible to not understand his points) but he truly came into his own on Wish You Were Here. WYWH is an album about absence and even Waters stripped down use of lyrics to add to the feeling of absence and abandonment did little to detract from their meaning contrasted with over long verbiage from albums like The Wall. Alas, Waters is mute. KC's In The Wake Of Poseidon lamented the destruction of the earth from pollution 45 years before global warming become a common phrase in pop culture. And then there's Neil Peart who summary tale of teenage isolation in the song Subdivisions related to more isolated high school kids than any song that I know of and actually turned them on to Rush, more than any other song that I know of. Than we come to "all is bliss' ramblings' of Yes whose dippy verse from Roundabout perfectly fit around Squire's circular and returning bass riff so that even if the meaning of the lyrics were lost on people, they were a memorable fit. And what other song has two ands in both its title and it's lyrics such as Yes' And You And I. Even if the lyrics were not up to snuff they were at least extremely unique and memorable. These are only a few of the types of lyrics that are sorely lacking in modern prog music, I could go but the exercise would be redundant. I doubt that you will find any information in regard to this in PAs thread on songwriting or people would be smart enough to write lyrics like the ones mentioned. (And you can't put common sense down on paper sometimes)[/QUOTE]
Originally posted by rogerthat I love Dark Side of the Moon and love the lyrics of the album, almost every word of it.  But there is also no other prog album or rock album for that matter written that directly and plainly.  Now add to that complex and epic music, then it gets too much to pay attention to.  It is only in a case like Marillion where most of the proceedings happen by way of vocal verse that I listen to the words.  I don't really feel the need AT ALL in the case of Yes and only intermittently when it comes to Genesis.  They all wrote magical interludes that to my mind communicated far more beautifully than any words can muster                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Revised response from SteveG: Perhaps, I'm was not making my point clear as it was a short post due to time contraints as I was trying to respond to a members post who thinks he's smart (and claims to be a songwriter to boot) because he read my posts and sees a relationship that I have between singers and songwriters but lacks the intuition, sans written words, to realize my obvious pet peeve regarding this thread. I  can't help feeling that the lyrics in older prog music is mostly taken for granted as I can't envision recent threads such as The Lamb Vs. The Trick Of the Tail without the lyrics playing such a significant role in both albums enjoyment. The same goes for the mostly instrumental ELP. Hell, even their early FM staple ws the lyric heavy  ironic Lucky Man.Their most popular album was the cheeky lyric heavy Brain Salad Surgery with the manic and enjoyable Karevil 9 being the high light. Furhtermore, Collins re-interpretation of the Carpet Crawlers from Seconds Out and the over the top Suppers Ready from the original album or Seconds Out would lack all gravitas without the stellar lyrics. I can't even imagine a poll pitting Zappa agaist Floyd if the lyrics were not a key component to each artist and what would Thick as a Brick be devoid of Anderson's toungue in cheek Pythonesque lyrics? I feel we take a lot of our classic favorites for granted in regard to quality lyrics but I do tip my hat to Marillion and Hogarth in particular, even if their are starting to get a bit long in the tooth now.


Edited by SteveG - July 25 2014 at 10:41
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote thwok Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 25 2014 at 09:03
I guess for me the answer is, it depends!  If we're talking about a good lyricist, I think it contributes greatly to a song.  I'll cite Donald Fagen as someone who can write.  On the other hand, John Anderson's lyrics are usually ridiculous, but Yes was my favorite band for years!  I also love My Dying Bride, but most of Aaron Stainthorpe's lyrics are a jumble of violent gothic images with no continuity.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SteveG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 25 2014 at 09:14






Originally posted by thwok thwok wrote:

I guess for me the answer is, it depends! †If we're talking about a good lyricist, I think it contributes greatly to a song. †I'll cite Donald Fagen as someone who can write. †On the other hand, John Anderson's lyrics are usually ridiculous, but Yes was my favorite band for years! †I also love My Dying Bride, but most of Aaron Stainthorpe's lyrics are a jumble of violent gothic images with no continuity.
Yes, I agreed that Andersons lyrics were lame but at least he was smart enough up to match up the main lyrical motifs with songs that fit the chorus as is the case of the chorus from Roundabout that was matched up to the circular sounding† music. No one understood the lyrics bit there was some sort of obvious fit of lyrics to the song and Andersons vocals were then used as an instrument that carried the song on to an edited down hit in the States.






Edited by SteveG - July 25 2014 at 16:44
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 25 2014 at 09:49
Originally posted by SteveG SteveG wrote:

[ Perhaps, I'm was not making my point clear as it was a short post due to time contraints as I was trying to respond to a members post who thinks he's smart because he read my posts and sees a relationship that I have between singers and songwriters but lacks the intuition, sans written words, to realize my obvious pet peeve regarding this thread. I  can't help feeling that the lyrics in older prog music is mostly taken for granted as I can't envision recent threads such as The Lamb Vs. The Trick Of the Tail without the lyrics playing such a significant role in both albums enjoyment. The same goes for the mostly instrumental ELP. Hell, even their early FM staple ws the lyric heavy  ironic Lucky Man.Their most popular album was the cheeky lyric heavy Brain Salad Surgery with the manic and enjoyable Karevil 9 being the high light. Furhter more, Collins re-interpretation of the Carpet Crawlers from Seconds Out and the over the top Suppers Ready from the original album or Seconds Out would lack all gravitas without the stellar lyrics. I can't even imagine a poll pitting Zappa agaist Floyd if the lyrics were not a key component to each artist and what would Thick as a Brick be devoid of Anderson's toungue in cheek Pythonesque lyrics? I feel we take a lot of our classic favorites for granted in regard to quality lyrics but I do tip my hat to Marillion and Hogarth in particular, even if their are starting to get long in the tooth now.


It is possible that prog lyrics are somewhat taken for granted.  Wouldn't rule that out and I would say the likely reason for that is again simply the fact that the music is so complex and dense.  When there's so much music to take in, lyrics tend to take a backseat.  Coming back to DSOTM, that's why Floyd kept the music also relatively simple and accessible.  It made it easier for people to identify with their lyrics.  Comparatively fewer people identify with the lyrics of Animals because musically and lyrically it's more convoluted (not to say it's bad, I love it).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SteveG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 25 2014 at 10:01
Originally posted by rogerthat rogerthat wrote:

Originally posted by SteveG SteveG wrote:

[ Perhaps, I'm was not making my point clear as it was a short post due to time contraints as I was trying to respond to a members post who thinks he's smart because he read my posts and sees a relationship that I have between singers and songwriters but lacks the intuition, sans written words, to realize my obvious pet peeve regarding this thread. I  can't help feeling that the lyrics in older prog music is mostly taken for granted as I can't envision recent threads such as The Lamb Vs. The Trick Of the Tail without the lyrics playing such a significant role in both albums enjoyment. The same goes for the mostly instrumental ELP. Hell, even their early FM staple ws the lyric heavy  ironic Lucky Man.Their most popular album was the cheeky lyric heavy Brain Salad Surgery with the manic and enjoyable Karevil 9 being the high light. Furhter more, Collins re-interpretation of the Carpet Crawlers from Seconds Out and the over the top Suppers Ready from the original album or Seconds Out would lack all gravitas without the stellar lyrics. I can't even imagine a poll pitting Zappa agaist Floyd if the lyrics were not a key component to each artist and what would Thick as a Brick be devoid of Anderson's toungue in cheek Pythonesque lyrics? I feel we take a lot of our classic favorites for granted in regard to quality lyrics but I do tip my hat to Marillion and Hogarth in particular, even if their are starting to get long in the tooth now.


It is possible that prog lyrics are somewhat taken for granted.  Wouldn't rule that out and I would say the likely reason for that is again simply the fact that the music is so complex and dense.  When there's so much music to take in, lyrics tend to take a backseat.  Coming back to DSOTM, that's why Floyd kept the music also relatively simple and accessible.  It made it easier for people to identify with their lyrics.  Comparatively fewer people identify with the lyrics of Animals because musically and lyrically it's more convoluted (not to say it's bad, I love it).
I  agree with your take on Dark Side but I think that Animals was a tougher nut to crack as it dealt with class distinctions that I felt were really the providence of our British cousins at the time. I would like to get their take on Animals as it may have been more accessable to them than to us Yanks at the time.


Edited by SteveG - July 25 2014 at 10:12
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gerinski Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 25 2014 at 10:53
Too much critisizing Prog lyrics around here, hey, at least most Prog bands try to say something, sometimes they nail it and sometimes they may end up dangerously close to plain ridiculous, but at least they try to say something, which is not the case in the vast majority of Rock music. And I find many interesting concepts and ideas in many Prog songs. So some of you think that Dylan, Cohen et al were better lyricists alright, but we can not complain about lyrics in Prog in general, even if from time to time we have to get a ladder for some singer LOL.
When nearly 40 years later we are still discussing about the meaning of The Lamb, c'mon, which other genre has that!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 25 2014 at 11:22
I don't really go along with that.  There are quite a few prominent prog rock bands whose lyrics either don't convey something particularly interesting to me (Yes) or can often be banal (Rush, Dream Theater).  Prog lyrics tend to be more wordy and intelligent-sounding rather than downright cheesy and dumb, that's perhaps the saving grace.  Just as not every rock songwriter can come up with lyrics to match Dylan, not every prog album is Lamb Lies Down on Broadway either.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SteveG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 25 2014 at 13:38
Originally posted by Gerinski Gerinski wrote:

Too much critisizing Prog lyrics around here, hey, at least most Prog bands try to say something, sometimes they nail it and sometimes they may end up dangerously close to plain ridiculous, but at least they try to say something, which is not the case in the vast majority of Rock music. And I find many interesting concepts and ideas in many Prog songs. So some of you think that Dylan, Cohen et al were better lyricists alright, but we can not complain about lyrics in Prog in general, even if from time to time we have to get a ladder for some singer LOL.
When nearly 40 years later we are still discussing about the meaning of The Lamb, c'mon, which other genre has that!
Again Gerard, the discussion is about Genesis' 40 year old album the Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, not a more recent album like Dead Wing from Porcupine Tree. I realize that members say that they don't care that much about lyrics but I still have a hard time believing it. When we debate albums, they usually have lyrics that are central to their standings as classics.

Edited by SteveG - July 25 2014 at 14:06
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Doctor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 25 2014 at 13:48
^It would be impossible to discuss an album that isn't 40 years old 40 years later.   

I hate to use this word, but I think Dylan's lyrics are being overrated here. Don't get me wrong, I love a lot of Dylan's songs and lyrics, but I wouldn't stack him up against the likes of Peart or Hammill. And I have heard discussions on the lyrical content of The Incident by PT, as well as Doomsday Afternoon by Phideaux and I'm sure there are other examples of modern prog lyrics being discussed but obviously not 40 years later because of the issue of linear time and the way that works.   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SteveG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 25 2014 at 14:00
Originally posted by The Doctor The Doctor wrote:

^It would be impossible to discuss an album that isn't 40 years old 40 years later.   

I hate to use this word, but I think Dylan's lyrics are being overrated here. Don't get me wrong, I love a lot of Dylan's songs and lyrics, but I wouldn't stack him up against the likes of Peart or Hammill. And I have heard discussions on the lyrical content of The Incident by PT, as well as Doomsday Afternoon by Phideaux and I'm sure there are other examples of modern prog lyrics being discussed but obviously not 40 years later because of the issue of linear time and the way that works.   
I agree that Dylan is overrated Doc, but we use him as a reference. I know of many singer songwriters that are hands and feet above prog lyricists. There are exceptions to every rule but will The Incident ever be held in the same light lyrically as Wish You Were Here or The Wall? In other words, does it have that kind buzz even going for it now? I recall that people were engaged in hour long conversations about the lyrics of The Wall or Wish You Were Here when the albums first came out and it seems like it's never stopped. That was my point.

Edited by SteveG - July 25 2014 at 14:11
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CosmicVibration Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 25 2014 at 15:09
Originally posted by thwok thwok wrote:

I guess for me the answer is, it depends!  If we're talking about a good lyricist, I think it contributes greatly to a song.  I'll cite Donald Fagen as someone who can write.  On the other hand, John Anderson's lyrics are usually ridiculous, but Yes was my favorite band for years!  I also love My Dying Bride, but most of Aaron Stainthorpe's lyrics are a jumble of violent gothic images with no continuity.


Jon Andersonís lyrics seem ridiculous in similar fashion as writings in esoteric literature such as the Bible seem ridiculous.   It only appears ludicrous because itís misconstrued. 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SteveG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 25 2014 at 15:12
^I've never read about a Siberian Khatru in the bible. Perhaps I missed that chapter.
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