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Does religion have a place in Prog music?

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SteveG View Drop Down
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    Posted: August 05 2014 at 16:02
I've noticed many conversations over the last few months both for and against Neil Morse and his religiously inspired lyrics and music in bands like Transatlantic and his own solo work. So, does religion have a place in Prog music or in other forms of pop and rock music?

Edited by SteveG - August 06 2014 at 09:30
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote m2thek Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 05 2014 at 16:09
I like Neal Morse's lyrics mostly because I can hear his passion for what he's singing about. To me, that means a lot more than the content.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Polymorphia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 05 2014 at 16:17
Sure, religion can have a place in music. In terms of execution, Neal Morse is definitely not my favorite, but substantially less preachy than, say, Spirogyra.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Doctor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 05 2014 at 16:19
I'll admit it. I'm not a big fan of Neal Morse's lyrics now that he's gone over to the dark side.    However, it's his music and if he wants to sing praises to the flying spaghetti monster with his music, who am I to criticize him for that. Yes, there are fans of his older work, like me, who don't much care for his new lyrical work. But he's probably picked up fans who can appreciate it. And there are those who don't care one way or the other. I'm of the opinion that it is completely up to the artist what belongs in his music.

He's also one of the more preachy ones in my opinion. I have some love for bands like Iona, The Flower Kings and a few others who have spiritual (if a bit less preachy) messages in their music.

Edited by The Doctor - August 05 2014 at 16:20
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ambient Hurricanes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 05 2014 at 16:24
Given that religion is a widely pervasive and important aspect of the human experience, and that it has played an enormous role in history and continues to do so in our culture, I would find it hard to argue that religion has not place in progressive rock (or any other type of music, for that matter).

Whatever you think of religion, and despite the unfortunate trends in some religious sects to restrict musical expression, it cannot be denied that the Christian church through the ages has produced and patronized some of the greatest music ever composed.

What I don't like is the contemporary "Christian" music scene, which is largely mediocre and feeds off the prejudices and fears of those who regard all forms of "secular" music with suspicion.

I don't have much of a problem with Morse's lyrical content (that which I've heard, anyway); I simply think that he is a bad lyricist stylistically.  Granted, Sola Scriptura is the only one of his albums that I'm very familiar with (decided it wasn't my cup of tea and never listened to  much more of his output) but the lyrics on that album are simply atrocious.
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 Epignosis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 05 2014 at 16:37
There's no such thing as Christian music.  To say that there is would be like saying Christian math exists.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote akamaisondufromage Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 05 2014 at 16:40
^ is it?

I don't quite follow you?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Catcher10 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 05 2014 at 16:43
It has a place in all genres of music....good, bad or indifferent, religion is everywhere.

   

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Doctor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 05 2014 at 16:45
2 + 2 = praise Jesus!

But seriously, what would you call music whose lyrics are Christian-centered, like Neal Morse's?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Catcher10 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 05 2014 at 16:45
Originally posted by Epignosis Epignosis wrote:

There's no such thing as Christian music.  To say that there is would be like saying Christian math exists.



Maybe as a genre Christian music exists? But I agree with you, no such thing as Christian music.

   

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Catcher10 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 05 2014 at 16:48
Originally posted by The Doctor The Doctor wrote:

2 + 2 = praise Jesus!

But seriously, what would you call music whose lyrics are Christian-centered, like Neal Morse's?


Probably "religious inspired" music or "religious based" music.
?

   

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Epignosis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 05 2014 at 16:51
Originally posted by akamaisondufromage akamaisondufromage wrote:

^ is it?

I don't quite follow you?


Music is mathematical intervals.  There's nothing inherently religious about that.

If you're talking about lyrics, then people may articulate whatever they please, whether it's liked or not.  Religion is merely one subject of many.

I find it odd that Neal Morse gets so much flak for his lyrics.  As with most lyricists, he's had moments of brilliance, moments of mediocrity, and moments of awfulness.  That doesn't make him "preachy" (silly adjective).  If you want to call him "preachy," comment on his banter on the live albums.

I've never seen one person lose his mind over Jon Anderson's "If we were flowers, we would worship the sun.  So why not now?"  That's rather...invitational, isn't it?


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SteveG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 05 2014 at 16:54
^Christian Prog, anyone? Shocked

Edited by SteveG - August 05 2014 at 16:54
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote akamaisondufromage Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 05 2014 at 16:57
Originally posted by Epignosis Epignosis wrote:

Originally posted by akamaisondufromage akamaisondufromage wrote:

^ is it?

I don't quite follow you?


Music is mathematical intervals.  There's nothing inherently religious about that.

If you're talking about lyrics, then people may articulate whatever they please, whether it's liked or not.  Religion is merely one subject of many.

I find it odd that Neal Morse gets so much flak for his lyrics.  As with most lyricists, he's had moments of brilliance, moments of mediocrity, and moments of awfulness.  That doesn't make him "preachy" (silly adjective).  If you want to call him "preachy," comment on his banter on the live albums.

I've never seen one person lose his mind over Jon Anderson's "If we were flowers, we would worship the sun.  So why not now?"  That's rather...invitational, isn't it?




Music is not 'mathematical intervals'
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mon40 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 05 2014 at 16:58
I would say that I can't listen to Neal's albums anymore because of subject matter.  But there should be a place for it.  Like the pope says - who am i to judge?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Epignosis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 05 2014 at 16:59
Originally posted by The Doctor The Doctor wrote:

2 + 2 = praise Jesus!

But seriously, what would you call music whose lyrics are Christian-centered, like Neal Morse's?


Rock music.  Or country music.  Or rap music.  Or metal.  Or polka.  All of these genres have Christian lyricists.  "Christian" as an adjective for music just isn't useful when describing the music. 

I've seen Kerry Livgren's One of Several Possible Musiks labeled as "Christian."  Why?  It's instrumental.  Confused

I've never heard Rush being called "Objectivist Rock."  I've never heard Pink Floyd being called "Anti-Capitalist Rock."
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HackettFan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 05 2014 at 16:59
Originally posted by Ambient Hurricanes Ambient Hurricanes wrote:

Given that religion is a widely pervasive and important aspect of the
human experience, and that it has played an enormous role in history and
continues to do so in our culture, I would find it hard to argue that
religion has not place in progressive rock (or any other type of music,
for that matter).Whatever you think of religion, and despite the
unfortunate trends in some religious sects to restrict musical
expression, it cannot be denied that the Christian church through the
ages has produced and patronized some of the greatest music ever
composed.What I don't like is the contemporary
"Christian" music scene, which is largely mediocre and feeds off the
prejudices and fears of those who regard all forms of "secular" music
with suspicion.I don't have much of a problem with Morse's lyrical content (that which I've heard, anyway); I simply think that he is a bad lyricist stylistically.  Granted, Sola Scriptura is the only one of his albums that I'm very familiar with (decided it wasn't my cup of tea and never listened to  much more of his output) but the lyrics on that album are simply atrocious.
And you yourself are a Christian and a musician, if I recall. (Never tell a Prog musician what he can't do!)

For myself, I'm an atheist. I would tend to shy away from Christian themes, but not necessarily. One among my favorite albums is Aqualung. Aqualung targets un-Christian-like behavior from Christians, and does not use the music in an effort to convert, which is maybe why it doesn't bother me.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SteveG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 05 2014 at 17:28
It didn't take much to stir up this hornets nest, did it? I personally have no gripes with religiously themed lyrics (I don't belong to any religion) but if the composer has something of interest, a particular storyline involving religion, I actually don't mind. But Morse's preachy style does bother me. Conversely, a preachy album released some time ago by Midge Ure called Breathe did appeal to me as it mirrored his own faith vs.doubt struggle. I suppose that it's what appeals to you in the storyline that ultimately determines if you are ok  with religion in music, or not.

Edited by SteveG - August 05 2014 at 17:39
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Dark Elf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 05 2014 at 17:29
Originally posted by Epignosis Epignosis wrote:



Originally posted by The Doctor The Doctor wrote:

2 + 2 = praise Jesus!

But seriously, what would you call music whose lyrics are Christian-centered, like Neal Morse's?
Rock
music.  Or country music.  Or rap music.  Or metal.  Or polka.  All of
these genres have Christian lyricists.  "Christian" as an adjective for
music just isn't useful when describing the music.  I've seen Kerry Livgren's One of Several Possible Musiks labeled as "Christian."  Why?  It's instrumental.  ConfusedI've never heard Rush being called "Objectivist Rock."  I've never heard Pink Floyd being called "Anti-Capitalist Rock."

But just a moment, Epi. Aren't there "Christian artists" who, reviling supposedly secular values, eschew the general listener and market strictly to the Christian milieu, whether that be Christian metal, rap, country or whatever?

I love Phil Keaggy as much as the next atheist guitarist (referring to myself, of course), but let's not pretend separate genres do not exist like Santa Claus or the Easter bunny.

In fact, the selfsame Kerry Livgren ditched Kansas to play to Christian crowds, with Christian words and Christian themes. Keaggy also had instrumental albums categorized "Christian". Is that how they are marketed, or are you saying their albums are tossed, surreptitiously, into the Jesus bin?

Edited by The Dark Elf - August 05 2014 at 17:37
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Polymorphia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 05 2014 at 17:32
Originally posted by Epignosis Epignosis wrote:

Originally posted by akamaisondufromage akamaisondufromage wrote:

^ is it?

I don't quite follow you?


Music is mathematical intervals.  There's nothing inherently religious about that.

If you're talking about lyrics, then people may articulate whatever they please, whether it's liked or not.  Religion is merely one subject of many.

I find it odd that Neal Morse gets so much flak for his lyrics.  As with most lyricists, he's had moments of brilliance, moments of mediocrity, and moments of awfulness.  That doesn't make him "preachy" (silly adjective).  If you want to call him "preachy," comment on his banter on the live albums.

I've never seen one person lose his mind over Jon Anderson's "If we were flowers, we would worship the sun.  So why not now?"  That's rather...invitational, isn't it?


If you're responding to my use of the word "preachy," I'll clarify. The adjective "preachy" just points to an artists lack of ability to make listeners empathize with what they're saying, or, at least, that's how I use it. I don't really find Neal Morse's lyrics as preachy as others, but I still find them preachy, even agreeing with some of what he's saying. He just doesn't communicate it in a way that I empathize with, especially with the accompanying sci-fi elements of Transatlantic's aesthetic. Jon Anderson's appeal as a lyricist, for me, relies partly on the "mystic" aura of the lyrics and music. I find more fascination in his lyrics than truth, but I empathize with them more than Morse's, personally.
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