Friday, May 23, 2014

Seven quick prog rock tracks

Recently I confessed that I never share my favorite music with people.  I have such unusual taste, especially for someone my age, that I always assume people will think I'm weird.  But it's time to be brave and throw out a few of my favorites.  All progressive rock this time, which is what I grew up with.


I have tried and tried, but I can't pin down my favorite band.  Sometimes I feel like The Moody Blues, and sometimes I feel like Rush.  It's certainly one of those two.

Rush is a Canadian band, flourishing late 70's to present (they are still touring and making new music) which is characterized by amazing lyrics.  Yeah, the music is awesome too; I love their sound, but the lyrics (all written by the drummer, Neil Peart) are incredibly poetic and insightful.

This song is, according to my interpretation, about being highly sensitive ("all my nerves are naked wires, tender to the touch").  At any rate, when I hear the song I know exactly what he is talking about -- and yet, if you don't know what he's talking about, it's almost impossible to describe.  Have you ever been doing something unrelated and then had a memory so vivid, it's like you were reliving a moment from a long time ago?  It comes with not just the images, but all the same emotions of that other time.

Oh, shoot, I told you I can't describe it.  If the song doesn't hit a nerve, it's probably something that's never happened to you!


This is just about the saddest song I know.  I sang it over and over as a kid just to make myself sad.

Through autumn's golden gown we used to kick our way,
You always loved this time of year.
Those fallen leaves lie undisturbed now,
'Cause you're not here.

Gah.  Still works.  Sniff.

(Ugh, YouTube/Blogger are teaming up to be an enormous pill and not letting me embed it; you have to go to YouTube to watch it. Forever Autumn, by Asia.)

The Alan Parson's Project's first album was based off the works of Edgar Alan Poe.  This kind of tells you something about prog rock and the subjects it likes to treat.  Romance?  Maybe once in awhile.  Literature?  Absolutely.  Also philosophy and politics, when it suits them.

This song is creepy as heck, but that's not why I like it.  I like the intertwining vocals and the synthesizers.


Another Alan Parsons one.  I said once that this song was about religion, and my dad said "No, it's about faith."  But I still think I was right -- religion, defined (as it was by my religion teacher) as the attitudes of a person seeking relationship with God -- is exactly what this song is about.

And those who came at first to scoff remained behind to pray.


Another lovesick one.  My brother and I used to rewind this one over and over, just because the first ten seconds are so awesome.  For best results, set the volume to max.


Rush again.  This song was my anthem the summer before I left for college: "When I leave I don't know what I'm hoping to find, and when I leave I don't know what I'm leaving behind."


Oh, fine, more Rush. It's okay to admit they're my current favorite. I'd give you some Yes, but we all know you're not going to listen to a 25-minute track just on my say-so. (Tales From Topographic Oceans is my favorite.) The video is pretty dated, but I really like it anyway. It doesn't come with lyrics, so if you can't make them out (Rush lends itself to misheard lyrics) you can read the lyrics here because they are awesome per usual.

More quick takes at Conversion Diary.


Enbrethiliel said...


The music you love is so different from any of the music I'm familiar with that I'm still learning the language of these songs! I put them on to be "white noise" as I worked on the PC, and I liked the sound of them, but I don't really know enough to leave meaningful comments. At the moment, Forever Autumn is probably my favourite. It reminds me of lazy summer (!) days listening to the folksier records of a local classic rock station.

Sheila said...

Yes, the sound of prog rock is very different from just about anything else. The rules are different, too. I think that's why it's not more popular, even while people who do like it are just crazy about it. There's a learning curve.

Moody Blues is much folksier and less urban than Rush. I have moods when I can't stand to listen to Rush and only want to listen to Moody Blues. They're very soulful.

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