Got Real Prog If You Want It. Now Get Off My Back!!
From the web site progrockandmetal.net:
In each and everyday musical conversational exchanges, the mention of the term “progressive rock” or “progressive metal” will result in blank stares that generally lead to the question, “What is progressive music?”. For clarity, I will use the commonly used shortcut term of “prog” to represent the progressive rock and progressive metal genre here. Newcomers to the genre seem to frequently ask this question in prog discussions. More so, each person seems to either add more or less to the definition. I’m not going to write a book here because there is a plethora of prog definitions out there on the internet. I just want to emphasize the basic properties of prog music as my foundation for my hobby here on PRM.
As Matthew Rink suggests, way too much emphasis is placed on the idea that the “progressive” adjective suggests, or even requires, that the genre’s music be some sort of ever-evolving entity. “Progressive” is merely a descriptive term by which to classify music with certain qualities, not an instruction that obligates the music to a strict sense of development. All genres of music can have progressive characteristics, but I focus primarily on rock/metal.
The ‘progressive properties’, generally speaking, of prog rock are the following: Longer than average songs (EPICS); frequent time changes (odd time signatures); more complex, sophisticated instrumentation and compositions; superior vocals (E’s Note: This is the first real subjective/stupid element and one I’ll be discounting); more complex conceptual ideas.
A while back I published a 5 part post on what I considered to be the 50 best progressive albums in my collection. My definition of ‘prog’ still remains much more open than the one above and the term worldwide is becoming a little more relaxed and broad. The prog rock giants of the late ‘60’s/early-mid ‘70’s were not labeled as such back when they were active, right? They were maybe labeled ‘psychedelic’, or experimental, but not a “Prog Rock Band”. At any rate, at some time, and I would suspect it occurred when this type of music went underground (1976-1978?), the actual genre of Progressive Rock was born.
Now I could be full of shit, ‘cause y’all know I’m wingin’ it here. I am neither a student nor a rabid fanatic of this genre. I enjoy a lot of it, but I’m not going to go out and buy every Spock’s Beard or Gentle Giant album I can find, dyouknowwhatImean? So there’s an interest there, yes, but in no way shape or form do I purport to be an expert…at least not in the…ahem…classical sense. I qualify this because when I published that Top 50 list I was bombarded with personal emails lambasting me for including bands that were, in the words of one particularly opinionated gent, “an unwanted aborted side effect to the real progressive bands that should have never been anywhere near the true and META GENRE that was, and shall always remain, true Prog Rock!!” Really, a lot of these prog fans are serious! They don’t want any band they consider part of a made up sub-genre, such as “Crossover Prog”, drinking from the TRUE Prog Rock drinking fountain or using the same restrooms as true Classic Prog Rock bands. Rock racism is alive and well in the wonderful land of Prog Fandom, my friends.
I’ll do it again, but let me say that my original definition still stands and I’m only doing this to satisfy you prog nuts out there and to tell you, once and for all, TO GET OFF MY BACK AND STOP SENDING ME YOUR EMAILS!!!!!!!!!!! Here, take it, I submit! Here’s your damn PURE prog list! There still will not be any Tull, Gentle Giant or Spock’s Beard, though, PAL, because I don’t like ‘em! And hey, that said, I’m open to suggestions! Tell me who you think I should be listening to. I’m open! Kind of. Do me a solid, though, and quit threatening to chop me in two with your trusty elfin blade Sting or blind me by tossing your 20 sided dice at mine eyes. And, above all else true prog fans, lighten up, willya?
Uncle E’s Top 10 TRUE Progressive Rock Albums (because it’s all I know…). In no particular order: