This post has been sitting on the back burner for over three months.
I will sometimes have an idea for a post but am not sure if I want to do something with it or what I want to do with it. Well…the time has arrived for this post – and the reason will become clear shortly.
The Whitest Music Ever: Prog rock was audacious, innovative—and awful. So says James Parker at The Atlantic. Well, he might be right in what he says in the title, but right off the bat I don’t like this guy:
The trapped, eunuch ferocity of Geddy Lee’s voice, squealing inside the nonsense clockwork of Rush, disturbs me.
He is both overtly mocking Geddy Lee and covertly mocking what I consider to be Rush’s best album ever, Clockwork Angels. Better that this guy advocated nuclear war with Russia or something.
And from whence comes the title of this piece?
“We’re a European group,” declared the lead singer of proto-proggers The Nice in 1969, “so we’re improvising on European structures … We’re not American Negros, so we can’t really improvise and feel the way they can.” Indeed. Thus did [progressive rock] divorce itself from the blues, take flight into the neoclassical, and become the whitest music ever.
The whitest music ever? I think “King Tut” by Steve Martin is the slam dunk winner.
But, let’s go with progressive rock, as is suggested by Mr. Parker. No matter your preference or disdain for progressive rock, I believe we could agree that it is, perhaps, the most complicated music of this (and maybe many) generation(s).
Multiple time signature changes; complex chords and structures; lyrics that seem to have no rhythm when read, flow beautifully when sung to the music, etc. It takes…