Author Topic: Why is prog rock called pretentious music by many people?  (Read 979 times)

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Online Kattelox

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Re: Why is prog rock called pretentious music by many people?
« Reply #35 on: June 14, 2018, 09:47:06 AM »
I agree to an extent with Lethean but I 150% agree with Dave there.

Even as a fan of prog and 'artistic' genres that go a bit deeper than say ACDC, I have no problem calling out pretentious bullshit if it's there (see Tool).
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Online Lethean

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Re: Why is prog rock called pretentious music by many people?
« Reply #36 on: June 14, 2018, 10:05:17 AM »
I don't think I actually agree with Dave that much, but can't say for sure because I'm really not very familiar with the lyrics of most of the bands that he cited.  However, I certainly believe that there are lyrics that are more thought provoking than others.  Are these lyrics going to bring about world peace and profound enlightenment?  No.  But it doesn't mean that some lyrics aren't "deeper" or more interesting than others.  And to me there's nothing pretentious about trying to create something that might be more interesting than Brittney Spears' lyrics, for those who might appreciate something like that.  Doesn't mean there's anything wrong with liking songs with lyrics such as Spears', however.

Offline Stadler

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Re: Why is prog rock called pretentious music by many people?
« Reply #37 on: June 14, 2018, 10:25:00 AM »
I don't think I actually agree with Dave that much, but can't say for sure because I'm really not very familiar with the lyrics of most of the bands that he cited.  However, I certainly believe that there are lyrics that are more thought provoking than others.  Are these lyrics going to bring about world peace and profound enlightenment?  No.  But it doesn't mean that some lyrics aren't "deeper" or more interesting than others.  And to me there's nothing pretentious about trying to create something that might be more interesting than Brittney Spears' lyrics, for those who might appreciate something like that.  Doesn't mean there's anything wrong with liking songs with lyrics such as Spears', however.

But Lethean look at the words you're using.  "Interesting".   "Thought provoking".   Honestly - and no hyperbole or devil's advocate - I think Dave Roth's lyrics on "A Different Kind Of Truth" are some of the most interesting and thought-provoking of the last couple years.   Certainly more - to me, anyway - than, say: 

I said I'm geeked and I’m fired up (fired, fire)
All I want tonight is just get high (high, high, high)
Girl, you look so good, it's to die for (die for)
Ooh, that pussy good, it's to die for (on fire)

That's what won the Nobel Prize for literature.   All those words you're saying are in the eye of the beholder.  So it still leaves the question as to why SOME feel that oblique (or not so obligue) references to world politics is somehow more "interesting" or "thought provoking" than interpersonal relationships, which is essentially what Britney et al are singing about.   

I think what Dave is saying - at least in part - is that the pretention isn't in the words themselves, it's in thinking that their words ARE more interesting and though provoking, simply because they deign to touch broader concepts. 

Online Lethean

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Re: Why is prog rock called pretentious music by many people?
« Reply #38 on: June 14, 2018, 10:35:32 AM »
Yes, it is in the eye of the beholder.  But I never said that lyrics dealing with relationships can't be either interesting or thought provoking.  They certainly can. As for the lyrics you quoted, assuming they're lyrics, I'm not really sure what your point is.  That I should find them interesting because they won a prize?

Offline Stadler

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Re: Why is prog rock called pretentious music by many people?
« Reply #39 on: June 14, 2018, 02:26:39 PM »
Yes, it is in the eye of the beholder.  But I never said that lyrics dealing with relationships can't be either interesting or thought provoking.  They certainly can. As for the lyrics you quoted, assuming they're lyrics, I'm not really sure what your point is.  That I should find them interesting because they won a prize?

No, that what is interesting is purely subjective, and sort of makes a tautology when discussing what makes something "pretentious" or not.

Online Kattelox

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Re: Why is prog rock called pretentious music by many people?
« Reply #40 on: June 15, 2018, 10:05:44 AM »
Here's something interesting from Dave Mustaine that made me think of this thread...

https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/news/general_music_news/dave_mustaine_when_a_song_is_longer_than_4_minutes_i_tend_to_kind_of_lose_the_plot.html

Quote
"Believe it or not, I was probably more influenced by Malcolm than I was by Angus. I liked Angus's solos a lot, but the rhythm of AC/DC was what did it for me, because there was a hook to it. A very simplistic hook.

"I think that's what's suffering with music nowadays - people are trying to be so fucking cerebral with their music, and a guy that played music with us at one point came up to me and goes, Hey, 'I've got a new riff,' and I was listening to it and it was awful. I said, 'What is it?' He said, 'Well, it's Megadeth in Morse code. I was like, *puts head in hands*...

Obviously, he isn't specifically speaking about prog music at all, but music in general, and I have to agree with him, particularly the bolded part. It's especially prevalent in prog metal, hence the relevance to this thread. Everyone with some recording technology and an instrument in the prog world seems to have some awesome far out conceptual piece of music they want to release to the world but a lot of it isn't cohesive or it's just plain fucking boring in the name of being artsy fartsy prog and I think that's where the pretentiousness accusations come from. "This song is in 16/9 played with an 8-string guitar with fanned frets and a touchscreen, and it's about the angels that live on the moon and watched sadly over us humans killing each other on Earth while the Sun shines benevolently in the distance (which is the 8-minute noise outro named Echoes of A Forgotten Past, Pt. VII: Journey To The Center of Creation (Reprise))"

Sorry, was ranting about certain bands with a friend earlier, still blowing off that steam  :lol
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Online Lethean

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Re: Why is prog rock called pretentious music by many people?
« Reply #41 on: June 15, 2018, 02:03:22 PM »
Yes, it is in the eye of the beholder.  But I never said that lyrics dealing with relationships can't be either interesting or thought provoking.  They certainly can. As for the lyrics you quoted, assuming they're lyrics, I'm not really sure what your point is.  That I should find them interesting because they won a prize?

No, that what is interesting is purely subjective, and sort of makes a tautology when discussing what makes something "pretentious" or not.

I agree that it's subjective.  What resonates with one person may not with another.  However, I don't think it's pretentious for artists to try to write lyrics that they think will be more interesting, and I don't think it's pretentious of listeners to appreciate said lyrics.  Perhaps it's pretentious if the artist or listener goes around proclaiming that they are better than everyone else as a result (though that isn't really the word I'd use; I'd probably go with arrogant).  But just as I might find that behavior arrogant, I also find those who proclaim a band, album, or entire genre to be pretentious are arrogant in their own way, and can be dismissive and just plain rude. 

Offline Stadler

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Re: Why is prog rock called pretentious music by many people?
« Reply #42 on: June 15, 2018, 02:29:52 PM »
Yes, it is in the eye of the beholder.  But I never said that lyrics dealing with relationships can't be either interesting or thought provoking.  They certainly can. As for the lyrics you quoted, assuming they're lyrics, I'm not really sure what your point is.  That I should find them interesting because they won a prize?

No, that what is interesting is purely subjective, and sort of makes a tautology when discussing what makes something "pretentious" or not.

I agree that it's subjective.  What resonates with one person may not with another.  However, I don't think it's pretentious for artists to try to write lyrics that they think will be more interesting, and I don't think it's pretentious of listeners to appreciate said lyrics.  Perhaps it's pretentious if the artist or listener goes around proclaiming that they are better than everyone else as a result (though that isn't really the word I'd use; I'd probably go with arrogant).  But just as I might find that behavior arrogant, I also find those who proclaim a band, album, or entire genre to be pretentious are arrogant in their own way, and can be dismissive and just plain rude.

I'm not sure I agree with the last sentence, but on the rest we're on board.  In fact, I LIKE when bands try to achieve something with their music.  I kind of don't like the nonsense stuff, like you used to get with the New Wave bands.   WHat I'm talking about is the Steven Wilson nonsense, where the PRESENTATION is presumed to be superior.    Okay, sure, a song about suicide has more gravitas than a song about... masturbation (for some reason "I Touch Myself" by the Divinyls came to mind) but that's not what I'm talking about.  It's when the artist or the fan now assumes that the entire package has more gravitas because of the subject matter.   For me, music is about one thing:  EMOTION.   Some people are emotionally touched by complex prog piece in multiple time signatures, and for whatever reason, some people are emotionally touched by... Demi Lovato.  I don't think there is any relative worth in one "touch" over the other.  If a piece of music communicates, it communicates. 

Online Lethean

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Re: Why is prog rock called pretentious music by many people?
« Reply #43 on: June 15, 2018, 02:41:53 PM »
Yes, it is in the eye of the beholder.  But I never said that lyrics dealing with relationships can't be either interesting or thought provoking.  They certainly can. As for the lyrics you quoted, assuming they're lyrics, I'm not really sure what your point is.  That I should find them interesting because they won a prize?

No, that what is interesting is purely subjective, and sort of makes a tautology when discussing what makes something "pretentious" or not.

I agree that it's subjective.  What resonates with one person may not with another.  However, I don't think it's pretentious for artists to try to write lyrics that they think will be more interesting, and I don't think it's pretentious of listeners to appreciate said lyrics.  Perhaps it's pretentious if the artist or listener goes around proclaiming that they are better than everyone else as a result (though that isn't really the word I'd use; I'd probably go with arrogant).  But just as I might find that behavior arrogant, I also find those who proclaim a band, album, or entire genre to be pretentious are arrogant in their own way, and can be dismissive and just plain rude.

I'm not sure I agree with the last sentence, but on the rest we're on board.  In fact, I LIKE when bands try to achieve something with their music.  I kind of don't like the nonsense stuff, like you used to get with the New Wave bands.   WHat I'm talking about is the Steven Wilson nonsense, where the PRESENTATION is presumed to be superior.    Okay, sure, a song about suicide has more gravitas than a song about... masturbation (for some reason "I Touch Myself" by the Divinyls came to mind) but that's not what I'm talking about.  It's when the artist or the fan now assumes that the entire package has more gravitas because of the subject matter.   For me, music is about one thing:  EMOTION.   Some people are emotionally touched by complex prog piece in multiple time signatures, and for whatever reason, some people are emotionally touched by... Demi Lovato.  I don't think there is any relative worth in one "touch" over the other.  If a piece of music communicates, it communicates.

Now we're on the same page.  For me it's completely about emotion as well.  To your specific example, I just don't know enough about Steven Wilson to say if it's nonsense or not, so I won't comment on his attitude, but I haven't really had problems with any of his fans.  I'm sure he has fans with the attitude you describe, but it hasn't been my experience fortunately.

Offline Ninjabait

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Re: Why is prog rock called pretentious music by many people?
« Reply #44 on: June 15, 2018, 02:57:44 PM »
I think it's also important to remind ourselves that pretentious =/= bad. I think a lot of prog is totally pretentious in certain ways, but I still love it. Yes's lyrics are totally bonkers, but the music more than makes up for it for me. I find Tool's presentation to be a bit hair pretentious at times (not having official lyrics, not putting their music online, etc.) but I still dig their songs. Not to beat a dead horse, but it really is all about emotion.

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Re: Why is prog rock called pretentious music by many people?
« Reply #45 on: June 15, 2018, 03:01:27 PM »
Sharing because it's the ultimate in 'what the hell' descriptions of prog music and hopefully it brings a laugh or two because even though it's from my favorite composer it is pretentious as all get out. Torch your bowls before reading:

Quote
PROMETHEUS IN DEPTH: NOVA GENESIS

“The NOVA related phenomenon is something that always fascinated me”, says Luca Turilli. And adds: “in the intro of the new PROMETHEUS album, entitled NOVA GENESIS, I related the spectacular sudden brightening following the nuclear explosions on a white-dwarf in a binary star system, with the spiritual evolution of a human form of life in the perspective of the latest holographic theories related with the quantum entanglement. In reality it is not the scientific aspect that is particularly interesting to me, as theories can change and be replaced by new ones in a short time. What is really interesting to me is the convergence of mind and spirit into a new scientific perspective that, partially revisiting the method used by the scientists until now, will be finally able to close the circle between the fundamental spiritual truths revealed by the ancient traditions thousands of years ago and the work of a new generation of open minded scientists that, thanks to their soul inspired work, will establish the coordinates of the new science of the future”

That's for a 2 minute intro track with no vocals, just movie-voiceover-guy narration.
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"No Christ, God, nor religion gave me the answers I was looking for" - Timo Tolkki