It seems that most non-mainstream artist at some point get so fed up about the music industry’s attempts to stifle creativity in exchange for profit, that they get inspired to write songs pointing the wrong doings of the corporations. I am not only talking about “poor” guys like George Michael (can’t believe I dare mention him here on this site) who could not change record label and wrote a song whining about “Freedoom….Freedoom ….You gotta give be4 u takeee” but also artists who are “persuaded” into performing a specific kind of music.
Thankfully there exist some labels that specialize in prog and other minority genres, so everything is not hopeless although only the most recognized (counted in album sales) band have a chance to move on to a bigger label and distribution channels.
Anyway, I thought it would be interesting to find out what prog artists have "done a Georg Michael” and let out some steam through their lyrics. On the top of my head I can think of the following:
Spocks beard – V - The Great Nothing
Explorers Club – Age of Impact - (whole album)
Rush - Permanent Waves – The Spirit Of Radio
…but I am sure there are many more.
I think what the most prog fans abhor in pop is the repetitiveness. MAVIII said it nicely in his last post :
“…base their rhythms from another song that was sampled, and then add some annoying FX sample and have it in the song over and over to create a beat or somekind of "cool" factor. And great! The chorus is pretty much the entire song, repeated over and over and over and over and over…”
Unfortunately this kind of stuff sell by the millions, so that is what the big labels strive to achieve in as many bands and genres as possible. To be fair, the labels are not all to blame since consumers happily buy what they offer. On the other hand, if the same labels had a bigger hand in exposing the non-mainstream, I am sure that many would break away from their current listening habits.
[hippie & futureman (chorus)]
A secret yearning lurks inside
like a dream trying to hide
another time, another space
an empty feeling haunts my brain
a strange void I can't explain
another time, another space
“Another Time, Another Space” by Ayreon on the album “Into The Electric Castle”
I have always believed that many people don’t know what they like. They just don’t know what treasures are out there until someone helps them to make the discovery. That is how I developed my own taste in music. I was listening to pop until someone showed me the hidden chest, turned the key and opened a completely new world.
To get back to the subject about repetitiveness...what really annoys me these days are the “successful” attempts to turn rock into pop. It’s not a new trend, but it is bigger business than ever. To describe what I mean...take this band, I don’t even remember their name, but they have a nice chorus line going something like this: “I will find something more of what I had before. Shame on you baby…forever your’s”. The band (or label) must have really liked that one since they repeat it a gazillion times. The style they play is rock, but their performance is pure pop. Their music is like candy, it tastes good for awhile, but when you don’t stop eating it’s going to make you puke.
Another example of rock turning pop is “Nickelback”. I my book they are the archetype of this phenomenon. There was an interesting article some time ago about how they, in their attempt to be creatively lazy, plagiarized themselves: Follow this link to read about it.
Even the harder rock is going the same direction. Just take a band like “Linkin park”. Have you ever felt that they lacked creativity? Well maybe they do, just look the following images:
Alright…enough rants from me this time. Now I will go and listen to some real music and soon I will have forgotten all about pop....