prog-by-numbers

Wow, what a resource. I just found progressiverock.com; a massive timeline of Prog, from 1967’s proto-prog Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, all the way through Pink Floyd’s bloated radio-rock opus The Wall, featuring reviews of pretty much every major prog-rock and krautrock album in between. There are reviews of major works – The Yes […]

Wow, what a resource.

I just found progressiverock.com; a massive timeline of Prog, from 1967’s proto-prog Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, all the way through Pink Floyd’s bloated radio-rock opus The Wall, featuring reviews of pretty much every major prog-rock and krautrock album in between.

There are reviews of major works – The Yes Album, Thick As A Brick, Brain Salad Surgery, Trick of the Tail; but also of minor but important acts like Jade Warrior, Premiata Forneria Marconi, Camel, Gentle Giant, etc.

This is a work of major geekery, arranged in cronological order. And importantly, while the dude who wrote all this is a fan-boy, he generally gets it, nailing both why the particularly great albums work, and why the over-rated ones (like The Wall) are not all they’re cracked up to be.

It’s an impressive piece of work; and for stoner prog-heads like me, it’s like a personal, bong-hit-and-black-light history of my teenage years.

Wow, man.

4 thoughts on “prog-by-numbers”

  1. Wow. I haven’t thought about those records in years. But I still have them. Maybe I’ll have to go dust off “Tarkus” again just to see how it sounds now 35 years later.

  2. Checked out that site and it is very entertaining, bit before my time, but how can you call “The Wall” over-rated? Perhaps it is a bit to personal from Waters, the gloomiest man in rock and maybe some aspects are UK centric but if you can appreciate krautrock then this should be accessible. Anyway Led Zeppelin, The Who and The Stones owned the 70’s!

  3. Toni-

    Why is The Wall over-rated? Well, the guy at progressiverock.com nails it pretty well, but for my point of view:

    While there’s no question there are great songs on the record (Comfortably numb being the tru stand-out), it suffers all the downfalls of double-disk-concept-album-itis; that is, it’s too long (filler), it’s too focused on the theme (with all the awkwardness of telling a story with rock songs) and too little on the music, and worst of all, it’s produced by Bob Ezrin. While he seemed like the greatest producer ever in the seventies, and in truth has produced some great records (billion dollar babies, destroyer, peter gabriel I, etc), when it comes to pink floyd, he added too much production to an album that was already faltering under it’s own leaden, dramatic weight. Songs like ‘another brick in the wall’, which are good songs wind up silly and annoying with the chorus of a billion school-kids and the spoken words.

    Compare this to Animals, pink floyd’s best album and The Wall’s predecessor, which was produced by the band, and you’ll see the difference; sonically stripped down, with added sounds a bacground accent, not a major component. Animals is a brilliant, frightening, nightmarish flow, one song into the next; you can’t stop it, you can’t play one track, and you feel drained when it’s over. The Wall, you’re not drained, you’re just tired of it.

    The Wall was clearly Roger Waters trying to make the definitive syd barret statement; but alas, he’d already made that with Wish You Were Here, and he was repeating himself for much of the album. Waters was also clearly working on what is better called the first Roger Waters solo album; Gilmour was marginalized, Wright was fired, and Mason was largely irrelevant (in fact I think a lot of the album was played by studio guys). If you call it Waters solo album, it stands an an impressive piece of work without question; it’s a huge record, it’s an intensely personal statement, it has a couple of brilliant songs on it, and it made a vast pile of money.

    However, lined up with Floyd greats like Animals, Wish you were Here, Dark Side of the Moon, or Medle, it’s just not as good a finished product; even compared to gems like Valley Obscured by Clouds or the Syd Barret classic Piper at the Gates of Dawn, it’s not a cohesive Pink Floyd album, it’s a Roger Waters album; a different animal entirely.

    I am and was a huge Pink Floyd fan; Animals remains in my best albums ever made list to this day; but even when it came out, I listed to The Wall over and over and always had the feeling something was missing. It’s an example of the records that are considered ‘great’ based on sales numbers, not based on artistic importance within the artists’ catalog.

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