22 November 2016

The Pleasures and Sorrows of Prog I

Click here for part II!

Nothing says "forever alone" than loving an unpopular music genre, be it post punk, deathrock or some weird techno subgenre. This post is dedicated to one of my biggest music loves - progressive rock.
But to make matters more interesting and exciting, I have decided to  e l a b o r a t e  on how it feels to like prog whilst being a part of a certain subculture, in this case - the goth/alternative subculture. In other words - I am going to complain passionately and discuss my favorite music. But worry not, as the following post will be a lot more fun.

As you may already know through countless mentions of bands and songs on this blog, progressive rock is one of my favorite genres, and some of my favorite albums and songs are prog. My favorite band, Opeth, are prog (more prog metal, if you don't count the latest albums): I have been listening to prog metal and 70s prog rock as a teenager with my group of friends during middle and high school and I've been listening to Mars Volta religiously in the past couple of years.

The most frustrating thing about liking different music genres whilst hanging out (or assigning oneself) in a certain subculture is finding people with mutual musical interests. Except for one friend (and now 1 more, who is being converted to like prog!) I know virtually no one who likes post punk and progressive rock (except for Boris of course). I don't know any metal people, so maybe liking progressive metal is more common in the metal scene, but there is a limited amount of progressive metal I can stomach in the first place, not to mention goths are focused solely on the 80s and beyond and not so much on 70s.

The Cure in the 80s
Pink Floyd in the 70s

Plus there's the fear (and sadly I have made the experience as well) of being judged for liking a certain music genre that goes outside of the "goth box" - fuck you for making a face when I say I like metal music, or classic rock. People focus on the image you convey with your style or when you visit goth parties they think you like only goth music. If I'd liked only goth music I'd be literally dead by now, and not in the cute romantic goth way.
Plus I feel that when people in the goth subculture like heavier music they need to hide it or make it come across as "guilty pleasure music". Fuck that too - my love for Genesis is stronger than your love for Winklepickers, ok? Also I see no harm in wearing fishnets or whatever and listening to prog. Have you seen how dark and theatrical Peter Gabriel looked like in his heyday on stage!?! No, because you have been blankly staring at your drum machine, making cheap disco music with one button.
And speaking of drum machines, and more specifically - synthesizers - I have been loathing minimal synth music and telling everyone all about it, but simply because the sky is literally the fucking limit when it comes to what you can do on the synthesizer in progressive rock. And I am not talking about insane Keith Emerson solos (some people can't calm the fuck down), I am talking about beautiful atmospheric sounds that can convey not only emotion but also tension in a very good composed song (aka Pink Floyd).

Peter Gabriel of Genesis

I am not saying everyone in the goth subculture are discriminating against people with different musical preferences, but I am saying they're more accepting towards musical genres that have more to do with goth, which makes 100% sense, but we don't all enjoy punk bands out there, and should I really elaborate on why some of the most famous and notable rock bands of all time are prog bands?

Perhaps I love prog so much because I spent my entire childhood and teenage years listening to classical music - my mom would put cds on and play the piano, and from age 10 I began playing the recorder and studying baroque and classical music, and that has turned my musical perception and understanding of it completely around.
And it all comes down to prog rock fans, who are generally huge music nerds who either have something to do with music theory or classical music, hence making them incredibly snobbish.
Oh, I have been that route alright - knowing music theory, analyzing the songs, thinking I was the only person around me who really understood where the best music was at.
Progressive rock provided me what no other rock music did - complex rhythms and beautiful harmonies and musicians with incredible skill to look up to, without them having to wear a suit and tie in a "high society" philharmonic orchestra.

Funny enough, prog wasn't the candidate to replace classical music for me, as that demanded something a lot more heavier in the simple and minimalist sense of the word - aka punk 77, post punk, dark electro and other metal genres, which I still proudly love.

Flip it around and you have prog people who hate on 4/4 time signatures, worship the fastest drummers/guitarists and look down upon popular music and the people who listen to it. That's pretty much how a lot of classical music people I studied with back in the day were acting, and that wasn't cute either.

John Petrucci & Jordan Rudess of Dream Theater

As my friend (the one who's being converted) said: "goth is lazy music", in the sense that once you listen to progressive subgenres like prog metal, post hardcore or mathcore, minimalist music that's being made with 1 synthesizer with the excuse of singing about "heavy" themes and dressing like (allegedly) no one else does, gives the impression like the people who're making it are investing no effort at all into the composition and diversity of the music, which if you ask me, can very well be achieved with 1 synthesizer. The question is, are you riding on the same wave as the bands before you or are you truly giving a though to create something unique? That is the one thing I don't get about the various wave genres, which are very interesting and unique genres.

The different aspects of what makes music to be "good music" is as subjective as anything in life itself, so I might as well end this post on the following note:
I like different music genres, there's no going around it for me, and there's no way in hell I can ever be satisfied with one music genre for the rest of my life. A kind of musicgenreamory, if you will. 
And I hate being judged for one of the things I take a certain amount of pride in: When questioned about why I like a certain genre, is for me the equivalent of being questioned about my identity, about who I am, as if I need to validate something about my individuality. 
Fuck those people. they don't know what they're talking about, and I said it before and will continue saying it again: don't let a certain stream, be it music, literature, fashion etc. dictate your entire life and put you in a box. 
And who will put you in a box exactly? Firstly, you yourself, but also the people you hang out with. Fuck those people, they are missing out on so many musically various adventures they will die of boredom in the court of the crimson king.

the most beautiful thing you'll heard today: The Mars Volta performing Asilos Magdalena

For more subculture related posts, click here.



  1. I love heavy music too! There's probably more crossover than people want to admit. I'm so beyond music being a defining part of who I am. No one would probably think I listen to indie surf music all damn day lol. I change it up with medieval death metal and belly dance music. Totally random. People are missing out on so much if they only limit themselves to one genre. Lol though I am a total hypocrite....I never gave progressive rock a chance because it was super popular.

    1. Popular!? Since when? Maybe in the beginning of 00s when prog metal was popular, but it's been quiet ever since.
      I totally let music define me, it kind of fells natural, and I am happy I can define myself with different music genres.

    2. Pink Floyd was what every stoner kid in high school listened to. Every kid in college had posters in their dorms. But the other bands lol no i guess you're right, just music geeks listened to them.

    3. I guess Pink Floyd is the more popular band, most of their stuff are not what most music geeks would call progressive, but they are!