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Thread: Prog Songwriting: Where are the hooks?

  1. #126
    Quote Originally Posted by Jay.Dee View Post
    How about the stuff written by Steven Wilson, Neil Morse, Roine Stolt or Daniel Gildenlöw? They seem to know how to write a catchy song. Perhaps not for the modern (pop) audience, but definitely for those who'd want something retro...
    I seem to remember initially remarking that TFK was among the bands that did seem to know how to write melodies that stick with a person even after one listen. IQ was another example I used but those two weren't the only ones. Morse has written memorable stuff over the years although recently there has been a sameness to it. Stephen Wilson wore on me after mid-period PT and I haven't heard enough Pain of Salvation to make a judgment - although what I've heard seems tuneful.

    Addendum: Is there a mute feature on here so that I can spare myself the meandering word-salads of self-declared musical geniuses? They remind me of that person I would see on TV - Sebastian Gorka - who would put on a fake Hungarian-ish accent and demand people call him "Doctor". I do admire good insult comics as well as people who have a persona that is performance art. However, it takes skill to not simply be the obnoxious jerk who thinks he's smart when he's simply a puffed up nerd who doesn't know his place.
    Last edited by Splicer; 04-15-2019 at 06:07 AM.
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  2. #127
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jacob Holm-Lupo View Post
    I like hooks, and I think they have a place in prog. Carry On My Wayward Son is just one long procession of hooks, and bands like Gentle Giant and Jethro Tull were also quite hook-oriented. .........
    They certainly were.. (some of my all time favorities that are off the bunch of immortal hooks created by these three great Prog bands) :






  3. #128
    Thanks for embedding those 3 obscure examples of hooky progressive music. All 3 are quite good for a first time listen. Now let me scroll for ages to see what was going on underneath.

  4. #129
    Member Jay.Dee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juba View Post
    However, the majority of fans agree that there are less hooks in contemporary Prog than it was the case back in the day (this is neither the first nor the last discussion on this topic and always the majority of the forumists say so) and also that contemporary songwriters, although indeed interesting sometimes, aren't even close to the great Prog songwriters from the Seventies
    I really do not know. I think that you may exaggerate here on the quality of prog songwriting in the 70s. That Fantasy example you pasted a few pages back does not sound to me all that great; I could easily find many modern prog songs that would have more memorable hooks to these ears, and I am not a big fan of hooks (or mainstream prog).

    After all, how many Top 5 hits did the big prog bands have in the 70s? Or how many 70s prog songs entered a common songbook/repertory that artists of other genres, rock or otherwise, would cover?

  5. #130
    Member moecurlythanu's Avatar
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    This thread is tottering on the precipice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay.Dee View Post
    I really do not know. I think that you may exaggerate here on the quality of prog songwriting in the 70s. That Fantasy example you pasted a few pages back does not sound to me all that great; I could easily find many modern prog songs that would have more memorable hooks to these ears, and I am not a big fan of hooks (or mainstream prog).
    I don't exaggerate anything; I think that there aren't that much memorable hooks in contemporary Prog like it use to be in the Golden Era and hence I'm wondering why there are less of them at the present day.





    Fantasy's 'Paint A Picture' is a great album if nothing else due to magnificent vocals of Paul Lawrence who sung it in the best tradition of great English prog-singers from the Seventies. Pleasant & mythological sounding 12-string acoustic guitars, Mellotron and Hammond organ driven instrumental parts, that's exactly what the prog-heads love. And if one day Steve Wilson will give his remarkable remastering work to the album, as he did it with much better known albums released also in 1973 (and yeah, the albums like LTiA, SEbtP, TfTO, DSotM, 'Tubular Bells' etc surely were "guilty" that 'Paint A Picture' have been overlooked when it was released in the same year), it would make the justice to Fantasy's debut.

    After all, how many Top 5 hits did the big prog bands have in the 70s? Or how many 70s prog songs entered a common songbook/repertory that artists of other genres, rock or otherwise, would cover?
    None I guess, 'cause prog-hooks were / are something else.

  7. #132
    Quote Originally Posted by Juba View Post
    I think that there aren't that much memorable hooks in contemporary Prog like it use to be in the Golden Era and hence I'm wondering why there are less of them at the present day.
    Svetonio, you also seem to think certain other things. For instance how you weren't actually expelled from this discussion forum. Others apparently may even think that they disagree with you quite fundamentally on issues, but the contents of what they think are probably something that you think to be wrong. That's why they used to call progressive rock "thinking man's pop music"; because its discourse was so packed with intelligence and knowledge - as clearly demonstrated in this very thread, I think.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  8. #133
    I’ll throw my hat into this shark pool of a hornet’s nest.

    I’m actually somewhat partial to the sentiment of the OP.

    There are fewer ‘good hooks’ under the prog banner these days. But notice that the OP wrote, ‘SONGwriting’. If the emphasis is upon producing ‘songs’ rather than ‘pieces’ ‘tracks’ or ‘compositions’ we might naturally be more inclined to expect a good hook. But the more one drifts away from producing ‘songs’, the more central features such as timbres and textures become, which is the charm of most avant-prog. Hooks are not really the point in many, if not most, categories covered here in PE.

    But wait... there’s more...

    When the big name proggers started out there was no prog template or blueprint to conform to. Thus, they focused upon writing ‘tunes’ that had a bit more depth and complexity than standard pop/rock, but were ‘tunes’ nonetheless. They were not cognizant of a prog motif.
    Current bands who are consciously waving the classic prog banner, however, are starting from a template — it’s a case of mannerism/formalism first and foremost, thus nice hooks are not a priority. Sounding ‘Prog’ is.

    My 2 yen.
    Last edited by Teddy Vengeance; 04-15-2019 at 10:43 AM.

  9. #134
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    Svetonio, you also seem to think certain other things. For instance how you weren't actually expelled from this discussion forum. Others apparently may even think that they disagree with you quite fundamentally on issues, but the contents of what they think are probably something that you think to be wrong. That's why they used to call progressive rock "thinking man's pop music"; because its discourse was so packed with intelligence and knowledge - as clearly demonstrated in this very thread, I think.
    I'm sorry, I don't quite understand about your attitude, mister.

  10. #135
    Member Jay.Dee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juba View Post
    Fantasy's 'Paint A Picture' is a great album if nothing else due to magnificent vocals of Paul Lawrence who sung it in the best tradition of great English prog-singers from the Seventies. Pleasant & mythological sounding 12-string acoustic guitars, Mellotron and Hammond organ driven instrumental parts, that's exactly what the prog-heads love.
    However, that's not what most would call a song with a hook, e.g. that any radio would want to play repeatedly or people would hum in the bathroom.

    Quote Originally Posted by Juba View Post
    None I guess, 'cause prog-hooks were / are something else.
    First we'd need to define what the prog-hook is, I suppose.
    Last edited by Jay.Dee; 04-15-2019 at 11:40 AM.

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  12. #137
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay.Dee View Post
    However, that's not what most would call a song with a hook, e.g. that any radio would want to play repeatedly or people would hum in the bathroom.



    First we'd need to define what the prog-hook is, I suppose.
    IMHO, a prog-hook, if we talk about Symphonic Rock, is a song that is loosely based on a Pop-Rock idiom but with odd time signatures and with an orchestration that is suitable for the genre (Mellotron, Hammond organ, acoustic guitars, flute, synthesizers, soaring guitar solos, unusual singing techiques and so on). For example:



    re Progressive rock, beside of odd time signatures, it must to contain something heavier but catchy rock guitar-riffs merged with an unforgettable melody. For example:



    In a mostly instrumental genre of Jazz-Rock a track is a hook if, besides chord progression, complexity and odd time signatures, it contains a simple but memorable theme with a beatuful counter-melody. For example:




    Unlike the genres like Pop-Rock and Rock, a hook in Prog don't even need being lasted throughout a whole song; I already mention King Crimson's 'Moonchilde' as an example of it; also a nice example is 'Tubular Bells' intro.

  13. #138
    Man of repute progmatist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moecurlythanu View Post
    This thread is tottering on the precipice.
    Maybe so, but I'm hooked.
    "Well my son, life is like a beanstalk, isn't it?"--Dalai Lama

  14. #139
    Quote Originally Posted by Juba View Post
    In a mostly instrumental genre of Jazz-Rock a track is a hook if, besides chord progression, complexity and odd time signatures, it contains a simple but memorable theme with a beatuful counter-melody. For example:




    Unlike the genres like Pop-Rock and Rock, a hook in Prog don't even need being lasted throughout a whole song; I already mention King Crimson's 'Moonchilde' as an example of it; also a nice example is 'Tubular Bells' intro.
    The song above has no hooks in it whatsoever. If you were to play this for me in a year and ask if I have ever heard it before I would probably say no. It is nice playing with nice guitar work but the drumming is a little annoying to me. Now the song below has hooks and every time you hear it you will recognize it, even ten years from now. I think this is what the original poster was talking about, and if not I have no fucking clue.

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  15. #140
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    ^^The video with that Bill Bruford cover is not available, but nevemind, here is the original version:




    Well if we discuss about hooks from the drummers' albums, then this track is on the top of everything:


  16. #141
    Quote Originally Posted by Juba View Post
    ^^The video with that Bill Bruford cover is not available, but nevemind, here is the original version:
    If it's not available then how did I post it,but nevermind, here's an original that also has hooks:

    NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF STUPID PEOPLE IN LARGE GROUPS!

  17. #142
    Quote Originally Posted by Juba View Post
    I'm sorry, I don't quite understand
    We know. All of us original PE folks - we know.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  18. #143
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    It's apparently about both but still mostly something else entirely. The way it has turned out it's primarily about the complete absence of intellectual leverage on the part of a contributor who'd make the phenomenon of Skullhead appear a "prog rock" Stephen Hawking by comparison, and who shouldn't even be here due to being banned. You do not expect or invite "serious" discussion from the barndoor, even when someone paints a spectacled face on it. This was once a discussion forum; when participants can't even begin to define "discussion", then what the hell is the point to start with?

  19. #144
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    "Beauty in music is too often confused with something that lets the ear lie back in an easy chair."
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  20. #145
    [QUOTE=Zeuhlmate;896771]"Beauty in music is too often confused with something that lets the ear lie back in an easy chair."
    Charles Ives


  21. #146

  22. #147
    An example of hook-laden third-wave Prog would be "At the End of the Day" by Spock's Beard. Sixteen minutes of hooks. I consider it the best song of the Neal Morse era of SB.
    No matter what anyone says, you are the decider of how you will listen to music.

  23. #148
    Quote Originally Posted by Splicer View Post
    An example of hook-laden third-wave Prog would be "At the End of the Day" by Spock's Beard. Sixteen minutes of hooks. I consider it the best song of the Neal Morse era of SB.
    It's certainly up there. My favorite is "The Great Nothing", but it was "At the End of the Day" that served as my introduction to SB.

  24. #149
    Quote Originally Posted by aith01 View Post
    It's certainly up there. My favorite is "The Great Nothing", but it was "At the End of the Day" that served as my introduction to SB.
    Also a good song. Both are better songs than anything on Snow - that album didn't work for me at all.
    No matter what anyone says, you are the decider of how you will listen to music.

  25. #150
    Quote Originally Posted by Splicer View Post
    Also a good song. Both are better songs than anything on Snow - that album didn't work for me at all.
    Snow was one that didn't work for me as a whole, but had several tracks that made it onto my iPod at the time. I've since come around to where I can listen to the entire first disc, but only some of the second one (including "Looking For Answers", which was one of their finest tunes IMO). Overall, it signified where Neal would be going with his solo career and all the big over-the-top concept double-disc albums he would be making full of multiple overtures and reprised themes. There's nothing wrong with that of course, but it just got old for me I guess.

    On the subject of modern(ish) prog bands with memorable hooks, I would also nominate the band Cast from Mexico. Three great albums off the top of my head are Mosaique, Art, and Arsis.

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