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Is it just me or…?   

Jerry Lucky Commentary July 2018

Copyright Jerry Lucky © 2018 All Rights Reserved

 

Recently I was driving out to my announcing job at the local drag strip, thinking about stuff I wanted to write about and sadly it was one of those times where my mind was pretty much a blank! I realize some of you are still stuck on – he announces at a drag strip? Well what can I say…I love drag racing…and I used to be an announcer…so there you have it. Actually I’ve spent most of my radio career announcing at drag strips since about 1976. In any case it’s one of those things I do. But as I was driving a couple things did start rattling around in my head…

 

Is it just me or is it too soon to start thinking about favorite albums of 2018? I have already listened to a couple that I feel safe in saying; you know this is going to be one of my favorite albums of the year. The strange thing is I can’t recall in recent years where albums have had such an impact on me so early in the year. The last time this happened was when Transatlantic released The Whirlwind. But I have to say, so far this year one album in particular stands out for me and that was Frequency Drift’sLetter to Maro. I loved that disc and can’t stop recommending it to lovers of symphonic prog.

 

Is it just me or are we seeing a steady encroachment on Prog by the many other musical styles bands are coming up with. In some ways it’s getting harder and harder to identify what’s prog and what’s not. I mean there are some bands creating music that is without question easily identified as prog, but then there are some where the definition lines get really blurry. Some inject a little more ambience, some a bit more artiness, and some just insert quirky or industrial stylistic touches. Notice I’m not even referencing jazz or folk influences here. Now I’m not saying this is a bad thing. I mean I suppose I could go back through the years and discover periods where Prog has always been a platform for music that was “out of the mainstream” so this I guess isn’t new. It’s just that there’s so much MORE of it these days with the advent of the internet and the ever increasing access to new bands out there. Speaking of which…

 

Is it just me or do there seem to be an increasing number of PR companies promoting Progressive Rock music these days? Back in the seventies or even the eighties and the nineties the music scene was quite regulated in terms of band exposure. Typically bands were keen on signing with a big label because it was the label that had the PR department that helped promote the band. Today it seems there isn’t a week that goes by where a new PR company gets in touch with me promoting a host of new bands, some prog and some not. I imagine a good part of this is the market responding to the changing needs of the business. With so many bands going it alone on smaller labels or releasing music independently, all these new independent promotion companies have found a niche and are serving a real purpose in helping bands get exposed to people like me who might help promote new artists on the internet with reviews and radio shows. It’s kind of exciting in a way to see how much the business is changing.

 

Is it just me or do you see something seriously wrong with listening to music on “Shuffle?” Let me back up a bit here, because I say this after having used “shuffle” on the trip out to the drag strip. So I don’t want to be hypocritical here. I have about 250 albums on my phone and I freely admit to using the shuffle feature when I’m on a long road trip and it’s always albums that I’ve already listened to in their proper release sequence. No, what I’m talking about are people who no longer recognize music as being released in any kind of “proper” sequence on an album but instead they simply have a bunch of songs, not even albums that they listen to on shuffle. In the first place pulling just your favorite songs off an album seems to destroy the artist’s intentions. Imagine listening to the Beatles’ Sargent Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band on shuffle? I just cringe at the idea. But then perhaps that’s what the industry has created…which leads me to ask…

 

Is it just me or is Progressive Rock the only genre left that cares about song sequencing on an album?  I mean think about it. What other genre can you identify where song placement or flow has as much importance as on a prog release. And I’m not talking about concept albums here where obviously the sequence of the songs has serious importance in conveying the album’s core concept. No I’m saying that even on a concept-less Prog Rock album there still seems to be some due care and attention paid to the thematic flow of the music. It’s sometimes emphasized by the fact that compositions will be linked together to create a musical flow. I don’t get that in other musical genres, certainly not the popular genres where its all about just getting the next song in play. That’s a bit unfortunate I think and makes me wonder if that too hasn’t contributed to a shortening of attention spans? In the end…maybe it is just me. What do you think?

 

 Jerry Lucky

(07/3/18)