Hipster Prog? No Thanks!

Huffington Post’s William Higham asks if Prog Rock is the new Folk, and pens what has to be one of the worst music articles I’ve read on the interwebs for a long, long time.

When you read nonsense like this, it’s clear you’re facing someone who seems to think it’s 1994 rather than 2014

So, prepare to guffaw now when I suggest what the next wave of music and culture looks set to be. Are you ready? I believe it’s prog rock … (Okay, perhaps the headline spoilt the surprise). Yes, progressive rock. The kipper tie or puffball skirt of music. The genre that brought us Genesis and Jethro Tull. A genre so embarrassing to talk about that, in a recent documentary, Prog veteran and regular Grumpy Old Man Rick Wakeman likened it to pornography: *lowers his voice* “here mate, you got any, erm, prog rock?”

It gets worse…

This lot grew up on the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. Game of Thrones? It’s like a Yes album sleeve come to life. Meanwhile, technical skills are being lauded. In an Emeli Sande-loving, talent show-filled, post-Strokes world, “they can actually play/dance/skate/dive” is a compliment not an insult. And what could be more fashionable right now than long greasy hair and double denim?

His failure to name a single new prog act demonstrates that he’s not only totally ignorant of the current grass-roots scene but too lazy to do even the most basic of research. No mention, for instance, of Steve Wilson’s ability to fill The Royal Albert Hall. Or the strong and undenied prog influence in bands like Elbow or The Decemberists.

And, for the love of God, spare us the prog equivalents of Ed Sheeran and Mumford & Songs, where were never “folk” in any meaningful sense of the word anyway. I would rather we didn’t see bands dressed in capes and wizard’s hats playing pedestrian indie-rock playing three chords on a Mellotron “ironically”.

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4 Responses to Hipster Prog? No Thanks!

  1. I’m reminded of the way people think anime is either Pokémon or hentai, with nothing in between — no Satoshi Kon, no Studio Ghibli, etc. etc.

    Do you think the people who stick with the “prog is old fart stuff” line are simply protecting their alleged street cred as music critics, because their readership believes it wouldn’t be caught dead listening to 12-minute songs about hobbits?

  2. Tim Hall says:

    It’s simply displaying an ignorance about anything beyond the most tired of cliches. For example, fantasy-themed lyrics have never been a major feature of prog, but have always featured heavily in metal – just listen to any Iron Maiden album, let alone any power-metal act.

    And the less said about those for whole their love of the actual music takes second place to maintaining “street cred” the better.

  3. John P says:

    12 minutes song about hobbits? Who wants to hear that? What you want is some Dwarf Metal: “Gold, gold, gold, gold, gold, gold ” repeated until either the pub closes or you fall unconcious from drink or a bar fight. Or is that a cliche?
    Sorry, I’ll get me coat. ;-)

  4. Tim Hall says:

    How about Deadly Circus Fire, who dress as zombie clowns? Room-clearing, they were…