A Prog Potpourri
Jerry Lucky Commentary August 2015
Copyright Jerry Lucky © 2015 All Rights Reserved
What do you write about, when there doesn’t seem to be anything to write about? That is a good question…and given that I’m over a week late getting this August commentary up it’s clearly something I’m struggling with. Perhaps it’s the fact we’re in the dead of summer and there have been more than a few hot days out here on the “left” coast. Or perhaps it’s just that I’m totally distracted with some of my other passions? Or who knows maybe I’m just feeling lazy! Well whatever… here’s a few thoughts and some rambling for your consideration.
Some of you may remember the May commentary that outlined some of Apple’s plans to gain control of the music streaming market. Well keen eyed observes will have seen the launch of that new Apple music service that is clearly a major step forward to achieving their end goal. Interestingly it was preceded by the announcement of another prominent artist led streaming service! Nothing like some heavy-weight competition. So it will be interesting to see who has more clout – the music giants or the tech giant.
Fact is I’m still amazed at how quickly people have seen to divest themselves of ownership of the physical aspects of music (CD’s etc.) and taken to simply stream the music they like. It all seems very transitory if you ask me. Personally I find it all a bit “Big-Brotherish” to have everything “up in the cloud.” What happens when (notice I said when not if) the cloud breaks? Additionally what music has staying power if you don’t have a library to get into? Or am I missing the point that everyone now has the largest library of music available to stream at a whim? Seems it could go both ways. But didn’t I read somewhere that Apple conducted a rather substantial purge of music from its catalog? A purge that was conducted based on a song’s spins. Hmmm…Stay tuned this story is far from over.
Speaking of which – it’s no surprise that the business of streaming has become so popular with the ever present dominance of smart phone use. People around the world seem to be more interested in what’s on their phone than any other tech device known to man. The fact that you can use it for just about anything and everything should tell us something. I’m not quite there even though I do have over two hundred and fifty albums on my Q10 Blackberry. Yes I said Blackberry, sorry folks but I opted for a real phone, a Blackberry and I love it. Me and the sixty or seventy million other users.
Is it just me or is the world of Progressive Rock going through a bit of a lull these days? I can’t put my finger on anything conclusive; it’s more just a feeling. There still seems to be plenty of great records coming out and plenty of live stuff happening but it just seems Nothing is “setting the house on fire” if you know what I mean. This could be because we’ve all become somewhat complacent with the ever-present presence of Prog in our lives or on the more cynical side of the equation it could mean Prog is morphing into something more mainstream? What do you think?
As to that mainstream question, some time back I wrote about my dislike of stretching the boundaries of what defines prog so much that anything and everything could find a place. I agree that prog is a pretty big tent, perhaps one of the biggest, but if we weaken the boundaries to start including anything that changes time or tempo I think we’re in trouble. Hey I know we live in these supposedly “inclusive” politically correct times but, please…do we really have to twist everything to try and make it fit the prog mold? Personally I think all we do is weaken the brand.
On a sad note it brings more than a few tears to my eyes to hear about the recent passing of so many Prog greats like Chris Squire and Guy Leblanc just to name two. I remember an interview with Peter Gabriel from a few years back after he released the album UP. Great album, by the way. But the interviewer pointed out how the album had five songs about death to which Gabriel responded that as he’s aged, the subject of death was certainly on the table for discussion. This is without question true for many of us. Without getting maudlin in any way, I’m reminded of something my church Pastor said once: “turning sixty isn’t the END of the world…it’s just that you can see it from there!” So like Mr. Gabriel the older we get, the clearer the end comes into focus – it’s just a fact of life – all the more reason we need to live each day with gusto and spend as much time as we can with the people we love and the things we love to do.
At least that’s what I think.