What is Prog? Revisited.


I know I’ve posted about this before but this is something that I could write a damn book about. The biggest question that fans of Prog get asked is what they “consider” to be prog? This is the trickiest question in the history of questions. No genre or subgenre of music is quite as tough to define as prog. Sure you can just say bands that sound like Yes, Rush or Dream Theater and be done, but that is such a narrow view.

I’ve had issues with “prog” fans with that narrow view. Rather than actually be progressive (which is what the word is), they’d rather just listen to their small subset of prog and say the rest isn’t prog at all. Isn’t the point of prog to not have limitations? Sure I hate rap but if prog bands wanna do that, I guess that’s their option. It doesn’t make it not prog, it just makes it prog that I don’t like.

My friend Nick Hudson distilled it down the best by saying that prog is the one genre of music that can incorporate itself into every type of other music. I suppose that means prog is more of an ingredient than say a stand alone dinner? I think it’s both really. That’s the reason that people have such a hard time defining it. That’s why I had to reopen this insane discussion about prog.

Prog can do whatever the fuck it wants to do. Can it have time signature changes? Of course it can, but so can jazz. Can it be long with lots of movements? Sure it can be so can classical. Can it be aggressive and push limits? Of course it can, just like metal.

Prog, to me, simply means challenging the listener. It can be catchy as hell but at the same time, you know damn well it will never be top 40 anymore. This isn’t the 70s after all. More than anything else, even if a song is 30 minutes long, it should still be about the song itself. Good prog puts the song above how many solos are in it or any of that.

Not all of the things that I review here or post on the Facebook page are going to be liked by all of you. That’s exactly what prog is. At the same time, I won’t like all of the prog you like. I might but that’s the beauty of prog, it SHOULD be different things to different people. That’s why it’s awesome and so damn hard to define!

About Rob

I have been a fan of progressive metal and progressive rock for most of my life. My music collection is insanely large. My passion for life is music...progressive music!
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6 Responses to What is Prog? Revisited.

  1. John Deasey says:

    Excellently put 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. C.G. says:

    Well said. I don’t entirely agree to the extent that a band or artist is prog simply because they fit the academic definition of the word “progressive”. Prince is a good example of my point. By your definition, he was prog because he pushed boundaries, and he was always challenging his listeners. All good things to do, but I would argue that although he meets the definition of progressive, he was not “prog”.

    I agree prog is extraordinarily difficult to define. It is especially hard to explain to a non fan or someone who simply doesn’t know about it. I’ve been guilty of naming Yes, Genesis and Dream Theater as prog examples, but that is primarily because they are the most likely to have been heard of, for better or worse. I’ve also told people Pink Floyd is prog. I’ve had some argue with that they are not, but they are just stupid and wrong! Wink.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Howard Maymon says:

    Progressive, in my mind, is any music that challenges the conventions of the past. It keeps music “alive” as it is a living and growing thing that ever evolves.

    Liked by 1 person

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