Originally Posted by Pollyanna
Ken, you are calmly and methodically dissecting my heart! MY Crims! No way, Josť :)
I don't think KC were sardonic in the early days. They were simpler times, when bands could sing "All You Need Is Love" with a straight face, and the Crims were even more naive still :) The were aiming to be arty right from the start ... elaborate arrangements set to Pete Sinfield's poetry.
Look at the idiotic, crude schoolyardish nyah nyah lyrics in Ladies of the Road in the 70s. Are you going to tell me that these guys were worldly enough to be sardonic about their vaguely analogous "purple pipers" and "yellow jesters" in 1969? They were simply that naive and pretentious, and I thought it was fabulous. Still do :)
Their later pretensions in the mid 70s were consistent with that naivete. But ultimately, none of this silliness would have worked except that the group consistently provided some of the most varied, imaginative and wonderful timbres and textures around. The 80s incarnation continued in that tradition.
If the music was more modest, less pretentious, then I doubt I'd have been interested. Good taste is wonderful but without inspiration (or a healthy infusion of conscious artiness :) tastefulness can be like a straitjacket that results in one-dimensional, predictable songs where you know what it will sound like at the end after hearing the first few bars. That might suit Rolling Stone reviewers but it doesn't suit me :)
Sorry about that.:)
For me, the enjoyment is in the sardonic aspect. I was going to say that it speaks to the first question, if it is consciously pretentious does that take away from its enjoyment as opposed to being pretentious through naivete?
The Moody Blues were pretentious not only in their overly orchestrated rock and roll; but also that they did believe they were creating 'great art.' Remember the House of Four Doors: Baroque, Classical, Romantic, The Moody Blues, "Legend of a Mind." Yes similarly came to believe with CTTE and TFTO that they were creating "great music." Whereas Emerson has always been upfront with the fact that he didn't see his music as akin to the great classical masters or the great jazz artists. I've always said that the music does have a place in the popular classical realm, and have spoken to Keith about this. As an aside, you had those recordings of David Palmer, which in my book didn't work because even if you are playing rock and roll with a full orchestra, the drumming needs to be over the top. :) all those guys Bonham, Paice, Moon, Palmer, Bruford, Giles, Hiseman etc. were full of classical gestures and classical overtures in their playing. I think that is another thing that separates Europe from the States.
It would be fun to ask Fripp of Bruford what they thought about the question . . .
Ladies of the Road is an interesting example because it is one part "Why Don't We Do It in the Road" and one part "Norwegian Wood," which was about a one night stand. They had to know what they were doing there. The sax in Crimson often beckons back to Coltrane. I really think they were conscious of this, and many of these guys probably had more musical chops than they led onto. It was a big thing to be a naive romantic back then, I kind of raw talent. So musicians often did not want to admit they had been taking lessons at the conservatory..