Keep It Simple, Stupid (a Progger's Lament)

Keep It Simple, Stupid (a Progger's Lament)

headfirstonly's picture
Artist Favorite



Liner Notes: 

In which I ponder the eternal questions such as why most pop songs stick resolutely to a simple 4/4 beat even though my prog rock sensibilities are sent into raptures by anything in less common time signatures. It's not that people don't *like* odd time signatures, as far as I'm aware - when I've played the middle section of King Crimson's "Starless" to non-musician friends that all agree it's a sublime piece of music but not one of them was even remotely interested to learn that it's in 13/8.

Weird. This track is just as complicated as the previous one was, but this one only took an afternoon to finish. Most odd.

I had fun with this one, though. It starts with me playing the Hohner acoustic my aunt found for me in an Oxfam shop twenty years ago and gets considerably more grandiose as things (ahem) progress. There are even Mellotron flutes in there. And listening back to this now I'm getting that "did I do that?" feeling so I'm marking this one down as a favourite.

And I'm glad you asked: yes, there *are* pop songs in 17/8. Give "Hollow" by Bjork a listen, and start counting...

Thursday's Twitch livestream features a segment on the making of this track.


They told me, "Keep it simple, stupid."
It seemed a simple thing to ask
But when it comes to writing pop songs,
I guess I'm not up to the task

The truth is painful, though it's easy to state:
"Folk'll take four on the floor over 17/8."

I'll run with each idea that finds me
Then push it 'til it falls apart
There's no restraint that's going to bind me
When I've a passion for my art

And at this point I understand
that things have gotten out of hand

Now the embellishments are multiplying
And each time I look, there's something more
It's just that I find this all so satisfying
so here's my new orchestral score

Please keep your comments respectful, honest, and constructive. Please focus on the song and not the demo.


sbs2018's picture

Digging that guitar, especially in the intro - really caught my ear. And then, just like the lyrics suggest, it goes from simple to complicated. Quite intriguing.

phoenixash's picture

Gorgeous deep dark voice from the sex abyss= ✓
Awesome meaningful lyrics=✓
Incredible instrumental including breathtaking guitar and touching deep orchestration =✓
Spotless production=✓
So, yeah guess you did it again.
I would say that my mind doesn't go into these odd signatures however I would like it too. But I've managed to write in 6/8 and 12/4 albeit accidentally.
Awesome job man, you're one of the best out here

sph's picture

Great one! May I say it progresses? I like how you let the song breathe and then bring in wonderful decorations from the orchestra or that brilliant atmospheric electric guitar.
I have an old Höfner guitar we normally only use on vacation or the occasional campfire gathering. But you can't deny that these simple guitars have a special quality

Fuzzy's picture

4/4 time sig?
Boring boring boring.
I love me something odd, preferably two or three different time signatures playing at the same time.
This is really catchy!
Those synth washes are nice.
Great vox for sure.
Yeah, I'm lking the increasing complexity here.
And of course you can't go wrong with Mellotron flutes.

G3 Darnell's picture

Yes that voice is definitely from the sex abyss. You tend to keep your voice on a tight rein, but there are some moments in the last verse where it leaves the. ahem 'sex abyss' as if deeply affected by the rich arrangements and decides to grab the limelight. The orchestra coming in at the same time is majestic.
You develop this song beautifully, everything you add aggrandises it.

Jerry Pettit's picture

I watched a Youtube video last week showing the various times the Beatles (lads in their 20s) were using odd time signatures, skipped beats, etc., in their songs. Made me wonder how much of that was George Martin. I've always enjoyed the stuff. This is terrific--reminds me of a lot of the stuff I listened to in the 70s. GREAT WORK! Love the guitar solo happening at the 2 minutes mark!

wobbie wobbit's picture

nice one again. i was thinking earlier you have done a lot to help odd time signatures sit effortlessly with me.

Candle's picture

Those flutes are ethereal. Each added element keeps making this track more interesting. But that acoustic guitar is still there keeping everything grounded. Awesome stuff HFO! This is my kind o'Prog Biggrin

See You In The Shadows…

ductapeguy's picture

That is some serious masterclass level tunesmithing there. The intricacies of the instrumentation boggle me. The tongue in cheek "inside baseball" lyrics work well here.

Technicolor Gramophone's picture

Hilarious lyrics, and a suitable paean to going your own way. I like how this gets more "full" as it progresses ("now the embellishments are multiplying") ... beautiful keyboards, spacey Phil Manzanera-like guitar, flute, etc. Great headphone listen!

Zeekle's picture

That is some seriously good prog. Really like the way it builds. And it moves all over but never misses a beat. True craftsmanship. Now I’ve never tried 17/8, 7/4 is my limit