A Brief(er) Explanation of How I Rank Prog Rock Albums
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last edited: 16th may, 2023
I have an article on this site where I explained both why and how I rank Prog Rock albums, however I feel like the article is not that well written and it's a bit long while at the same time not saying much. So this article attempts to rectify that by being a more a clearer version of how I go about ranking so many Prog Rock albums.
You don't have to listen to me
- I am not an expert on Prog Rock music, or any genre of music for that matter.
- My lists are not special, they are just how I would personally rank all Prog Rock albums based on my own preferences.
- I'm mostly doing this to see what modern musicians and bands are doing with the genre instead of just re-listening to stuff from the '70s.
What qualifies as "Proggressive Rock"?
It comes down to if the artist/band calls their album:
- Progressive Rock/Prog Rock
- Neo Prog/Neo Progressive Rock
- Art Rock
- Or if it's inspired/based on the Canterbury Scene
I will usually determine this through the Bandcamp tags if the band has a Bandcamp page for their album. If they do not, I will look at their website/social media pages to find out what genre they use.
How do I rank albums?
- I use the r/progmetal lists and NewProgReleases blog as my sources for Prog Rock albums to listen to.
- I will listen to each album at least twice before making any comparisons.
- After the 2nd listen, I will then compare the current album to the lowest-ranking album on the list currently.
- I then ask myself "Would I rather listen to this album I've just heard, or the lowest-ranking album?".
- If the answer is "Yes", I will then move up the list and repeat the question but for the next album on the list.
- Once I reach an album that is already on the list that I would rather listen to, I stop there and put the new album just below it.
- If I am unsure or don't remember much about an album that I'm comparing to, I will re-listen to it in full at least once before making a judgment.
How long to I plan to do this?
In an ideal world I would do this for the entire decade, but considering I started 3 years late that's probably not going to happen. So really it's until I get bored of doing it.
Notes and Possible Biases
- While I could just sort Bandcamp by the Progressive Rock tags and go through all of the albums there, that would add far too many albums that I would need to listen to. On top of that, not all artists/bands upload their music to Bandcamp but instead rely on streaming services like Spotify, YouTube Music, Deezer and Apple Music among others. Using the two sources to determine what I listen to gets enough of the major releases, and that's what I care about.
- On Bandcamp, if an artist/band uses the tags "Prog"/"Progressive" and "Rock" separately, I still consider that as them tagging it as "Prog Rock"/"Progressive Rock", it's mostly just me using a safety measure so I can get to everything, because sometimes artists/bands don't tag their stuff properly.
- While not all "Art Rock" is Prog Rock, it's sometimes the case that artists/bands will use the terms interchangably or conflate the two, so to be sure I get everything I include Art Rock in the list.
- I do not consider Remastered, Remixed, Live Albums or Compilation albums as part of the list. My list is specifically for Studio Albums and Extended Plays.
- If an artist/band has an album with Single Edits, Remastered/Remixed Songs or Songs that are exclusive to one particular music platform (if they just release their music digitally), I generally do not include them as part of my ranking. However if they released a song prior to the album's release as a non-edited Single, I do include that.
- If an artist/band releases a Deluxe version of their album, I consider that to be the entirety of the album and will listen to that when ranking it.
- BIAS: I am more likely to be in favour of albums that have lyrics. Furthermore I am more likely to be in favour of albums whose lyrics are in English (as that is sadly the only language I speak).
- BIAS: I am more likely to be in favour of albums that have some form of narrative or story.
Hope this was helpful in understanding how I rank these albums. I may refine this over time if my process changes or if I notice any other biases I have when ranking albums.
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