Yes Is The Answer -- essays about progressive rock

My friend Marc Weingarten co-edited a book with Tyson Cornell called Yes Is The Answer (and Other Prog Rock Tales). I haven’t read it yet but it sounds excellent: Progressive rock is maligned and misunderstood. Critics hate it, hipsters scoff at it. Yes Is The Answer is a pointed rebuke to the prog-haters, the first… READ THE REST

This is not the first such book. For example, Paul Stump’s “The Music’s All That Matters” ( covers very similar ground to the description of this book. A quick glance through “Related Books” at amazon suggests such titles as:

Beyond and Before: Progressive Rock since the 1960s by Paul Hegarty
“At last, here is a book that gives prog its due respect as a vital part of the history of rock music, without tying it to a simplistic narrative of over-ambition, decadence and decline.”

The Strawberry Bricks Guide to Progressive Rock by Charles Snider
“We’ll trip through concept records, indulgent solos and epic album-side long compositions in a definitive reappraisal of rock’s most cerebral and renowned genre.”

It’s nice when friends write a book about a subject we’re interested in, but this is 2013 and the test for a phrase like “the first” or “the definitive” is a few keystrokes away …

I don’t think there’s such a big stigma attached to prog anymore. There’s used to be, back when most of the critics had all been around 17 or so when Anarchy in the UK dropped. But I know a lot of hipsters and critics who like prog rock. That said, I don’t think I know anybody who likes Yes.

yeah, this. the college station here plays some prog. i see online chatter about it. In The Court of the Crimson King is a touchstone album for /mu/, and usually it can be assumed that’s true of Pitchfork, too.[quote=“Trisaneldritch, post:3, topic:3262”]
I don’t think I know anybody who likes Yes.

I–I like Yes. y’know, every now and then. and Vincent Gallo used their Heart of the Sunrise to great effect in Buffalo 66. so that’s at least two of us :slight_smile:

EDIT: originally, i was going to embed the clip from the movie, but the still-frame on the embed had bare titties on it, so i cancelled that. The embed here was apparently added by @codinghorror? dude, wtf?

I don’t care if this book is a rebuke, i continue to loathe prog. Rebuke away!

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Truth be told, I really like their song Roundabout, which I discovered in this great moment from Fringe:


each essay will probably change tenses a half-dozen times, be riddled with arcane metaphor and stylized prose, self-indulgently refer to long-forgotten authors, and take 10 pages to say what could more succinctly be said in a paragraph.

i’m ordering mine now!


It is indeed shocking to discover that publishers will employ hyperbole in their book descriptions; welcome to our scarred ranks.

But it’s not always hype. In this case, the actual claim was “first literary anthology devoted to the sub genre,” and that seems confirmed by your three cites.

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Yep, just another data point for how personal musical taste is. For me it has ALWAYS been prog rock over anything else. I hated punk. I hated C&W. I hate rap. I dislike hip-hop. The thing I loved about prog rock was its unabashed attempt to be clever and virtuosic. For me just about everything else was anti-intellectual. Rush, ELP, Yes, King Crimson, Porcupine Tree… Give me more!

case in point: you don’t know me, and i really like them. : )

I just had a friend post on my facebook page a picture from the Yes concert she is at (her favorite band). ANOTHER friend of mine in another state also loves Yes and has seen them recently as well. I am not a fan but I find them pleasant enough if someone else wants to listen to them for a while.

Thing about prog is there’s no one particular style. I love Pink Floyd, Neu!, Can and so on, but utterly loathe the deedly-deedly-dee classical/folk wankery of Yes, Jethro Tull, Rush and that sort of thing.

Like most things, prog exists on a curve, and the most distinctive examples are seen as the typical form.

Likewise, although it was more about Mike Oldfield and The Alan Parsons Project for me. I discovered American prog much later.

In ancient times…
Hundreds of years before the dawn of history
Lived a strange race of people… the Druids

No one knows who they were or what they were doing
But their legacy remains
Hewn into the living rock… Of Stonehenge


Oh, I was 20 in 1976 and I love Yes! (and still do) But I have very particular taste in music that ranges from Henry Cow to Captain Beefheart and back. I also have plenty of room for punk, but none for the American version of Prog, Kansas, Styx, etc. In my tiny musical universe a nerdy fellow from the middle of England is some kind of demi-god of guitar players and plays in the dark while sitting on a stool.

Prog rock was/is about formal invention and virtuosity. It is simultaneously a turn on and a challenge. Or watch another action movie, and dream of me.

But, then, right now I am listening to a two hour youtube of Buckethead and That1Guy. Just for background.

I see what you did there :smiley:

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Read on … the rest of the publisher blurb read “… Yes Is The Answer is the first book that dares to thoughtfully reclaim prog-rock as a subject worthy of serious consideration.”

Huh - I’ve been a Yes fan since the 70’s, yet I knew nothing of this supposed disdain prog rock has been held in. I guess only in certain circles.

“Sex?” is the question, right?

What? That’s probably the first (and maybe last) time I’ve heard that description for Rush.

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