Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Emerson, Lake and Palmer - Tarkus


Tarkus is a bit of a mixed bag. One of the first sidelength tracks in the history of progressive rock (the only previous one I can think of is Procol Harum's "In Held 'Twas in I", although there were others in other genres, such as Love's Revelation and Iron Butterfly's In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida) starts off amazingly well, with awesome keyboard breaks from Emerson and drum fills from Palmer, and the variety of keyboard tones is just amazing. Unfortunately, there are some really dull, quieter parts in the last third or so (although that part does feature a rare Lake guitar solo and an amusing bit with a keyboard solo that sounds like a duck quacking), and the lyrics are some kerfluffle about a giant armadillo and man's inhumanity to man. It's still pretty good overall, though.
Unfortunately, the second side is largely made up of throwaways; the most memorable part of the whole thing being some terrible, terrible lyrics (the verb "fist" is used as a synonym for "beat up" at one point, and another song has the line "Why did you lose/six million Jews". Christ, "The Only Way" would've been my favorite song on side two if not for that little clunker). It's obvious that ELP's focus was on the title track, and it's basically all that's worthwhile here. I guess I can recommend this album, but think of it as a really, really long single with a bunch of really lame B-sides and it'll probably go down better.

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