With all the debate over so-called "musical masturbation" (an ugly term, even if it does exist), I'm making a thread to celebrate it and poke fun at it good-naturedly (was that last word "grammatical masturbation?" ) Blindingly fast guitar solos, album-side long suites about birds and Eastern philosophy, mellotrons, oh my! Band most guilty of MM: Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Or should I say, the Keith Emerson Band. Probably the most amazing keyboard player in the business, or at least the most anxious to prove it. Damn he's good. I love hearing him play. Tarkus rules. Nothing Emerson does compares to the ultimate in solo silliness: Carl Palmer ripping his shirt off and smashing the drums around for a while. What the hell is that? It's pretty funny, though. Rock style most guilty of MM: the guitar heroes of the 80s. The two top culprits are Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai. Malmsteen's early albums are fun to listen to, especially the tracks without vocals. An amazing technician and creates really cool music. I saw Steve Vai perform once. Lots of fun. He even made jokes about his pointless guitar heroics. I really like Passion and Warfare, but he tries to actually create real songs on other albums. WTF? He should just stick to playing a lot. Vai and Malmsteen would be better in actual bands as guitar players, not leaders. Too bad their egos won't allow it. Eddie Van Halen certainly likes to show off, but he's good enough to do it. Unlike Malmsteen and Vai, he's in a good band that makes cool, fun songs, so I end up listening to him a lot more. I would not consider Joe Satriani in the same category. He actually does create good songs, albeit without vocals. He has an amazing sense of melody and the music is actually quite "musical." For over the top metal MM, I dig Symphony X. I just got one of their discs. I thought it was from the mid-80s, but it's only 3 or 4 years old! Bands that are unfairly accused of MM: Rush, Tool, Satriani, Dreamtheater, King Crimson, Gentle Giant. Bands that are on the borderline: Yes- I love their old stuff. Their songs are constructed well and are melodic, so I wouldn't call it MM, but with Topographic Oceans and Relayer, they were pushing it a bit, though I love those albums. Jethro Tull- Boy, did they get slammed for Passion Play when that came out. An album-long piece, it has lots of amazing music in it. Thick As A Brick, another album long piece, was received well, but Passion Play was slammed. Can someone please explain this to me? Genesis (old school, with Peter Gabriel)- Gabriel certainly got a bit carried away with those lyrics and costumes, didn't he? Musically, Genesis never got to absurd, though. Solve this riddle for me: the same people who go around pointing fingers at some artists for MM worship Jimi Hendrix, a guy who played solos that were longer than Time, and used lots of feedback and noise all the time. (I'm not knocking Jimi, I love him, I just don't understand the inconsistency). MM bands that I don't like: Phish and the Grateful Dead. These guys sound like me and my friends getting together in a garage and messing around for kicks. Their solos aren't constructed logically and just sound messy and all over the place. The Allman Brothers, on the other hand, know how to stretch out when they play. Their instrumental leads are melodic, well structured, and fit in with the song very nicely. Is Blue Sky not the most beautiful song ever? Conclusion: MM is subjective, sometimes obnoxious, sometimes entertaining, and always funny.