So I listened to Act 1 and Act 2, two albums by the Protomen last night. I’m re-listening to them now. I’ve had a handful of thoughts about them, and just wanted to ramble on for a while.
First off, it’s important for me to say that the Protomen do a lot of simple, small things to define themselves. Through their two albums they tell a damn good story, for one, and they manage to avoid the limits that some other great narrative musicians placed upon themselves (like The Decemberists, Coheed & Cambria), for two.
To me, the plastic colors, and iconic adventure of Megaman is a tired topic on its own, and if you boil the elements down, The Protomen tell a very typical action-revenge story—at least in the first album. But the Protomen take individual elements that are nothing special, and build an awesome machine out of them. In a nutshell, I suppose that’s a good summary of why I think their story is excellent.
And another great thing that the Protomen manage to do is to spotlight their story. I feel like a lot of the story-telling musicians tend to overbalance toward creating pop-hits that will sell well, and as a result the story falls flat. But it seems to me that The Protomen write their music to tell the story, and I find that incredible.
I was especially shaken with the convention of including paragraphs to read alongside the music, and the fact that appropriate interludes are arranged to allow one to keep up with both lyrics and reading (the music always complements what you’re reading very nicely, by the way) just goes to show how important the story is. This is the first time I’ve seen something like this, and it’s so obviously a cool idea. Why have I never been exposed to something as awesome from another group? Has this been done before?
I’m getting a little tired at the moment, so I’m going to take a break from rambling (do you guys even like this critical stuff?), but I’d like talk about the differences between the first and second albums, the symbolism that I noticed as I am a great lover of symbols, the story that is told, and other stray thoughts.
Yes, this post. Agreed 110%
Also if you’re interested in another example of the inclusion of paragraphs to read alongside the music, I suggest picking up 2112 by Rush. The title track is a multi-part prog rock arrangement, with a grandiose sci-fi story backing it up, and I’m pretty sure it is something that greatly influenced the Protomen.