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Keith Emerson - Best Revenge (OST) CD (album) cover


Keith Emerson


Crossover Prog

3.94 | 9 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars Every artist (musician, poet, painter, writer etc) applies to the audience and expects a feedback. Keith Emerson was one of the greatest and most influential musicians of the 20th century but got a very strange feedback from his audience. The first four studio albums and one live album from ELP collected megatons of delights from listeners, and after that it looked like listeners suddenly lost their capacity to express delight.

No I cannot say that the audience rejected Emerson's newer ideas... but I also cannot say that the audience accepted them. Emerson offered his brilliant Piano Concerto No. 1 - but the public obviously preferred him to produce a new Tarkus. Emerson wrote his excellent Memoirs Of An Officer And A Gentleman - but the public wanted a new Trilogy.

Perhaps that's why in most of Emerson's later works, no matter more or less successful, no matter symphonic, jazzy, rocky or poppy, apart from the great talent, also some embarrassment can be heard. It looked - and sounded - like the musician was in doubts about what the audience expects from him, and tried to guess what, instead of doing what he wanted to do himself. Though most likely he did guess that he'd better make another Brain Salad Surgery to satisfy customers, but he supposedly lost interest to all the brain salad surgeries in the world before that. Maybe it would be going too far to say that the audience in response turned away from Emerson after 1974, but the listeners definitively weren't loyal enough to follow his creative searches.

And probably that's one of the reasons why no 1980s and later Emerson's effort reached the status of a masterpiece: the author did his work constantly glancing behind his audience and their possible reaction, instead of giving creative freedom to himself. His early 1980s albums, not only this one but also Inferno and Nighthawks, show that he'd prefer to explore the area of orchestral (symphonic) music in detail, but the public waited for a new Karn Evil 9 and enjoyed remembrances about Emerson's cooperation with Robert Moog.

Maybe I'm wrong but it seems to me that some... well, I'd say some constraint of the music of Best Revenge and other (not only soundtrack) 1980s and later albums is partially because Emerson constantly failed to guess what the public wanted from him. So, perhaps the best way to enjoy Best Revenge is to forget about The Three Fates, The Endless Enigma and Tank, and try to guess what the musician wanted from us.

proghaven | 4/5 |


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