Never Heard of 'Em: King Crimson
Anna Minard claims to "know nothing about music." For this column, we force her to listen to random records by artists considered to be important by music nerds.
In the Court of the Crimson King
I tried. I TRIED! I listened to this album over and over again. I took breaks and then went back to it. I looked up what other people had to say about it. I know how "seminal" this "prog" is. I asked to write about it. But at the end of the day, all my brain has to say about King Crimson is "Oh my god, is this song still playing? My commute is almost over." The songs are so, so long, and the part Kanye sampled a few years ago is the best part. Three separate times, I listened to it on the bus and had the exact same moment where I realized that I was still on the first track and three neighborhoods had gone by already. And I wasn't interested yet.
It sounds like the worst elements of the Beatles and Led Zeppelin had an orgy with some weird shit from the '90s and they had a deformed music baby. And in general, musicians who like to screw around by throwing cutlery and playing one individual note on 12 different instruments in no particular order—I don't really want to listen to your jazz-band rehearsal, okay? You're not "jamming." You're just being weird for the sake of being weird, like teenagers. That is not interesting.
The album cover, while horrifying, is at least fascinating, inspiring nausea, terror, and nonstop staring. Every time I look at it, I can feel my guts flinch, like that gobliny face is a cocked fist.
Some research backs up my hunch that they are inflated dopes. Exhibit one: They like to spell things stupidly—guitarist Robert Fripp calls his spin-off projects "ProjeKcts"; King Crimson called an album The ConstruKction of Light. GROSS. (Also, from the Wikipedia: ConstruKction sounds "similar to the work of contemporary alternative metal bands such as Tool." HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!) But other research, like the looks of delight on people's faces when I tell them I'm listening to KC, seems to point to this being one of those times where I just don't get it. I'm okay with that.
"Moonchild" pisses me off the most. It's a four-minute song that's totally fine—not my favorite, but plenty of old-school fun. Then it attaches onto itself a fiery comet tail of stupid noise, doodle-oodle-doo-oo-oo, lullaby harp, cat-walking-across-piano, oops-I-dropped-my-drumsticks, listen-to-my-aunt's-new-wind-chime, and on and on. By the time it reaches its conclusion eight minutes later—yes, that's right, one-third is a song and two-thirds is childish POOPERY—I am so annoyed with the whole thing that I can't finish the album. Which is a shame, because the last track is really good! It's the title track, and I'd love it, but I've only been able to make it all the way there one time. Siiiigh.
I give this a "kids these days" out of 10.