Gentle Giant - The Power and the Glory | Adam's AnalysisAdam's Analysis is a prototype post series I'm using as a practice for album reviews. It is a series where I take a song/album from the great world of prog, break down its lyrics and instrumentals, and determine its greater meaning. And what better way to begin this series than with one of my favorite albums: The Power and the Glory? So how this works is that I will take parts I find most significant and explain what I find they ultimately mean. So with that said, let's begin this analysis.
Proclamation is the opening track of the album. With this being a concept album, Proclamation is the opening to the story we're being told. The lyrics come from the perspective of a man aspiring to be the ruler of his land. He makes his case to the people:
"You may not have all you want or you need; All that you have has been due to my hand"
The man has been appointed as ruler, and the fate of the people is in his hands.
"The situation we are in at this time; Neither a good one, nor is it so unblest"
The nation is not in a great state, but it's not in an awful one either. Signifying that the ruler plans to improve his nation.
"Unity's strength and all must be as one; Confidence in you hope will reflect in me; I think everyone not as my nation for; You are my people and there must be no change"
The people are seen as part of the ruler, or a "reflection" of him. If it goes as said, the people will be united.
"Hail to power and to glory's way"
This line is repeated for some time as symbolization of the people that support the ruler's case. They are hailing to his "power and glory."
The instrumental break is one I really like. It seems to be a musical symbol of the people trying to decide whether they should go with this new ruler or not.
This takes on the people's perspective: they are under belief that their ruler tells nothing but truth and sincerity.
"Hear, he'll do it all for you, you will see it; Wise and knowing what to do, what to be"
The ruler will do every action he claims he will. They believed he is qualified for this responsibility.
"Lies, he only tells the truth, for he means it; Means, not anything he says, eyes unseen"
The ruler is truthful; he fulfills the sincerity of everything he says. However, one side has their doubts, and claim people are not seeing the full picture.
"...his thoughts so full, always empty"
This line reflects the ruler's thoughts, and although he may seem mindless, he retains his sincerity.
The instrumentals in this particular song are an odd one, which conveys the divided thoughts on the new ruler.
My favorite song off the album. Here we see the people leaving their fate up to their ruler. If he really is a great man, he shall fulfill their hopes and dreams.
"As our faith, maybe aimless blind; Hope our ideals and; Our thoughts are yours"
The people are giving up their thoughts and beliefs to the ruler. He is to create their thoughts. A tie to the creation of central religion in a nation.
"Make us strong build our unity; All men as one; It is all in you"
Thomas Hobbes ideology. All men of a nation are united as one part of a single ruler.
The general simplicity of the song is a resemblance of the people beginning to bond together for their ruler. They are all united.
Playing the Game
We are now turned back to the ruler's perspective. He is now given authority over the people, and feels he will do great as a king.
"I can view the power of my position and my; Eyes can see more than anyone in any place; I'll play the game and never ever lose"
"The game" in question is chess. As a player of a chess game and supposed expert he can see more on the board than anyone else the ruler has all the power, and believes he can never lose.
"And the other pieces; Are there for my art and my tactics now; All my games are won before they're played for; I have planned that no opposition can stage a fight"
Another analogy to chess. All the other pieces are to serve as tactical moves for the king to make. Because the ruler is so good at the game no enemy can beat his tactics.
"And no words that I'm the knave will alter my; Philosophy for if any are heard"
No opposing views of his will bring him down. Thus showing how full of himself he has grown.
There is a sudden transition from the main "riff" of the tune that heads into a more soft feel. This turns from the king's confidence to his corruption as a leader: "My thoughts never spoken, only the; Visions inside my head"
Cogs in Cogs
The ruler has shown to be ineffective, and the people are growing angry. "Cogs in cogs" is another analogy referring to the king as a slow-turning wheel.
"Empty promise broken; the path has not been paved anyway"
Metaphor for the king's lack of action. His promises are empty.
"Cogs in cogs the machine is being left where it lay"
The "machine" is the main problems within the nation. The "cogs" refer to the more inner conflicts as they keep "turning".
"Slow burning is the fire; rising murmur breaks"
The people are thinking of forming mobs against the ruler.
The mood of this song is definitely more intense than the previous songs. It is a resemblance of the people's anger and impatience towards their ruler.
No God's a Man
The king is recognizing the people turning away from him. The way he sees it, he isn't being fairly judged for who he truly is.
"Soon another song is sung in turn for existing blame and then apologize, conditions turn; Then it happens all again"
The king will try to make a case but the moment he takes action the cycle will repeat and nothing will change.
"After all the things are said, no God's a man"
Despite everything he's seen as, the king still views himself as godly.
There's not much to say about the instrumentals in this song. They do have a decent reflection of the current conflict.
The king is ready to clear his name and face judgment time from the citizens.
"Make your peace, face the face that is after; Reasons plain, tears of pain are not laughter"
The king wants to bring peace back to the land, and realizes the people are angered.
"Cast off the mould, buy all you've sold; Confidence lost, pay for the cost"
Pay for the consequences you've brought upon yourself.
"Take your bows, hear the people are calling; Play the game, Take the blame as you're falling"
The king realizes the "game" he was playing is one he's losing. He is taking the blame for his loss.
The king is refusing to give up, and insists he's been doing his best for the people.
"And though the hard times are really due to me; It still is in me, to wave all this unrest"
The king realizes the conflict is his fault, and he must stop it all.
"You must believe him, that there's been no betrayal; All that I've done, I've really done for you"
The king has not betrayed the trust of his nation; he still has faith in his people.
"Hail to power and to glory's way"
This line from Proclamation returns in this song to show that there are people that still support the word of the king. They are showing a sign of forgiveness.
"Must be a reason, why plans have turned around; Not only in me, must also be in you"
The king doesn't understand why what he's done hasn't been working, and his confidence to continue needs to transcend to the people for the nation to stand.
The musical organization in this song is very similar to Proclamation, connecting the king trying to make another large case to the people as he did when he was appointed. This time it's a lot heavier to show inner conflict from the king.
The Power and the Glory
To put it bluntly, the king was dethroned.
"Run, run, the shotgun has got you in its range; Turn, turn away, when it's time to make a change; Look where you're going, try not to lose your way; What good is knowing you have to go away?"
An assassin was sent to kill the king, and when the king learns of this, he flees, not concerned of his nation any longer.
"Face up to reason, you know it's up to you; Do what you can do, all that you have to do; Move over now, and I'll try to take your place; Time to remember that I have won the race"
The king must do what he must for himself now, and now the throne is left in the hands of someone else. Knowing the circumstances, it is not the choice of the king to give up the crown.
"Put back the ace black, you never made it good"
Essentially saying "Get out, you were never a good ruler."
"The power and the glory is over, so I'll take it; The power and the glory is over, so I'll make it; The power and the glory is over, and I'll break it"
The new person shall take up the "power and the glory," or the crown, and make it their own.
The high spirited mood of this song is meant to symbolize the excitement of the new ruler, and the people now that their previous ruler is gone.
Well, that concludes my analysis. It's a bit rusty, but I'm getting there. If you have any feedback for me, let me know. With that said, the power and the glory is over...