Music Landscape - Kansas Leftoverture Side 2 - The Explorer: Music Landscape - Past, Present, Local

Music Landscape - Kansas Leftoverture Side 2

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Posted: Wednesday, July 18, 2012 1:27 pm

Side two opens with "Opus Insert" and the harmonies within the song are truly what makes the song great. This is one of my favorite tracks on the record and it is a musical journey from start to finish by steering past typical song structure. The songs message is a powerful one, and the music conveys it perfectly with the lyrics. Lyrically, the song deals with social relationships between people as the artist associates each person with a book, each one having stories to tell and lessons to learn from their individual lives. The words also show that there is so much more to each person beyond just what we hear from them in normal conversation as shown in the verse "between all the lines, so much that you can find." The song encourages us as individuals to use this information to speak with and learn from others, going on to say that though there are so many people with so many stories to tell, many of them are living "empty lives" where so much information never gets the opportunity to be shared.

The song's lyrical content is very spiritually based, and it deals with the unrecognized elements of our universe that we may not notice every day, or may not even think exist. "For there's nothing that we can't do my friend, cause the spirit is with us all And it's here and it's now, it's up and it's down, you can feel it surrounding us all." This line triggers a very powerful rhythmic change in a music. The music slows down drastically at 1:42, "After all we're all the same, only difference is a name and where we are." The music then returns to its quicker more upbeat pace that finishes out the remainder of the song with the keyboards maintaining their strong presence. The final chorus uses a piano that wasn't present at the beginning of the song before closing with another powerful transition like the one previous.

"Questions Of My Childhood" starts off in a very playful tone. It is very upbeat and positive, as if the listener is being taken back to his early childhood days. The lyrics reflect the same concept as words like "sunshine" and "golden crown" are used further adding to the already positive vibe that the song is projecting. The piano, drums, and bass guitar are the backbone of the song structure after the heavily keyboarded intro, but again I'd like to turn more to the lyrics. The artist seems to recall asking questions others (perhaps his parents) throughout childhood, and he is surprised that as he continues to grow and mature, he is shocked to realize that nobody really has the answers. 1:41 into the song marks another drastic change in the tone of the song. The tone goes from playful and light to serious through this small segment with light drums and piano, and then resumes its original tone once again. It is clear through this part of the song that the subject of love again enters the equation, as the lyrics seem almost like he is speaking to his lover through this more melodic midsection. At the beginning he is looking for answers from his parents and others around him, as he grows older he seeks this same reassurance through his mate.

This leads us to the very melancholy "Cheyenne Anthem." The tone for this piece is drastically different from the last song. It opens with an acoustic guitar and another keyboard overlay that strikes a very serious note from the beginning. This track has always made me think of the Native American man, prior to the arrival of the colonialists, though it can be interpreted in many different scenarios. Possibly because of the strong mankind/earth connection and the great spirit that has already been previously mentioned. The Native American's were very in tune with their environment, and in many ways the land that they walked on seemed like a part of them. They felt that they had a spiritual connection with the ground that they walked on, the animals that walked among them, and the air that they breathed. From this man's perspective, whether it be an Indian chief or a small child, he sees the white man invading and taking over his land as expressed in this line, "You have come to move me, take me from my ancient home, Land of my father's I can't leave you now. We will share it with you, no man owns this earth we're on." The man now feels like he is forced to fight for his land, because someone else is now trying to take it from him, even though he doesn't want to fight. This thought is greeted with a harmony of singing children who proclaim "But we cannot endure like the earth and the mountains

Life is not ours to keep, for a new sun is rising." This ends with an interesting instrumental session, with various different keyboards and piano, organ, drums, bass, and even violin work. The tone again has changed from melancholy to surprisingly upbeat before again retuning to its original tone to close out the song with an acoustic guitar that slowly fades in. This is later greeted with harmonies and keyboard as the song stops to a halt.

Magnum Opus is primarily an instrumental track with very few lyrics written. The song retains the typical Kansas feel, but uses a more prominent blues element with the tone being powerful, but also very neutral before the 2:50 break when it drastically changes pace. The song continues in a very progressive manner, almost like a heavier version of Pink Floyd. The tone goes from heavy, to neutral, back to heavy, and back to neutral whipping the listener around like a rollercoaster. The song slows to a drawl and then builds back up with a guitar solo. The guitars are very prominent and they are laced with heavy keyboards throughout. Pair this with psychedelic synthesizer effects, sprinkled throughout the song, and this song has something for everyone. This is the piece that truly shows the band's musical ability all in one closing effort to end an amazing album.

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