One of the greatest progressive rock supergroups of the modern era, Transatlantic has been periodically collaborating and touring for 20 years. The band is made up of Neal Morse (Neal Morse Band, Spock’s Beard, Flying Colors), Roine Stolt (The Flower Kings, Kaipa, The Tangent), Pete Trewavas (Marillion, Kino, Edison’s Children), and Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, The Winery Dogs, Sons of Apollo). Transatlantic has released 4 studio albums over the past 20 years, and the band is especially popular in Europe.
Between Transatlantic being set to release their fifth studio album this year and me being hyped on the band from Neal Morse’s and Mike Portnoy’s performances in The Prog Report’s “Prog at Home” concert (which was excellent, by the way), I have been listening to a lot of Transatlantic lately and figured the band would be a good subject for my latest Top Ten Percent post!
Not counting bonus discs or covers, Transatlantic has 26 tracks included on their 4 studio albums (the band considers The Whirlwind to be one long song, but the album is split into 12 tracks). That would make the Top Ten Percent 3 tracks, and I have added 2 honorable mentions to round it out to a nice Top 5.
5. “Out of the Night” from the album The Whirlwind
This track has a great, catchy chorus and awesome inclusions of and variations on the album’s “whirlwind theme.”
4. “Suite Charlotte Pike” from the album Bridge Across Forever
Progressive rock is often considered to be a rather heavy and serious genre, and sometimes rightly so. The themes of the lyrics of prog rock can range from reincarnated murderers to fantastical spiritual journeys and everything in between, not to mention the incredibly technical craft and creative musicianship that goes into the songwriting and performances. However, every now and then prog artists will get a little goofy and this song is a prime example. Inside jokes, almost comical sudden changes in musical style and mood, and the old school “WASSSUUPPP?” are interwoven with the genius songwriting and talented playing of the band members in a sometimes profound, sometime “Beatle-y”, sometimes silly, always awesome song!
Top Ten Percent
3. “Set Us Free” from the album The Whirlwind
This song is an absolute jam, and I love Neal Morse’s keyboard work! Plus we get a little taste of one of the darker themes on the record toward the end of the track.
2. “We All Need Some Light” from the album SMPT:e
This song is one of the most beautiful progressive rock songs released over the past 20 years, both lyrically and musically. Truly a standout song in the Transatlantic catalog. This song includes one of my favorite lyrics:
Hey you on the brink, waiting to fall, to become human surplus
The movie’s still shooting, you might still get the role, man, it’s all just a circus
But the clown left town long ago
Maybe he’ll come back and give us a show
‘Cause we all need some light now
1. “Black as the Sky” from the album Kaleidoscope
This song, better than any other in my opinion, shows how awesome Transatlantic is as an ensemble. Great vocal harmonies and a powerful instrumental bridge with intricate time changes help to show off how much fun these four have together and how they can meld their strengths into a truly unique product.
What are your Top 5 Transatlantic tracks? Leave them in the comments! Also, while you’re hear you can check out our band Blue Turnip. We are not nearly as proggy as the great Transatlantic, but our songs “A Lack of Sleep, I’d Say” and “Over and Over” have a lot of power pop and prog elements!
Finally, you can find my other Top Ten Percent TV show and music rankings here: