Follow TV Tropes


YMMV / Van der Graaf Generator

Go To

  • Awesome Music:
    • For most VdGG fans, Pawn Hearts and Godbluff are the pinnacle of Prog Rock. These and H to He... get their fair share of praise amongst the Prog community.
    • Some of Hammill's solo output qualifies, particularly stuff from Fool's Mate and Nadir's Big Chance.
    • While not in the same league as Pawn Hearts and Godbluff, The Least We Can Do Is Wave to Each Other and Still Life should not be overlooked. Opeth named one of their albums after the VdGG album for good reason, after all.
  • Advertisement:
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The title track to The Aerosol Grey Machine. While the rest of the album is folk-based prog, this one is a forty second jingle parody advertising fume huffing.
  • Creepy Awesome: Is their music frequently disturbing? Yes. But is it awesome? Also yes. Bruce Dickinson observes in his memoir What Does This Button Do? that their music could "empty a room in seconds", whereas he could listen to it for hours on end in a padded cell.
  • Dead Horse Genre: For a Prog band, this is inevitable criticism. However, Johnny Rotten was a big Hammill fan, so...
  • Face of the Band: Peter Hammill has had a illustrious solo career as long as the history of the band that he is the heart of. Whenever the band split, he carried on. His 1975 solo album Nadir's Big Chance contains proto-punk songs before punk was popular.
  • Advertisement:
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: VdGG were a huge success in Italy, and their tours there were insane.
  • Growing the Beard: Many fans, critics and the band themselves consider The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other to be the album where everything clicked for the band.
  • Narm Charm: "Killer". You'd think a song where Peter Hammill expresses sympathy towards a shark while singing in an over the top manner would garner nothing but ridicule. And yet, it happens to be one of the band's most beloved tunes.
  • Nightmare Fuel: A veritable mine. Don't listen to Pawn Hearts in the dark with headphones on. Bad idea...
    • Doing the same with ''Pioneers Over C" isn't recommended either.
    • The last two minutes of "White Hammer" are simultaneously this and completely awesome.
    • Most of their lyrics qualify, particularly these charming lines from "Lemmings":
    It's out of control, out of control
    Greasy machinery slides on the rails
    Young minds and bodies on steel spokes IMPALED!
    • Many songs from Peter Hammill's solo albums qualify, especially "Gog/Magog (In Bromine Chambers)," which became a live staple for the band. Between the savage drumming, suffocating harmonium, nihilistic lyrics, completely unhinged vocals, and nightmarish musique concrète passages, it may well be the single darkest song in the band's repertoire.
  • Tear Jerker: "Afterwards", "Refugees", "House With No Door", "Man-Erg", "W", "The Undercover Man", "Still Life"
    • "A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers" is hands down one of the most depressing pieces of music ever recorded.
  • True Art Is Incomprehensible: H to He Who Am The Only One. Excuse me, what?
  • True Art Is Angsty: If a VdGG song doesn't deal with a story (ie "Killer", "Arrow" etc), then it's usually about the troubles of a dark warped mind.
  • What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: For the most part, though the band was taking LSD while working on what was to become Pawn Hearts.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: