Album: Permanent Waves
. . .
The thing about writing album-side long multi-part epics and/or concept albums is that they’re hard. Which is one of the reason that a lot of the biggest prog bands of the 1970s abandoned them as the 1970s crashed into the 1980s. Instead, they subsumed their considerable chops into shorter songs, some of which were pop songs, and in the cases of Genesis and — for one weird moment, Yes — incredibly successful pop songs. Hell, an entire band, Asia, formed specifically for this purpose.
By the way, this isn’t necessarily any easier. Genesis’s pop success was initially viewed as a fluke, even as they’d been traveling in that direction since Peter Gabriel left, Asia crapped out after their second album, and Yes were essentially one-hit wonders for the second time in their career. And, lets not let Emerson Lake & Palmer off the hook for their still dogshit Love Beach, which tried to “balance” six terrible pop songs on one side with a side-long epic that was somehow even worse. (And they didn’t do themselves any favors with that album cover, either.)