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Genesis Song Reviews


From Genesis to Revelation (1969)

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From Genesis to Revelation

In the Beginning A

Hey, that weird industrial buzzy sound that opens this track reminds me of Genesis. But then a quick and strummy acoustic guitar starts to play, and some reverb-ridden Peter Gabriel comes in singing a dramatic although catchy melody. Even though these guys were youngins, it's amazing how much drama they were able to conjure in a pop song! This might not be Selling England By the Pound, but I start to know where that came from!

Fireside Song B+

Tony Banks opens this up with a brief piano solo. It's nice to sit through, and very dramatic, although a little bit dull. It only lasts 45 seconds, which is just about right. After that, the corniest string track in the world pipes up, and that strummy acoustic guitar comes back. This sounds more like The Bee Gees than even the previous track did, and I almost like it for that! (I listen to Odessa quite often! Although that album was far more mature than this Genesis creation.) What's getting me here are the nice melodies, although this one isn't quite as striking as the previous track. So, this is a bit boring to me.

The Serpent B

I like how they come up with weird introductions to these songs that have absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the song. “Fireside Song” had the piano solo, and this one has a really weird and disjointed rhythm and some rambly guitars. I think they were trying to create a creepy atmosphere, but it just comes off as weird. ...Anyway, that quickly fades out and the main song pops up with a nice and confident rhythm guitar part. This is a terribly dramatic song, and Peter Gabriel goes off on some dramatic words about creation of man! I like listening to this, but this seems to go on for a bit too long, and the melody isn't so great.

Am I Very Wrong A

Wow! Well, this would have been a great song for The Bee Gees, which I guess means that Genesis had some real talent, after all! (Of course we all knew this already in hindsight, but here is the earliest proof!) Get a load of this sweet melody, and Peter Gabriel's longing delivery. As with everything here, this is ultra-serious and dramatic, but it's somehow able to draw me into it and I want to take it pretty seriously, too. The chord progression sounds very classy!

In the Wilderness B+

Ha, the beginning of this sounds like “Pachelbel's Cannon” to me! Hey, I think it's probably a requirement of any budding art-rock band to rip off good old Pachelbel at least once! This turns into what can be described as a “Hey Jude” like power chorus that gets repeated over and over. I know, ambitious intentions, right? But wha? It almost works! Oh, the repetitiveness of it gets on my nerves by the end, and I really don't care for Tony Banks' plain piano just playing the piano chorus some more. But this chorus is pretty catchy and gets caught in my head. The dramatics of it works for the most part. Maybe that slowly climbing string track could have been axed. But whatever. I'm nitpicking.

The Conqueror B-

At this point, I start to feel like too many of these songs are the same. The instrumentation, again, consists of a quickly strummed guitar and those Bee-Gees-like back-up vocals, and the overall mood of the song is very serious and dramatic. The melody isn't particularly great enough to save the overall experience from being dull, more or less. I still find it charming, though.

In Hiding B

This is a little more pleasant than the other songs, and Gabriel sounds awfully sweet singing it! (Isn't it nice hearing the guy sounding sweet for a change? Don't get used to it!) The melody is pretty nice, although not great. I wish they wouldn't put the same string track to all these songs. It just gets a bit annoying after awhile.

One Day A-

Guess what? This is a song with strummy guitar, string arrangements, and reverb ridden lead vocals from Peter Gabriel. I'm getting really tired of hearing the same thing all the time. But the reason this one gets an A- is because the melody is pretty nice. Again, I'm able to get caught up in its dramatics, and that sort of surprises me.

Window B-

I think I know why some people didn't like Tony Banks very much. (Oh, I'm sure I'll talk more about that topic in upcoming reviews!) That piano introduction is just so plain and boring. He should have taken the opportunity to play a neat texture, but I'm guessing he didn't have the ability to do that. ...Ah well! The actual song pops up after that, of course, and it's very pleasant but fairly dull. Gabriel's vocals are sweet, and his uber-pretentious lyrics are surprisingly charming. I like that french horn!

In Limbo B

Have I mentioned that I'm getting a tad bored with this album? This is a nice little song with a solid melody, and with a terribly well-done dramatic performance from Gabriel. There's a bit of a gospel flavor to this that I like, and helps make this one slightly more uplifting than the others. This is actually the end of the regular album; the rest are bonus tracks. This is a pretty appropriate concluding song.

Silent Sun B

Not the most explosive song, but it's alright. It's not distinctive at all from other things that bands were producing years earlier than this, and I suppose that its primary downfall. Although, I can get caught up in cheesy pop music as good as anyone, and this comes off as a bit melodically weak. It's a nice little song, but it's nothing I particularly care to listen to twice! ...Even though I have! (You can hear Genesis' first drummer, Chris Stewart, here!! ...If that sort of thing would turn you on.)

That's Me B

What is this, rock 'n' roll? Genesis! ...Weird. Somebody comes in with a rip-roaring electric guitar solo in the middle of this! ...OK, maybe “rip-roaring” isn't the right word for it. Maybe it's more “screwed-up.” But hey, screwed-up electric guitar solos are better than boring ones! Peter Gabriel tries to turn in a passionate rock 'n' roll performance, but his voice is way too pretty for this stuff. Yeah. Stick to the pop music, boys. Or don't.

Where the Sour Turns to Sweet A

What a pretty song! I know this is 100 percent removed from what Genesis would be known for later on, but I really enjoy this, anyway. It starts out with a bluesy piano and some snapping as though they were doing a production of West Side Story. Then, the piano starts to play a little more theatrically, and little boy Peter Gabriel comes in and sings a tuneful melody! The full strings accompany it as well as some cheesy string and horn instrumentation. ...It's really weird hearing Genesis do a song like this, but it's also kinda awesome. I love cheesy '60s pop music!

A Winter's Tale A-

Another deathly charming song. Technically a bonus track, so I guess it shouldn't have any say in what I give the album's main score! The chorus is pretty awesome, again, and it manages to pick up a little bit of steam even though the instrumentation seems a bit too muted at times in order for it to be the most effective. But they still do a pretty good job with what they had!

One Eyed Hound A-

Hey, this one's pretty good! It's a little bit folky, and it has a pretty cool melody! Once again, Gabriel's lyrics are quite good, and the way he sings them makes them seem very important. How does he always seem to be able to do this? There isn't anything particularly special about the arrangements. Just a strummy guitar, ya know.


Trespass (1970)

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Trespass

Looking For Someone A-

Most listeners are going to think this is a bloody boring song. Just a warning. It's very long, at seven minutes, and it seems to ramble on without ever really delivering interesting melodies. But I like it anyway. I like the quiet mystical way that it begins, all those dramatic crescendos (complimented wonderfully by the tight drum rolls of their new drummer John Mayhew), and those very long-winded and rather unpredictable instrumental interludes. There seems to be plenty of interesting ideas in these instrumental passages even though they were obviously pretty limited instrumentalists and they didn't have a wide array of instruments to work with. There's nothing more than drums, guitars, keyboards. Again, most people are going to find this to be desperately boring, so this ain't for Genesis beginners. The lyrics aren't great, however. They seem pretty vague.

White Mountain B

My main problem with this song is they don't change their patterns very much. This song is either a light strummy acoustic song or a faster-paced and more dramatic strummy song featuring a terribly dull drum track. I get a little tired of the constant shifts between these sections as well. Right after coming from the fast-paced section, it will always suddenly stop, leaving me with a bit of motion sickness. The interlude sections needed more to them as well. For example, the flute solo that Peter Gabriel gives us is nice, but it would have been nicer if he were playing an actual melody and not just filling up space. The lyrics are really geeky—it's some sort of fantasy story about a wolf who goes on some barely decipherable quest.

Visions of Angels A-

Hear that nice piano melody that opens this? It's memorable, it's pretty, it's pleasant. That's all I ask of them! After that point, they slow it down and Gabriel sings this mystical little tune about seeing angels and God. Moving back and forth between the quiet and loud sections seems much more natural than it did on the previous track. And they brought in some nicely done drama with elaborate instrumental sections. Again, it's pretty clear these guys weren't the greatest instrumentalists on the planet... They seem pretty loose throughout. Banks' piano patterns are never very inventive. But it all works, and the track flows pretty nicely. As an incurable egghead, I like listening to this. I like their vision. And I like angels, too. Well, not the evil ones.

Stagnation B+

If you haven't turned off the album by this point, chances are you're going to enjoy the crap out of this one too. It could have been more exciting and eventful. Maybe they could have brought in interesting melodies or more engaging instrumentalists. Though Tony Banks' bendy synthesizer noodle is sort of cool, and I like those very subtle throat singing noises that I start to pick up halfway through. But this is a perfectly nice song to sit back and soak up. You're not going to get much else out of it, but as far as I'm concerned, that's a wonderful quality. It's uneventful, surely, but it never grows tedious to me.

Dusk B

Boring or insanely pleasant? Only YOU can decide that one. Of course this four-minute folky song with a marginal melody and long-drawn out flute and mellotron notes. Not anything that would surprise you after sitting through this whole album already! But as long as we're here lazing around on this sunny afternoon, you'd might as well let this song charm the pants off of you. ...If you're anything like me, you're completely nude right now.

The Knife A

Alright! It seems that Genesis finally decided to get off their Bri'ish bums and do something! You can tell that Tony Banks had to raise his heart-rate slightly to play those incredibly menacing organ patterns at the beginning of this, and Peter Gabriel seems to have written lyrics about violent things. (Something about a revolution, I'd wager.) The effect of this is that it immediately captures my attention, which is something that many of these songs don't do. ...Naturally, this being a Genesis song, there is a pretty lengthy instrumental interlude that never does anything truly interesting, but at least they keep a tense atmosphere going, and Peter Gabriel delivers one of his nicer flute solos! And that guitar solo in the final third is quite gruff. The instrumentals are nothing particularly great compared to other bands, but they actually give it a respectable go here. All in all, this is a highly respectable song, and an entertaining one to boot.


Nursery Cryme (1971)

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Nursery Cryme

The Musical Box A+

Oh man. This is 10 minutes long! We're really getting progressive now!! From the opening chords, you can tell that Genesis polished their act substantially. Not that things on Trespass weren't excellent, but that gentle, pastoral feeling I get from those opening chords immediately gives me that impression. Their textures are more finely crafted (instead of being clunkier, which is what I thought of Trespass most of the way through), and the songs are more smoothly developed. I remember most of my favorite songs from Trespass seemed to be crescendo after crescendo, which I liked. But this song seems to limit crescendos, perhaps to make them seem more powerful, which is a tactic that works as well! I suppose the beginning drags on a little bit, but the textures are beautiful and it contains a number of interesting melodies. Midway through, things get more dramatic and violent. ...Right there you can tell why they wanted to get a new drummer. Good old Phil Collins could do fills like a kung-fu master! All in all, this is a beautiful song, and if this was the only reason Genesis is one of rock's most highly celebrated bands, then I'd be with it right there. ...But, boy would they ever top this!

For Absent Friends A-

A nice, laid-back folk song! It isn't even two minutes long, but it has such a strong melody that it makes enough of an impression to strike me as “memorable.” You can't say that about everything, you know. I wish Joan Baez were more like this.

The Return of the Giant Hogweed A-

Here is another epic-length Genesis song that's pure awesome from beginning to end. I don't seem to like it as much as “The Musical Box” because it lacks the transition between the calm, beautiful parts and the more tense passages. This song is pretty much just one intense passage. On that same note, however, I might understand why some listeners might prefer this one. ...I suppose some might have thought the calm parts were “boring.” ...Yeah, like anyone thinks early Genesis is boring. Once again, these guys seemed to figure out what they were doing. The instrumentals are tight and expertly played. Tony Banks, who seemed a bit rough all throughout Trespass has a nice handle on those keyboards. And of course, Phil Collins, one of the great drummers out there, comes up with so many inventive fills throughout that it'll make your head spin. My biggest criticism of this is the themes, which don't seem especially memorable. Perhaps the instrumental interlude in the final third is a tad overextended without there being anything greatly interesting in it. But that's just nitpicking. This is still positively wonderful compared to most prog acts. The textures throughout are excellent.

Seven Stones B+

The fact that I'm fighting the urge to give this song an A is evident that I am way too far into my Genesis fandom to even think straight. But I suppose that this song isn't nearly as exciting, epic or as melodic as the others. The melody is quite good and the way they present it is fun to listen to, in particular that classic Mellotron sound and those angelic, layered vocals. (Hey, is it a coincidence that Peter Gabriel shares his name with an archangel?) Comparatively speaking, this is a minor moment in Genesis' discography, so I guess that just means it's beautiful as opposed to awe-inspiring.

Harold the Barrel A

I don't think anyone accused Peter-Gabriel-era of being pop music, but here is a nice, three-minute ditty with a hella catchy melody and a beat you can (probably) dance to. The piano is upbeat, it meanders like a showtune, and some of the vocals are pretty goofy, which I suppose means this probably wouldn't have gone anywhere on the radio. ...But this was 1970s England, so anything was possible, I guess. Even though this song is only three minutes long, there are so many sections in it that it's boggling my mind! They probably could have come up with half an album based on the textures and tunes they squished in here.

Harlequin B+

Man, this is beautiful. It's not very eventful, and it seems somewhat pale compared to Harold the Barrel, but you cannot argue with this melody! Like “For Absent Friends” this is a laid-back folk-ballad with a great, pastoral atmosphere and interesting lyrics that tell a story. So, get back in ye easy chair and let these guys sing to your heart for a few minutes!

The Fountain of Salamacis A

The grand finale. This is probably better than most of the songs I give A+s to, but you also have to realize that I have listened to Genesis' discography so much that I'm basically comparing this to their future masterpieces. So, please excuse me!! What I like most about Genesis is not only their ability to create such songs that come off as undeniably epic, but they do it keeping interesting melodies and they develop it so well that it never gets boring to listen to. Those huge Mellotron chords Tony Banks throws in there at times might have been a bit much, but I love them for the life of me. Nothing gets more epic than huge Mellotron chords! All throughout this piece, Phil Collins really gets to strut his stuff... All those freaking complicated fills he tosses in there completely blows Genesis' previous drummer out of the water. No wonder this guy would get such a huge, piece-of-crap smash hit in the '80s called “Sussudio.” Karma owed him something.


Foxtrot (1972)

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Foxtrot

Watcher of the Skies A

This song is pretty much the entire reason I turned into an egghead. I was a perfectly normal person in summer 2002, I think, until I went to Best Buy and picked up this prog album. It took me a dozen dedicated listens for this song (and the others) to fully sink in, but once they did, I'm pretty sure it changed the way I think. The ominous organ chords that begin the song always seem to draw me back into this bizarre fantasy world that only exists in my mind. These chords go on for quite awhile (normal people would say *too long*), and it isn't until the 2:20 mark when Peter Gabriel finally starts to sing! Of course his melody wanders dramatically, since his lyrics delve very deeply into very important philosophical matters! The instrumentation sounds very tight and very complex throughout this song, and that regularly pulsating bass makes it pretty lively and snappy throughout. This frequently and dramatically shifts between quiet and loud sections so masterfully that it never even for one millisecond grows tiring. (OK, a lot of people beg to differ, but any true egghead would agree with me.) Also. Phil Collins is pretty much the greatest drummer ever. HOLY GOD, LISTEN TO THE WAY HE DOES ALL THOSE COMPLEX, TIGHT ROLLS!!! I mean, I like him so much as a prog-rock drummer, I vow not to curse the next time I hear someone play “Sussudio.” ...Alright, never mind. I'm never very good with vows...

Time Table A+

I'm pretty sure a lot of my fellow eggheads are rolling their eyes at me giving “Time Table” a higher score than “Watcher of the Skies.” Yes, “Watcher of the Skies” is a brilliant epic masterpiece, but “Time Table” is a song that I actually want to sing away with. (And I confess I frequently do!) It's nice to know that they weren't only able to write these intense epic progressive rock tracks, but they could also sit back from time to time and just deliver nice, folky pop songs. And don't you just love Tony Banks' heartwarming one-finger piano solos? This is pretty much the greatest song in the world.

Get 'Em Out By Friday A+

Yup, most prog fanatics probably consider “Time Table” more of an intermission between these sprawling, dramatic prog tracks! This is nearly nine minutes long and 100 percent entertaining the whole way through. Even the melody is pretty catchy, and Gabriel gives a damn fine play acting performance. The musical interludes are just as entertaining as the vocal melodies... Tony Banks' organ noodles sound tight and actually play catchy riffs, and whenever there's a guitar solo in here, it rules the day. Maybe it gets a little slow in the middle with those slow plodding organs and sad flutes, but....... I actually really like the slow parts. I know, I've listened to this album so many times that it's probably unhealthy! (...Oh, and I've easily listened to Selling England By the Pound three times as much as this! ...I'm getting ahead of myself...)

Can-Utility and the Coast Liners A-

You might want to call this another one of their twinkly ballads in the same vein as “Time Table” except it seems more serious and it's not nearly as tightly played. In fact, the instrumentation is pretty much a disappointment compared to these other songs and it perhaps seems more suited for Nursery Cryme. On the other hand, the melody is memorable, and I'm pretty easily able to get caught up in these dramatic crescendos. Oh, I'm such a pushover for Genesis crescendos!

Horizons

This is a two minute acoustic guitar instrumental! I remember Yes did something like this once, but this is better! It warms my stupid heart! Yes sir, Genesis is 100 billion times better than Yes!!! (Hah... I just know I'm picking a fight with someone. Bring it on!)

Supper's Ready A+

I love supper! What I don't love it typing the full name of this song. Either give your prog suites one simple name or split them up into different tracks! Anyway, this 23-minute sprawler is pretty much the most amazing song that ever lived. (I say that about a lot of songs, but as I'm listening to it, that's what it bloody feels like.) Right away Gabriel starts it singing an amazingly hooky melody over these beautiful, pastoral guitar textures. Of course a 23-minute prog song wouldn't be a 23-minute prog song if it didn't have extended instrumental passages in it. Perhaps not the most technically amazing things on the planet, but I never ever get bored listening to these. They sound amazingly polished and quite a startling step up from the already pretty amazingly done Nursery Cryme. Oh man...! This is the sort of song I like to close my eyes, listen to, and just imagine. There are a lot of songs I do that to, but not all of them are 23 bloody minutes long!


Genesis Live (1973)

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Genesis Live

Watcher of the Skies A

Peter Gabriel sounds like he's enjoying himself, but his vocals seem a bit too quiet over the instrumentals. That's a common complaint I have with live albums, and it's the generic reason I rarely buy into these things. On the other hand, Gabriel continues to sound like he's play acting, and he sounds like he's having a lot of fun with this. Sure, Genesis music is pretentious as hell, but Gabriel has the nice ability to sound like he's not taking it more seriously than necessary. The instrumentals were probably done better in the studio, but the live performances seem slightly more grimey, so I wouldn't be surprised if there are a few fans lurking around who prefer this version. Most importantly, this was a great song to begin with, and they do all they can to make it sound awesome in concert. This is quite a treat if you know this song already but you want to hear a slightly different but equally good version of it. You don't hear the audience much at all... except at the beginning and end... which is nice.

Get 'Em Out By Friday A

Gabriel's lead vocals are a hoot, and he's doing the play acting more intensely than he was in the studio. That's amazing since he was probably wearing a heavy costume at the time, and perhaps even prancing around a bit on the stage. As far as my limited, non-photographic memory can tell, they're playing mostly the same thing that they were in the studio. I seem to be marveling over the same things, anyway. Phil Collins is still a crackerjack drummer, and I love how they weave themselves masterfully in and out of crescendos. (Most people who hate early Genesis find the quiet parts of their songs tedious... But I really get into it!!!) They do sound really great live, which surprised me at first for some reason. I guess they didn't sound so great in Trespass, but they've clearly improved since then. They're bona fide professional live musicians!

Return of the Giant Hogweed A

Probably safe to say that Gabriel's vocals are loads more fun than they were in the studio. I almost wonder if they go over-the-top at times, but …...... eh, this is Peter Gabriel and I don't often get the impression that he's having this much fun when he sings. It was a weaker song in its original form than the previous two, but they've actually improved it quite significantly here! Notably, I wrote that I was bored with the final third in the studio version, but they completely removed the boring bits and made it rock. Simply put, the guitars are louder and harder. Nicely done! I wish they let that guitar solo rip like that in the studio version! Did they improve it? I'd say so. Phil Collins does those thundering rolls at the very end, and he totally brought down the house!

The Musical Box A

Is that a joke Peter Gabriel says at the beginning of this? Michael Rutherford apparently slipped up and played a note on his bass by accident, and Gabriel announces dryly “That was an unaccompanied bass pedal solo from Michael Rutherford.” These people with dry senses of humor... you don't think they have a sense of humor at all until they crack a joke. Anyway, this is easily one of the most moving and pastoral songs from Genesis' early albums, and they do a very nice job recreating that feeling in the live setting. God, I love soaking up these beautiful, quiet textures they brought us in their stage performances, and their crescendos are just as exciting as ever. Really, it's impeccable that they're able to make such nice, intricate textures... I figured that was more of a studio creation on their part, but I was clearly mistaken. These guys rule live.

The Knife A

Appropriately so, this live rendition sounds much sharper and edgier than that somewhat loose and uncertain version that we saw in Trespass. I wouldn't call this song the highlight of Genesis Live, but I'd say this is the best actual reason to own it. Gabriel sounds much more engaged with his singing, and the guitars almost start to rock out in a heavy metal way. The musical interludes have been made more entertaining, too, particularly with plenty of air-guitar-worthy solos.


Selling England By the Pound (1973)

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Selling England By the Pound

Dancing With the Moonlight Knight A+

It starts out sounding like an a cappella Medieval ballad for the first few seconds. Ever so gracefully, pastoral acoustic guitars, light mellotrons and pianos build on as Peter Gabriel continues to sing a warm, wandering melody. Along with the addition of instruments, Gabriel's singing starts to get more tense and dramatic and his melody continues to have its fair share of hooks. Eventually a complicated and fast-paced instrumental interlude takes off, and it's exciting and interesting. The guitar solos are amazingly tight and intriguing, and Tony Banks' finds some really nice synthesizer tones to noodle around on. In the final third, it suddenly stops and grows calmer as ringing acoustic guitars and wispy synthesizers weave in and out to create a heavenly texture ...I'll tell ya, these guys came a long way from their relatively amateurish instrumentation standards in Trespass; you almost wouldn't believe it. They've even improved since Foxtrot if that was even possible. I'm sure I've listened to this song more than 100 times, and I never grew tired of it.

I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) A+

Pfft! Who says early Genesis didn't have pop songs? This is as catchy and hummable as any of their '80s pop classics, as catchy and hummable as some of them were. The chorus is one that I find myself singing along with to the top of my lungs while I'm listening to it in the car (and then I tone that down when I come to traffic lights). If you like songs just for the melody, this song has it. But there are plenty of treasures to be found in its instrumentation, including the thick synthesizers, the woody drum rhythm, an awesome flute solo in the final third, a soulful vocal performance from Gabriel, really good skipping bass guitar... I mean, I can just listen to the song for the bass guitar, and I'm entertained. (I feel kind of bad for not pointing out Michael Rutherford's bass earlier on in my Genesis reviews... Maybe I'm still a little pissed about that one time I listened to a Mike + The Mechanics album...)

Firth of Fifth A+

The extended piano solo at the beginning of this was one of my favorite parts of this album when I first bought it. I still think that's neat, and it's one of Tony Banks' most shining moments with this group, but now I start to somewhat nod my head in agreement with people who say that it's a bit too long and emotionless. Now of course I've listened to this album so many times that every note of the piano solo is engrained in me, so I wouldn't change anything... I spent way too much time talking about the piano solo... The song as a whole is another one of Genesis' masterful prog-rock tunes that wander around exploring different emotions and textures, and it never grows uninteresting to me for one millisecond throughout its near 10 minute running length. Whenever Peter Gabriel decides to sing (which isn't that often), it's hooky and dramatic. The rest of this is mostly a bunch of solos, but they're all completely melodic and completely absorbing. Gabriel's tense flute sounds like it's undergoing some existential crisis, Steve Hackett's guitar solo is beautiful and seems bigger than the world, and Tony Banks gets another chance to shine with a dazzling piano solo. This is epic, thunderous, beautiful, tense, and one of early Genesis' most shining works.

More Fool Me A

I can't really understand why so many people hate this song. ...I guess it's Phil Collins' first songwriting credit with the band, and we cannot forget the horridness he inflicted upon '80s teenagers with “Sussudio,” but this is an exceptionally pretty acoustically driven song. Maybe more could have been done with the verses section as even I think it's a little bit bare, but the chorus soars! Even Phil Collins sounds earnest and genuine taking the lead vocals.

The Battle of Epping Forest A

Have I cooled off on this song over the years? ...Well, hardly since I'm still utterly grabbed by this enough to award it a full deserved A, but on the other hand this doesn't seem to be as intricately woven as the opening three songs. The transitions are sometimes jumpy, and there aren't any particularly arresting instrumental solos as we saw in the other songs. Unlike the other songs, Gabriel sings through the vast majority of this, and the song's overarching emotion is rather tense and there aren't any particularly nice “pastoral” moments where we can breathe easy. (There's a folky bit in the middle, but I still find that tense.) I can see how some people can grow tired listening to this for nearly 12 minutes. On the other hand, this song completely rules! (Don't you like my arguments?) Peter Gabriel's vocal melody contains nothing but strong hooks, the textures continue to evolve throughout the song thus consistently keeping it fresh and absorbing throughout. It's not as good or as sweeping as the other lengthy prog epics on this album, but this is still one solid and fascinating song. Phil Collins' drumming is definitely more evolved here, and any real drum aficionado will drool over all those complicated fills he's doing all over the place. I can't even think the fills that fast.

After the Ordeal A

After all that tense singing in the previous track, Genesis take some time to sit back and concentrate on those more gentler pastoral sounds that we've been missing. The first part of this instrumental contains light scaling pianos and tinkly acoustic guitars playing through some crazy chord progressions. The final half of it features a very soaring and memorable Steve Hacket guitar solo. How beautiful!

The Cinema Show A+

I used to actually think this song was somewhat boring (unlike most people who listen to this album who seem to think the whole thing is boring), but I've slowly grown to love this as much as I love anything. It doesn't evolve quite as quickly or unpredictably as “Dancing With the Moonlight Knight,” but there is a gradual push from its sweet, ethereal beginnings to a terrifically thunderous conclusion. And, really, all of these textures are so breathtakingly beautiful that I wouldn't have even wanted this piece to evolve quicker. One of the main reasons I think I've warmed up to it is specifically the beginning, which gives me such a happy nostalgic feeling that it has me close to tears depending on when I'm listening to it. The instrumentation is beautiful filled with gentle textures, and Peter Gabriel's sweetly sung lyrics are like he's reading fairy tales to his children by the fireside. As the drums an instrumentals pick up, my senses pick up with them, and the lyrics seem to grow more dramatic and grandiose as a result. I hang onto every note here, which isn't easy for an 11-minute song! Especially me, as someone who has self-diagnosed case of mild ADD.

Aisle of Plenty

As the thunderous portions of “The Cinema Show” peak, it slows down to a very brief acoustic rendition of the main English folk melody of “Dancing With the Moonlight Knight.” That gives the album a nice circular feeling, which I appreciate a lot!


The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (1974)

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The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway

The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway A+

What an explosive beginning! This song gets me right away with that fade-in of that busy piano texture, which sparkles. Then of course Peter Gabriel's voice comes in like some sort of great god, and he sings over it these cryptic, pretentious lyrics! (I went through these lyrics in a very detailed fashion at one point in my life, and I'm not really interested in trying to summarize everything for you here... I'll leave that to you! These lyrics are all very poetic and ambiguous, so you'll have fun with them.) This is the best possible way to begin a rock opera.

Fly on a Windshield A-

Right away, it's pretty clear to me why this album never struck me quite like Selling England By the Pound always did. Of course this is an excellent song—very atmospheric and very brooding—but it doesn't quite grab me like all the songs on that album did. It starts with a Medieval folk intro and it eventually explodes to a thunderous, drum-heavy bit. Great atmospheres, but I suppose the problem I have is that the vocal melody is “eh.”

Broadway Melody of 1974 A

And the previous song leads directly into this... Why didn't they just call them the same song? I guess they were tired of playing the old prog games. ...Immediately, this track seems to have a little thicker atmosphere and it continues to have the drama packed onto it. The vocal melody continues to be memorable and well performed by Gabriel. This probably isn't going to be one of the main moments you remember from this album, but it's a good one.

Cuckoo Cocoon A+

This two-minute track, on the other hand, is probably going to be one that you remember. They create such a beautiful, gentle, and absorbing atmosphere that I find myself immediately grabbed by it. Gabriel turns in an especially pleasant flute solo. Nothing but warmness. I suppose like the cocoon.

In the Cage A

Alright! Now we have an eight minute track, which is more like what I'm used to from these guys, and this is quite a song. It starts out tense and dramatic with Gabriel's brilliant showman singing an excellent melody. The texture is tight and continues to evolve, which keeps it refreshed and always engaging to my ear. The rather lengthy instrumental in the middle seems somewhat stiff to me, particularly Banks' synth-solo, but that's just a nitpick.

The Grand Parade A

Unlike most of these other songs, this actually gives off a Broadway showtune vibe to me. It starts out with a tiny marching drum and stiff synthesizers as Gabriel whispers the narration in that very showtune sort of way. It gradually gets louder and spookier, and this evil deep-voiced demon person joins in the vocals. Apparently Brian Eno helped with this production, which I suppose we can notice because of all the sound effects in this.

Back in N.Y.C. B+

Not so well instrumented like most of these other songs. The first half of it merely contains a single arpeggiating synthesizer and a rather nicely complicated drum texture. But this seems too bare and too dull for me. Two minutes into it, a piano pipes up and other synthesized sounds. The guitars pipe up way too late—when the song is already half over. Gabriel does a nice job singing it, absolutely screaming his head off at the beginning. It's slightly obnoxious, but for some reason I'm buying everything he does. It picks up some nice energy at the end, but this isn't memorable. It seems to drag on for a bit too long.

Hairless Heart A

After a dark and energetic song such as “Back to N.Y.C.” it's nice that they take a moment to deliver this calmer and more beautiful instrumental to help us recuperate. They might have been better off using a harp rather than a synthesizer, but the delicate textures are still dazzling to my ears. Even the main synth melody during the louder portions of this track are memorable to me.

Counting Out Time A+

I made a comment in my earlier review of this album that this could have been a stadium rock number. Well, the melody is way too meandering and complicated for a band like Foreigner or Journey to have been able to do! But it's kind of cool to hear what Gabriel-era Genesis sounds like when they try out such numbers. The verses section is a very catchy, bouncy pop number and there are some very cool power electric guitar chords in one of the bridges. (That's where I got the stadium rock connection.) They use some quirky instrumentation in here, too, playing around with some amusingly watery synthesizers in the middle. For an album that's supposedly off-puttingly serious, this is pretty quirky.

The Carpet Crawlers A+

Oh man!!! This is the most beautiful song I've ever heard! This is the sort of album that earns a lot of A+s, but this A+ is slightly stronger than the others. A lot of people like to give Tony Banks a lot of flack for monopolizing Genesis songs with his synthesizers, but listening to that gorgeous texture he comes up with immediately arresting. Gabriel similarly comes in with a brilliantly beautiful and ethereal vocal performance, and his melody is utterly gorgeous. The guitars make appearances in the background, playing a few dreamy, extended notes, and they're perfect there. What a great song.

The Chamber of 32 B

After the breathtaking genius of the previous track, it's a little disconcerting to hear this rather clumsy song. The instrumentation is loud and big without delivering the nice textures, and the melody is rather weak. The beginning reminds me of a mediocre mid-career Band song, and even the progressive turns in the second half of the song don't dazzle me as much as Genesis has been known to... Its five-and-a-half minute running length seems over-stretched...

Lilywhite Lilith A-

This is big and loud and fun to listen to for the most part. The vocal melody is pretty good—the chorus is pretty catchy, at least. The spooky mellotrons in the middle of the song really win me over as well as that rather evil sounding stabbing guitar helping keep the rhythm. Naturally, Gabriel's vocals are convincingly dramatic, which fits the mood of this.

The Waiting Room A

This track is nothing but psychedelic sound effects! For a track like that, this is pretty good. We get bubbly sounds, clangy sounds, airplane sounds, twinkly sounds, squeaky sounds, wild bending sounds, zippy sounds, bloopy sounds... Halfway through some music starts to fade in, which sounds cool when it comes in. Although I suppose they could have had a more interesting melody to this instrumental part as opposed to just pounding.

Anyway A+

More of those beautiful Tony Banks textures! This one's played on the regular piano, which is nice. Gabriel gives another passionate, dramatic vocal performance, and he sings one of the more hookier melodies on this album. The instrumentation is particularly nice, with a few nicely placed synthesizers here and there, and Collins coming out with some very nice drumming patterns. Given that this song is only three minutes long, it's amazing they fit so much stuff in here. A dramatic crescendo in the middle and a thick, memorable guitar solo. Then a reprise of the main theme at the end. Quite good!!

The Supernatural Anaesthetist B+

My only complaint about this one is the instrumental interlude seems awfully clunky, although it does contain one of the nicer guitar solos on the album. I suppose the main vocal melody (whenever that pops up) might have been improved slightly as well. It definitely seems like they didn't polish this up when it's compared to most of these other songs...

The Lamia A-

This is disappointing in a way. It's one of the album's more lengthy tracks at seven minutes, but it doesn't really take off for me. It's an extremely dramatic piano ballad with a rather forgettable melody. But at least Gabriel gives a passionate vocal performance, and the instrumentation is very nice. They're continuing to use those delicate keyboards, which makes it a rather sweet listen. The loud sections are also well placed and helps keep this song sounding fresh.

Silent Sorrow in Empty Boats A-

I listen to this album quite a lot, and this instrumental never seems to bother me. But as I'm scoring the track reviews right now, I have to note that there isn't a whole lot going on in here. It's a synthesizer instrumental that creates a good atmosphere. It gets more absorbing as some fake vocals fade in and out making me think that I've entered some sort of paradise. That's a nice feeling that it gives me, but halfway through the main thing that happens is six uninteresting synthesizer notes being repeated over and over again. You'll hear some interesting things in the background if you listen closely, but it seems like it's too little.

The Colony of Slippermen A-

It's very well-written, and I have to give them all the credit they deserve for creating interesting textures and atmospheres, but this isn't moving me a whole lot. The first two minutes of it is another synthscape, featuring some rather goofy bubbly and rubbery sounds. After that point, an actual song pipes up, and it's rather. The melody isn't much to speak of, but it never grows boring, because these guys know how to constantly change their textures to keep it interesting. Tony Banks turns in a few interesting synthesizer solos, but it seems like he was perhaps a little too loud at times. Let the guitarist noodle, too!!!! This song makes a good, entertaining listen, but it doesn't inspire my imagination enough. At more than eight minutes, you'd think a Genesis song would.

Ravine A-

Another brief atmospheric track. For ambient music, this is alright. It's rather spooky and they make some nice wind effects and even give it tone with a whistling synthesizer. It's not long enough to be boring, but it doesn't make an incredible impression on me.

The Light Dies Down on Broadway A

This is a variation of the title track, and a pretty good one, too. It contains nothing of the energy and boldness as the first one did, and it isn't supposed to. This seems like it's supposed to be more of a world-worn afterthought, if we're to believe anything from the rather tattered state of Gabriel's vocal performance.

Riding the Scree A-

I promise you that I enjoy this album very much as I'm listening to it while driving or studying or something. As I'm studying it now, I'm not finding this to be extremely impressive apart from some really nice drumming and a lot of rather dazzling synthesizer work. The vocal melody isn't greatly memorable, though, and this is pretty weak on the atmospheres. I'm still glad this thing exists, but it seems like they were having trouble finding reasons to make this a double album. Other than to advance the plot, I guess, which I've been ignoring!

In the Rapids A

This folky song has a nice melody and an extremely well-done dramatic vocal performance from Gabriel! It's the sort of song that seems to start pleasantly, but then it grows more intense as it goes along. I'm probably expecting too much out of it by wishing it were more texturally developed, but this is just a good song. The melody is enjoyable, too.

It A+

I've had a few people over the years send me e-mails saying that this song was nothing more than a dumb parody of the rest of the album. Surely, the flashy instrumentation seems a little bright and crowd-pleasing, I suppose, but I find that it's best not to take such things as rock operas too seriously. I find this thing to be quite fun! The melody at least is catchy, and Gabriel's vocal performance is exciting. All in all, I suppose they could have ended it with something more epic, more awe-inspiring, but that doesn't make this any less of a good song. So there.


A Trick of the Tail (1976)

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A Trick of the Tail

Dance on a Volcano A

While I will never concede that Collins-led Genesis was better than Gabriel-led Genesis by any stretch of the imagination, there is at least some appeal to hearing them instrument their songs more simply. Certainly, Genesis retreated quite a bit from those amazing textures they created throughout Selling England By the Pound and The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway by orchestrating this with very plain and simple guitar and synthesizer patterns. Nonetheless, the actual notes these instruments play are quite compelling. The epic guitar riff followed by that huge synthesizer WHOOSH that surfaces throughout the song is quite memorable. The meat of the song is quite exciting and snappy, and Collins gives a solid vocal performance. He's not as immediately engaging as Gabriel was, but he's certainly fun to listen to. Most importantly, the melody is catchy and worth humming along with. Collins' drumming continues to be rather complex, though, and I'd say was just as good as his drumming had always been.

Entangled A+

I've been under the impression that this would have made an excellent Simon & Garfunkel ditty. It's slowly paced, it's atmospheric, it's jangly and mostly acoustic, it's mystifying, the vocals are sweet and gentle, and it's not terribly complicated. That also leads me to continue proclaiming that the music on this album isn't nearly as exotically textured as earlier Genesis albums. Nonetheless, a great song is a great song is a great song. The hooks are warm and I want to hum along with this. I'm sure Gabriel would have given a much more warm-hearted and personality ridden vocal performance to this, but I like listening to Collins sing this, too. Collins might have been the dork who wrote “Sussudio,” but he had a likable singing voice. The song length, at six and a half minutes, would be something that might work against it since it doesn't change a whole lot through the course of the song. However, this thing is so enchanting that I never grow tired of it, and that haunting Mellotron solo at the end surely helped matters.

Squonk A-

There's a strange song title although a “Squonk” is apparently some sort of mystical figure that people actually talk about. At least they weren't writing songs about dragons or unicorns! Since I was on Wikipedia anyway to learn what a “Squonk” was, I learned that this was the song that Phil Collins sung to convince the other band members that he was suitable to take over as the lead singer. I also read, oddly enough, that this was intended to be some sort of take-off on Led Zeppelin. I can't say I hear Led Zeppelin in this, but perhaps that's because it was too well-written! It's also not guitar heavy at all; the riffs are being played by cute sounding organs. (Genesis must've had some contempt for Steve Hackett! They do a song dedicated to Led Zeppelin and Tony Banks plays the riff!)

Mad Man Moon B+

What a beautiful melody, especially at the beginning. But other than that, this is the album's ultimate proof that Genesis lost a lot of their majesty when Peter Gabriel left. The textures sound so simple and, ack, even bare. The song evolves fluidly through crescendos and dizzying chord progressions just like a Genesis prog-rock tune is supposed to—and yes, they have some good ones—but why the hell doesn't this song put me in a trance? It's well written, the melody is good, the performances (what's here) is alright. But I'm not starry-eyed about this in the slightest. Aw!

Robbery, Assault and Battery B+

Once again, there's no doubt whatsoever that these songs are well-written and filled to the brim with memorable hooks. The quickly paced textures they deliver throughout this lighthearted song are fun to listen to, and Collins sounds like he's trying to ape Peter Gabriel's performance-based singing. (Collins attempts at performance-singing are ultimately feeble, however!) It's a fun song to listen to, and I don't have too many complaints about it, other than it doesn't unlock any secret doors. (There's my ultimate fanboy statement about early Genesis! They open up secret compartments in my brain!)

Ripples B+

Beautiful! Especially that chorus that soars out over that relatively more uneventful verses structure that is instrumented minimally with some jangly acoustic guitars. I don't like the melody quite as much as “Mad Man Moon,” but as I said, this album is certainly not lacking in the melody department. My main complaint, once again, is the instrumentation. The beginning of the song starts to bore me a little bit. The extended prog-rock instrumental interlude midway through makes a pleasant listen, but it's not terribly inventive nor as exciting. I find myself spacing out in the middle of it whereas the interludes in Foxtrot and Selling England By the Pound have me holding onto every moment.

A Trick of the Tail A

Quite easily the most playful and fun song of the lot, although I don't find it quite as enchanting as “Entangled!” I suppose people who thought early Genesis were too complicated might enjoy the relatively simpler patterns they adopt here while keeping its textures evolving. The length is relatively short (four and a half minutes) and they find quite a lot of things to do in that space. The lyrics tell a story, and Collins does a formidable job carrying out the vocals. (Although what I'm imagining Gabriel doing here doesn't even compare to how Collins is singing this!) Without a doubt, this is a fun and endearing song.

Los Endos A-

I read that Genesis were seriously considering going on as a purely instrumental group, which might not have been a terrible idea if their instrumentation was as colorful and imaginative as it was on their previous three albums! But this almost purely instrumental song makes quite a solid listen. The instrumentals are bold and punchy, they come out with instrumental themes that stick in my head. They even revisit the same riff that they opened the album with to tie the whole thing together. I wouldn't quite lump this in as a must-hear Genesis classic, but it's well played and entertaining. I might even call it epic. (The reason this isn't quite an instrumental is because I hear Collins singing at a couple points deeply in the background.)


Wind & Wuthering (1977)

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Wind & Wuthering

Eleventh Earl of Mar A-

Phil Collins definitely seems more engaged as a lead singer than he was in A Trick of the Tail, seemingly attempting to put some excitement and drama into his vocals. He was still no match for Peter Gabriel, but we all appreciated the thought at least. Where Genesis really started falling short was the instrumentation. In their earlier albums, I could gush for paragraphs about their warm textures and how interesting some of their instrumentation was. Here, it's mostly just Tony Banks coming in with plain synthesizer and organ tones. In a way, I suppose, he was trying to clean it up a little bit, but he ended up just making it sterile. Luckily, the tune is pretty good, it has a few catchy riffs, and it has some nice drumming to keep the experience punchy. Its development is smooth and slick. Maybe a little bit too much! I wish it would smack me around some more!

One For the Vine C+

Zzzzzzz! I've gotten plenty of grief from readers over the years regarding my earlier review of this album. I told a few of these readers lately that I was going to rewrite that review, so perhaps I'll end up agreeing with them in the end? Well, that's not happening. I seem to be giving these songs lower ratings than I did originally. I was probably giving them inflated grades out of respect, more than anything. This song is even longer than the previous track (10 minutes!) and not one interesting thing happens through it. I suppose there's this funny mechanical texture they suddenly bring up in the middle. I'm guessing these guys were also bored to death with the song, so they decided to brashly insert that to do something different. Phil Collins sings a wandering tune that isn't memorable at all, and the instrumentation is so bland that I'm betting these guys had a nice nap immediately after recording this in the studio. There's one point when they nearly stop playing all together, and we're left with just Phil singing very quietly. C'mon, I don't like Phil's voice that much. (Why is this track review so long? Because I'd rather listen to my fingers tap than play too close attention to this right now!)

Your Own Special Way C+

I've always seemed to have a difficult time with this one. While a fine song, its melody doesn't have any particularly striking hooks in it. The loud pop chorus helps keeps it from growing too dull, but the power of something like that can only go so far. This is a lethargically paced song that not only features deathly uninteresting instrumentation (including a tedious twinkly keyboard solo in the final third), but it's stretched past six minutes. Collins' vocal performance is especially weak here. It's like he's not projecting, or something. This sounds like an adult contemporary song, and not a particularly good one.

Wot Gorilla? B-

I heard there was some talk about Genesis turning into a purely instrumental band after Peter Gabriel left, and I suppose this is the sort of thing we would have had to look forward to. It starts out alright with some twinkly chimes and then an upbeat and exciting drum beat starts to fade in. A synthesizer theme starts to play, but it's not a terribly interesting one. Then, just as quickly as it came in, the instrumentals fade back out, and there's more of that twinkling. ...There was basically no point to this.

All in a Mouse's Night B+

This is really where a more performance-oriented lead singer would have helped matters. This seems like a terribly dramatic and artful song. The synthesizers, while still woefully plain, are bigger and provide some relatively ear-engaging textures. But old Phil Collins sings it so straight that he actually sounds out-of-place. With the exception of the volume of his voice, he sounds exactly the same singing the quiet parts as he does singing the loud parts. Other than that, the melody is fairly interesting, and I do like some of the textures. Therefore, this gets an easy pass!

Blood on the Rooftops A-

I like that acoustic guitar soloing at the beginning even though it goes a little too long. It's not a terribly fascinating guitar, and I find it a bit plain, but it is nice to hear that guy go at it without synthesizers FOR ONCE. (I guess I should listen to his solo albums, or something!) But anyway, the tune turns into something glorious when it crescendos, and... Whoah, it crescendos? I hadn't used that word to describe a Genesis song in a little while! Don't you remember when their music used to just be a roller coaster ride of crescendos? My only complaint is that they didn't do anything extremely interesting with the quieter bits. I'm mostly left hanging around waiting for the crescendos to happen. But when they do and Phil gives it a shot of his “In the Air Tonight” vocal skills, it's quite a big song!

Unquiet Slumber For the Sleepers... B-

I want to know who other than sleepers would engage in a slumber? ...Seriously, let's be grateful that Genesis never turned into a full-fledged instrumental band. While these instrumentals aren't the worst thing I ever listened to, they seem awfully pointless. Tony Banks comes in with a nice rumbly piano texture except it rumbles throughout the entire song unchanging, and it loses its muster after awhile. Even worse is he doesn't come up with a very interesting synth theme.

In That Quiet Earth B

Another instrumental, longer this time. It's more exciting than the previous track and the melodic theme is way more engaging. But I seem to have the same general complaint about it; why can't they change the texture around more? The first three minutes are basically the same upbeat and rumbly texture from beginning to end. The wailing electric guitar solo is pretty good (and it's later mimed by a synthesizer solo). The second half is heavy and jumpy although not terribly ear engaging. The synthesizer taking over as the main melody seems more interested in playing scales than finding a melody. Although those dark, buzzy instruments plodding around evilly are quite fun.

Afterglow B-

As you would probably expect, Genesis save something bombastic for the closing song, and I'm more or less able to get caught up in it. It's also pretty clear that Collins' vocal style is best used for singing the loud stuff, since he can't think of much to do with the quieter and subtler songs. I wish that they tried better coming up with a more engaging texture than the lethargic thing they play the entire time. Collins' drumming is uncharacteristically minimal apart from a few clunky fills he comes up with. This is a rather uninspired closer...


Second's Out (1977)

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Second's Out

Squonk B+

This is the song that reportedly started it all; the song that Collins sang in front of the band, convincing them that he should be the new lead singer. Some people would say this is therefore the evillest song that ever existed. All I say is that this isn't the most exciting song they could have started this with. (Even though this was apparently inspired by Led Zeppelin, I'm finding that even more harder to believe considering how sluggish this is. And they still let the organ play the riff instead of the more Zeppelin-appropriate electric guitar) ...But then again, what else were they going to start it with? They probably wanted to rely too much on the Gabriel-era stuff. Collins' vocals seem a bit quiet in the mix, but you expect that from a live album. He's trying to be playful with the material, but he's still not even close to the engaging way Gabriel carried out the vocals in Genesis Live.

The Carpet Crawlers A

Uh oh, here it comes... Evil man Phil Collins singing the Peter Gabriel stuff! ...But I don't hate him. In fact, I like his pretty vocal performance. And of course, this is an excellent song, and they do a formidable job recreating that synthesizer and guitar texture, which was the main appeal of the original song. As expected, it's a far cry from the studio version, but that's Genesis for you. (I can't believe they did the fade-out live, too... How does that even work?)

Robbery, Assault & Battery A-

This song from A Trick of the Tail might not have been my favorite, but I actually enjoy hearing this one live. (I'm not too sure if this actually improves on it, but I'm compelled to give it a higher rating.) It's fun hearing Collins sing in a playful and bouncy manner, and the more lively synthesizers and guitars make it extra fun.

Afterglow B-

Oh yes, I remember this one from Wind & Wuthering. I'm pretty sure they made that album so texturally dull just to make them easier to play live. (And that's really a poor excuse to skimp out on the instrumentation... We want live performances to sound different than the albums anyway, right?) Well, now they're playing it live, and it's just as non-exciting as the album version. Boring melody, boring synthesizer chords. It's not quite to the point of tedium, but it's still a snooze-fest.

Firth of Fifth A-

I find it hard to believe that Tony Banks allowed them to play this song live and leave out his piano solo! ...Or maybe they didn't want to haul a piano along with them? That might be the case, since he does still do that extended piano solo in the middle of this, except he's using a dull-toned synthesizer. This song starts out immediately with the vocals. Since this is from Selling England By the Pound, I'm more prone to complaining about Collins' lack of performance capabilities, which Gabriel perfected to such an art. I also seem to think that they're playing this more slowly than they did in the studio cut, but that could be just a figment of my imagination, since the instrumentation doesn't seem as intricately textured. Still, none of this lameness can take away from the fact that this is an excellent song with a good melody, and the instrumental solos are still meaningful.

I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) B+

I guess as much as I'm complaining about Phil Collins' lack of performance capabilities in his vocals, he's at least trying. He gets pretty goofy and flagrant in here, trying to be as playful as possible with the material. And this is a catchy song, no matter who's singing it. For some reason, they decided to extend the running length of this quite a bit, which meant an increase in instrumental solos. I might not object to that, except this is far closer to aimless jamming than solos that help the song develop. But you can hear the audience clapping around with it, so they were having fun at least. I'm disconnected from the Internet right now, and I'm not even bothering to look it up, but I suspect that Phil Collins took over the drums from whoever was playing it live. There's a point when the audience starts to cheer, and then the drumming suddenly becomes more interesting. So, I guess that would be a decent reason to extend this song live, but it's not entirely appealing to the audience taking this home on the live album.

The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway A+

Another great selection from their crazy rock opera! These songs sound glorious, of course, and maybe I would have preferred a live album from their tour after that album instead of the tour after Wind & Wuthering. Oh well. Collins is of course able to give loud vocal performances, so he would understandably sound fine compared to Gabriel's performance of the same song. Although naturally, his vocals aren't mixed as flawlessly and powerfully in. If I were in the audience, I would have been enthralled to hear them do this! It's one of their catchiest, most enthralling songs.

The Musical Box (Closing) B+

What, they had enough time to add extra minutes for nonsense noodling in “I Know What I Like,” but not enough time for a longer version of “The Musical Box?” Oh well, at least they made time for a three-minute version, and it's probably the song's most memorable three minutes anyway. I'm not gonna complain about it.

Supper's Ready A

I guess they couldn't do full versions of both “The Musical Box” and “Supper's Ready,” so I'm glad they decided to opt for the full-length version of this, since it's a better song. This also shows, moreover, that Phil Collins was a good choice for a replacement. I do my complaining about him, but here he is, solidly carrying this 23-minute Genesis classic right on his shoulders. And he sounds like he's enjoying singing it (and does all he can with the play acting and even seems comfortable with the goofy bits, particularly the bouncy party at the 12-minute mark), so therefore I'm enjoying listening to him sing it! They do a nice job recreating the studio version pretty much note for note.

Cinema Show A-

Once again, they do a really nice job recreating those intricate and delicate textures. In fact, since they do it so well, I have to wonder why the heck they couldn't have created more textures for Wind & Wuthering! Clearly they were capable of coming up with such things... But no, instead of being awesome, they just opted for gray synthesizer tones. Blah. The major aspect where this version pales compared to the original is, as predicted, in Collins' vocal performance. He does fine, but I've become so accustomed to Gabriel's warm rendition that he doesn't even come close! (Notice how these Selling England By the Pound selections are suffering because Gabriel's not singing them. That's what happens when I've listened to an album 50,000 times!)

Dance on a Volcano A-

Yes, back with thee, Phil Collins, to your own territory! And definitely concentrate on the A Trick of a Tail stuff, because that album rules. I've been mutilating that horse about music not sounding quite as good as the album cuts, but in spite of that, I find this version to be wholly enjoyable. Collins gives a loud and fun vocal performance, soaring wonderfully when the song demands him to. Not bad, Baldy McCollins!

Los Endos A-

BREAK OUT THE DRUMS FOR THE BIG FINALE!!! It's kind of appropriate they would end the album with this song since it did lend it that epic THIS ALBUM HATH ROCKED feeling to it in A Trick to the Tail, which it does also here. It's certainly a better choice than that horrid closer to Wind & Wuthering, “Afterglow.” I don't even care to look this up, but that loud, epic drumming gives me the impression that Phil Collins went back to the stage to show the audience what's what. And, based on the cheers and applause at the end, they were shown!


...And Then There Were Three (1978)

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...And Then There Were Three

Down and Out B+

Loud, big, sloppy, messy. It's not particularly great, but at least it's more involving than the general atmosphere of Wind and Wuthering. Phil Collins figures out how to sing in a way that's suitable to his voice: very, very loud. Nothing that requires a whole lot of musical theater... just a big old flexing of his powerful vocal chops. Their instrumentals aren't particularly interesting, at least in the way most songs on classic Genesis albums were interesting. Not a whole lot of atmosphere, but at least there's an electric guitar POUNDING throughout the song, keeping a more or less menacing beat. Banks' synthesizers are plain and boring, but they're apart of the song's overall fabric instead of just taking over the whole dang thing like they did so frequently in the previous album. Lastly, I would like to complain that the melody isn't too interesting. Perhaps it has one or two hooks in it but nothing to write home about.

Undertow B+

I still think the only reason I find this to be way better than the average song from their previous album is because this doesn't require too much vocal acrobatics out of Phil Collins. He just sings quietly in the quiet parts, and he sings loud in the loud parts. Nothing else was required. Besides that, this isn't a terrible song. It amounts to a fairly straightforward and dramatic power ballad. The verses are quiet, and the chorus soars quite well. The only problem is the melody in the verses section is mostly uninteresting. The chorus makes up for that somewhat, but the verses make it seem too long-drawn-out.

Ballad of Big B

Despite the title, this isn't a ballad, but rather it's generally rocking. We're first introduced to a tight synthesizer groove, but then an organ comes in suddenly and plays a more long-drawn-out chord progression.. This sudden jump I suppose, was reminding us that they were allegedly a prog band. (Seriously, just convert to pop, already! We all know it's coming!) Again, they do the right thing with the instrumentation and favors the large, pounding sounds of the stadium drums. Banks plays loud power chords with his organ. It's not terribly moving or enchanting, but it keeps your toes tapping.

Snowbound A

Here's the first song of the album that actually perks my ears and forces me to take heed what's going on! I took this album with me on a walk to the beach this afternoon, and I have to be honest, I wasn't paying particularly well to the album until this point. This is really where Phil Collins' strengths as a singer comes out. (I know... I'm going to get some flack for giving Phil Collins any sort of credit. But I don't give a damn! I bet you can't sing as well as he can! Unless you happen to be Peter Gabriel.) I'll tell you, this song doesn't start particularly well, consisting of Collins just singing quietly with a strummy acoustic guitar........ but when that chorus comes up, and Phil very loudly sings “Heeeeeeeey! There's a snowman! / Hey! Hey! What a snowman!” it does a lot to lift one's spirits. (That probably sounds like I'm being facetious, but I promise you I didn't do that on purpose.) Even the quiet parts in between the loud chorues are rather pretty as Banks noodling away lovingly with his little organ. (...OK, maybe that part was facetious. A little bit.) This is a very pretty song, and it takes me along for its ride.

Burning Rope B

Listening to this seven-minute song makes me realize how well-structured the previous song was. This one has trouble getting a foothold in anything. It's a lot of wandering power drums and scaling synthesizers, but I have no sense of what it's trying to accomplish as I listen to it. It doesn't draw me in at the beginning at all, and thus all the bombastic power-chords, crunchy guitars and extremely bombastic drumming just seems way over the top to me. More than anything, it just makes me lament the fact that Genesis were merely shadows of their former selves. Remember “Dancing With the Moonlit Knight?” I do! It was just a minute longer, and there was always something new and interesting around its corner. This doesn't evoke any sort of emotion. That said, as an overblown, bombastic show, it does its job well enough. The melody has a few weakish hooks in it, particularly in the chorus, which isn't bad for Genesis at this stage. I like the way Collins layers his vocals in spots, singing in both high-pitched and lower-pitched vocals.

Deep in the Motherlode A-

This is a very sluggish, synth-heavy song in which Phil Collins sings of the Wild West. (I don't know why, but I find it extremely amusing to listen to Phil Collins singing about such things.) The sluggish aspect of this song is surely a problem. The slowly pulsating synthesizers at the beginning ought to have had more going on. But at least he's singing a somewhat interesting melody. It's hardly anything you're going to be whistling to yourself after the album's through, but it catches the ear well enough as I listen to it. The quieter “prog interlude” in the middle is also nicely done as far as this album has been going. They actually take some time to create a texture and atmosphere with arpeggiating guitars and synthesizers, and Collins turns in some sweet vocal lines. That's all brought together with the return of the opening theme, except a bit more thunderous, to neatly bring it to an epic conclusion. Love it or hate it, this is an elegant piece.

Many Too Many A-

Hi there, Phil Collins! Listening to the beginning of this song just gave me an '80s flashback. Oh yeah, this is the same red-faced devil-man from No Jacket Required (In Hell), isn't it? The reason I bring such a thing up is because this is a synth-heavy pop ballad. In absolutely no way is this prog. But I don't hate it. (I give Collins a lot of flack for his '80s career, but I actually like some of it. So it's not like I'm allergic to him. I even like that one song I kept hearing on the Soundtrack of Death at the movie theater I worked at in 2004, “You'll Be in My Heart.” And there was only about two other decent songs out of about 25 that they kept on looping.) But anyway, this is a typical Phil Collins ballad. It starts out quietly and sweetly with a twinkly piano before getting loud and “passionate” in the chorus. I'm more or less brought in for the ride. It can be a bit slow moving, but the melody catches my interest, and it's quite beautiful.

Scenes From a Night's Dream B-

Zzzzzz... And no, I'm not responding to the song title. I'm responding to the boringness that emanates from this song. It's just three and a half minutes long, which typically isn't long enough for me to be completely bored with something, but Genesis seemed to manage it quite alright. Even more amazingly, this is an upbeat song with lively, arpeggiated guitars and synthesizers. Where it goes wrong is the melodies and harmonies. Their chord progressions are dead as a doornail, and there's absolutely nothing interesting about what Collins is singing. ...But at least its upbeat, and I suppose the patterns the synthesizers and guitars play throughout are shiny enough to distract me from paying sole attention to the melody.

Say It's Alright Joe B

I'm not Joe, but it's alright. Not great. Surprisingly, the star of the show is Collins himself, whose vocals at the beginning are rather sweet. Unfortunately, the instrumentation is as boring as a museum. Just old Tony Banks there playing minimally to a piano, and Rutherford coming in with some similarly minimal strums. It might not have been so terrible if Collins' melody were more interesting, but it's only mildly as such. Luckily, things pick up with a more dynamic chorus. The melody is just as forgettable, but at least they bring in the stadium drums.

The Lady Lies C

Ho hum. I'm actually glad that Genesis turned into a pop band, just to stop them from doing stuff like this. (I'll get to those so-called “prog” tracks in Invisible Touch and We Can't Dance when I get to them!) This is just phenomenally uninteresting. It's not necessarily poorly executed since the instrumentation was nicely arranged and even features Banks pounding out some elaborate piano scales at the end. But the melody is boring. It starts out as Phil sings an empty melody to a boringly bouncy electric organ. They take us through a series of crescendos, which of course is something that Genesis used to do all the time and they took me for roller coaster rides. But this time, it seems like I'm just watching the roller coaster at a distance. I see it going up and down, taking twists and turns. It's all smoothly executed. I hear the “dramatic” synthesizer solo in the middle. Collins gets “soulful” at one point. But I'm just not at all into it. It's six minutes long, and it bores me. So, blah-be-blah.

Follow You, Follow Me A-

Oh good, they redeem themselves in the final hour by simply delivering a nice little ditty. Collins turns in one of his lighter, sweeter vocal performances, and he sings a solid albeit not entirely memorable melody. The arrangements is nothing too complicated; they developed a simple, bubbly pattern and extended it basically unchanged for four minutes. It's hard to know how they created this texture, it sounds like a rhythm Banks probably created with his keyboards. This song might be rather simple, but it's cute and elegant.


Duke (1980)

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Duke

Behind the Lines B+

(I'm trying out my new bullhorn) HELLO, PEOPLE OF EARTH!!! HOW ARE YOU TODAY?!!! … I'M DOING GREAT!!! (I never know what to say when I'm in possession of a bullhorn. It's one of my tragic flaws.) Well, here is Genesis playing some Duke for us. The first half of it is a showy introduction with some flashy drums and some synthesizers playing some rather plain chords. It's sort of fun, but it's not anything I find particularly memorable. Phil Collins comes in with his vocals, similarly singing an OK but not terribly memorable melody. I mean, he's not playing any deeply memorable hooks, but he's singing it strongly with a properly dramatic touch. The backing instrumentation is playing a fun, sort of choppy rhythm, which keeps things lively. ...I do like this. But I don't love this.

Duchess A-

It's always nice that a Duke has a Duchess. I love a love story. (I guess this thing here is some sort of concept album. ...Unfortunately, I have to care about an album before I ever get into the concept, and I've been listening to this hunk-of-plastic for years but never actually cared about it.) This song starts out with a bongo groove. It's possibly a drum machine, but I hear Phil Collins has excellent timing so you never know. Some quiet, plain sounding synthesizers slowly fade in. The synthesizers are not warm, and they're not cold. Not terribly interesting, but not boring either. About midway through, Phil Collins comes in with another dramatic melody. He does actually make it soar, which is quite good. I especially like the way his voice occasionally sounds layered, like he cloned himself a bunch of times so that there's a whole choir of Phil Collinses behind him. ...And no, I like Phil Collins, so that's hardly a nightmarish situation for me. (And I've also grown sympathetic towards bald people recently... we need to stick together.)

GuideVocal B

PHIL COLLINS SINGS A ONE-MINUTE BALLAD!!!! It's good. Dramatic. Love his voice. (Shut up, you Phil Collins haters.) ((And shut up you Peter Gabriel haters who think I'm a Phil Collins hater, because I like Peter Gabriel more than Phil Collins)) (((Peter Gabriel is bald now, too.))) ...Um, this is pretty good. I liked it better when Phil sang “More Fool Me,” because it sounded so endearing. This one's just dramatic and doesn't really make me feel anything. The melody moves around enough so that it's not boring, but I also don't particularly remember it after it's through playing.

Man of Our Times B+

I am a man. And I'm of “our times.” Therefore, this song is about me. ...I'm glad that Genesis came up with another dramatic song for this album. I mean, there is Phil singing loudly to some synthesizers and drums, which are playing a somewhat unconventional rhythm. They play a texture that's able to engage my brain just enough to keep me from nodding off and getting bored, but they also aren't playing anything I haven't heard before. The melody, similarly, is very stylish, but I miss the hooks. Well done as a whole and I'm flattered that they wrote a song about me, but I would have liked something a bit catchier.

Misunderstanding A-

This song is about me, too, about how I had a misunderstanding about how the previous song was written about me. (...I suppose I was born about two-and-a-half years after this album was born, so it's probably unlikely Phil Collins really knew about me. ...But have you looked at him on the cover of No Jacket Required? That guy is clearly into voodoo. Therefore, he could have known about me.) ...I want to say that this is a song I almost find memorable. They come up with a piano groove, and Phil sings something over it that's quite good. It sounds like something out of Supertramp's Breakfast in America, except it's duller. ...Oh yes, Supertramp. Don't let that surprise you of course; this album has been long hailed as their transition into the pop-world. Most reviews of this start with that statement, but I was just too caught up with myself.

Heathhaze B+

OH MY GOD, PHIL COLLINS IS SINGING ANOTHER DRAMATIC BALLAD!!! I mean, we haven't gotten any dramatic Phil Collins songs in this album yet. None at all. Everything else in this album has been bright, bubbly and fun. Finally taking a chance to give us some drama. And guess what? He's singing yet another melody that I'll have whistling under my breath after I'm through writing this review and I go about my merry way. ...Sarcasm aside, I'll continue to give Collins his due credit for a solid, dramatic vocal performance. Sixth in a row. More solid instrumental playing, but they never play a texture I haven't heard before. ...There's a small moment in here when I think Tony Banks was thinking about putting a memorable little twist to his keyboards, but I guess he had second thoughts.

Turn it On Again B+

OH MY GOD, PHIL C... Ah, that joke's not very funny, is it? OK, I'll stop it. Have I mentioned how consistently decent this album is, and how every song features a solid, dramatic performance from Phil Collins? ...Believe me, I'm waiting so desperately for something here to outright suck so there can be a change of pace. But here are Genesis, doing some more of their well-played textures and rhythms, but never doing anything that excites my imagination. I like that pulsating bass, which is another nod to Abacab, and I want to say that Collins' vocal melody almost sounds like it's on the verge of doing something I can remember in the morning... but alas...

Alone Tonight B+

OH... Here is Phil Collins singing a ballad. Is it dramatic? Yes. It starts out as a quiet ballad before it launches into a well-formed power-chorus in which Collins sings a melody decent enough to entertain me, but not powerful enough to move me. Is the instrumentation quite good but nothing particularly great? Why, yes. The acoustic guitar at the beginning is well textured, and the powerful chorus packs a lot of umph. Absolutely none of it is boring. Five minutes. All fitfully entertaining. Quite. Fitfully. Entertaining. (…I wonder what these track reviews would be like if I didn't consume an entire box of Junior Mints right before it?)

Cul-De-Sac B

Can't these guys get anything right? I swear this ballad is on the verge of sucking. The piano at the very beginning was starting to sound like it was going to get boring for a minute... But then those fricking drums, properly rhythmic synthesizers, and Collins' solid-as-ever dramatic singing had to come in and create another fitfully entertaining song. I miss Wind & Wuthering. Back then, Genesis knew how to suck. But at least that nearly boring piano intro gave me an excuse to give this a B. That's something. ...Anything to break the string of B+s.

Please Don't Ask B+

Just for a change of pace, Phil Collins and his trusty duo give us a dramatic piano ballad. The melody is good, but it isn't too good. It almost starts to take off for a bit in the chorus, but something or other seems to be preventing it from getting too far off the ground. The instrumentation support is lovely. Pianos are rhythmic and nice. The drums are crunchy and nice. This is nice. Nice. Nice. Nice. That's a city in France.

Duke's Travels B+

Duke went to France where he did nice things with Phil Collins and Genesis. He wanted them to sound good, but he didn't want them to suck, either. This is an eight-minute-long near-instrumental. A lengthy song with little singing in it is a potential goldmine for suckage, but unfortunately, these guys are quite good at it. Listen how some of these textures are nicely formed, but never really do anything special. Those rumbly synthesizers at the beginning and those cymbal hits! Ocean waves or something? I don't know. Then some tribal drums come in along with a plain riff. Textures all good, but the atmosphere doesn't ever take me in. They don't ever let their textures grow old before changing it up again. Listen to all of Tony Banks' synthesizer solos! They're entertaining! But never memorable! ...And at precisely the time the song was about to get boring, here comes Phil Collins with another dramatic vocal performance. Does he sing a bad melody? NO. Does he sing a great melody? NO. He sings a good melody. GOOD MELODY. GOOD MELODY. GOOD MELODY. ARRGHHH!!! THIS ALBUM IS LIKE PURGATORY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Duke's End B

Well, I guess I had some Catholic friends that I didn't know about, and my time in rock 'n' roll purgatory hath ended. Now, I can go to wherever my fate has in store for me next (I think it's a Bob Dylan album). Well, they're playing pretty much the exact same thing they played in the introduction. ...I'm a little surprised I know that, since this is the most unmemorable album that ever existed. At least the repetitiveness of it gave me an excuse to knock it down a letter-rating. What, too lazy to write a new chord sequence, eh? Eh?!?!?! I therefore knock thee down a semi-letter-grade. Booyah. (Oh wow, I am listening to a Bob Dylan album after this. The wheezy-man himself just popped up on my playlist. I think he's telling me to blow it in the wind, or something. Those are some great words of advice, my friend. It is for that reason I change this “B” letter grade and award it an “A.” If only every song could have a Bob Dylan song come after it.)


Abacab (1981)

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Abacab

Abacab A

Catchy, catchy, catchy. I couldn't pay attention in one of my classes yesterday, because I had this song running through my head the whole time. (I suppose I should listen to Duke before class. I don't even have those songs running through my head when the album is actually on.) Not that I think ill of this song for stealing my attention; this is certainly more interesting to me than some silly class that I'm only going to completely forget about in two months' time. Genesis, on the other hand, shall live in my head forever! It's seven minutes long, too. But I wouldn't even take a second away from it. ...Oh and this is synth-pop, by the way. I hope that doesn't come as a shock to anyone. It's characterized by a pulsating synth-bass, poppy keyboards, brief electric guitar passages, and a very boisterous performance from Collins. ...Really, the instruments interact perfectly with each other, and nothing is overblown. Even Tony Banks performs perfectly with his keyboards. During the main section of the song, he doesn't grab attention away from Collins' singing, but during some of the “instrumental interlude” sections, he adopts a much gruffer, off-kilter synthesizer tone that is fascinating to hear. Very, very cool. If you want to know why Genesis were influential in the synth-pop game, this is it. It's classy and fun. It robs me of seven minutes of my life, but you don't see me calling the cops. (Well come to think of it, I never called the cops on Spandau Ballet. I'd probably get in trouble for doing that, wouldn't I?) I mean, the last three minutes or so is basically a long fade-out, which probably could have been cut, but it doesn't actually seem that excessive to me. (Dammit, this track review is extended, too. Don't call the cops on me, please.)

No Reply at All A-

Sounds like a very straightforward pop song this time. Hear those horn? They're so tight and perfect that I thought they were horn-synths, but found out later that they're actually Earth, Wind & Fire! They help make this four-and-a-half minute pop song as wholly enjoyable as it is. The melody perhaps isn't as catchy as the previous song... in particular that moment in the middle where they suddenly turn it into a boring piano ballad. Nonetheless, the computer synthesizer texture they create (in addition to the horns) is quite compelling, I like the groove... and the huns are fun and orchestrated well.

Me and Sarah Jane A-

They get a bit of a reggae groove going at first. But they eventually evolve it into something else, something that sounds a little like classic Genesis, except they're using more synthesizers. Tony Banks is really going to town with the synthesizers too, developing a few textures that are much more reminiscent of those mesmerizing things he did throughout The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, and less like those bland synthscapes he was boring my brains out with in Wind and Wuthering. My goodness, this thing is almost prog! ...Isn't this supposed to be their pop album?

Keep it Dark B+

Oh yes, this is supposed to be their pop album. Listen to that huge drum machine sound if you were at all in doubt about that. ...Although for a pop song, this is very interesting. As the title suggests, this is a rather dark song. There's a mechanical and pulsating bass-synth, and the mechanical and loud drum machine gives it an industrial feel. Tony Banks comes in with some threatening synthesizer chords in here, which thickens the atmosphere considerably. Perhaps this atmosphere is too thick? Well, Phil Collins gives an excellent vocal performance, also helping enhance the seediness of it. His vocal melody is OK, but not terribly catchy. ...Er, I guess this is more of an art-piece than a pure pop song. ...Is this supposed to be their pop album?

Dodo/Lurker A

Prog again?... Pop again?... Pop-prog?... Oh yes, this is still pop. Huge stadium drums, huge bass-synthesizers, and Phil Collins singing loudly like a larger-than-life pop star. In the middle, they develop a groove that sounds like the Police again, except it's darker and it's Collins singing and not Sting. (Who are we supposed to dislike worse? Phil Collins or Sting? ...I suppose Sting had a better solo album with The Dream of the Blue Turtles than anything Phil Collins put out... But I say, I like them both.) Anyway, this song kicks some major ass. It goes on for a whopping seven and a half minutes and it's insanely entertaining. It just never lets up. The melody is consistently catchy, and it's fun listening to it dramatically evolve. Even that kind of silly, out-of-tune synth solo Banks gives us at the five-and-a-half-minute mark is entertaining. ...Man, did they do that just to extend the running length? ...Well the comic relief is appreciated, since this whole song is dramatic as hell. Have you ever heard more larger-than-life synth chords, especially at the end? This is like I'm listening to an opera. Easily worthy of the reputation of the guys who helped make The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.)

Who Dunnit? B+

Er... Phil Collins, Tony Banks, and Michael Rutherford dunnit. This song is a freak show. I don't know what I find more disturbing: this song, or that “Land of Confusion” music video. If someone came along and put this song over that video, I think it'd give me nightmares for weeks. Anyway, this is a goofy song. I kind of like it. Once again, they're using a very heavy drum machine sound to keep the beat, but Banks comes in with the world's drunkest and most repetitive synthesizer sounds. Collins compliments those crazy grooving synthesizers with some boisterous yells of “We don't know! We don't know! We don't know!” ...Man, were these guys having fun, or something? The “experimental” label applies to this song more than it does to anything else here, but perhaps it's not extremely fascinating.

Man on the Corner B

Oh no!! This sounds like a Phil Collins solo song!!! Aggggghhhhhh!!! But anyway, this is a pretty good synth ballad, but it strikes me as dull. The melody is OK, but nothing hugely fascinating. The synthesizers and drum machines are more standard here. The sort of detached synthesizer riff is bland. This is perhaps even approaching radio-friendly territory. (Uh oh!!!) ((Ha ha, I just looked on trusty old Wikipedia and discovered that Phil Collins wrote this independently. That explains that.))

Like it or Not B

Man... this album started out kind of awesome, then got freaky, and then got a bit boring, didn't it? Don't you hate it when that happens? Like the previous song, this doesn't have anything in particular in it that fascinates me. The melody is OK and sung well by Collins, but it doesn't take off. Although give him credit for a loud and passionate performance. Peter Gabriel never would have sung like that, so it's true that he found his own voice. The drums and synthesizer sounds are fairly standard. Just a usual mid-tempo rhythm and pulsating keyboards in the backgrounds. Eh. But it asks “like it or not.” ...I like it.

Another Record B+

Stronger than the previous two, but still nothing even close to reaching the wonders of basically anything from the first half of this album. Apart from what sounds like a gasoline-powered lawn mower revving up, this is another fairly standard song. The drums are loud, the keyboards are flashy, and Collins sings... er... like a pop star. The melody is fine, but nothing I'll get stuck in my head in the middle of class. So there. This is another OK Genesis song.


Three Sides Live (1982)

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Three Sides Live

Turn It On Again A-

Uh oh, the good but indistinguishable tunes from Duke are coming back to haunt me! Aggghhhh!! ...Actually, since this is the first time I heard a Duke song, this is OK. It also seems to be a fitting tune to bring back in the live arena and, moreover, to open a set-list with. They also put some Abacab sensibilities to it, which helps. Notably, I hear a pulsating synth-bass, which believe it or not, makes it fun to hear. The original had it, but I like it here more for some reason. Collins gives an excellent vocal performance... and of course the melody is good in its marginal catchiness.

Dodo A

Surely, it's not difficult to imagine that this great song from Abacab would be given excellent treatment in the live setting. If nothing else, this continues to show that these guys were great in the live setting, and of course Collins singing songs from his era makes him sound more at home compared to where he was on Seconds Out. He also sounds like he's enjoying singing in front of a crowd, which makes me enjoy it as well. ...On the downside, it isn't fundamentally different than the studio cut except of course the lack of studio mixing. Even the crowd noises aren't always very audible here.

Abacab A

...Man, I've had this song stuck in my head for over a week now, which was when I reviewed Abacab. Do I hate that? No! I love this song getting stuck in my head. The problem is that I don't remember the lyrics too well, and I start making them up, and now I associate this song with the made-up lyrics. ...Anyway, I was tempted to give this an A+, but then I noticed that I didn't even give the original an A+. Even though this live version is nearly as immaculate as the studio albeit a little longer (to make room for some instrumental solos, which are quite good albeit superfluous), I wouldn't call it better. It's missing the slickness!

Behind the Lines B+

Oh listen to how the crowd goes wild for this selection from Duke. Oh my!!!! ...At least hearing these songs done live helps give them an added dimension, which is a stark contrast to the originals that were so plain that they hurt. It also helps that a song from Abacab preceded it, so I don't have that familiar bored outta my mind feeling when I listen to any old song from that album... Anyway, what should I say about this? It's performed very much like I remember it from the album. It's OK. I still get tired of those bombastic synthesizer chords at the beginning, and I also get tired of Collins' singing. Just like old times.

Duchess B+

Just like the studio cut, this starts with subdued synthesizers and a bongo drum groove. I seem to like the sound of it slightly better than the studio version, so it has that working in its favor. Phil Collins' overly dramatic vocal melody also comes in on cue, and he sings the crap out of it, of course. The melody is well-written, naturally... Nope, I'm not gonna complain about this at all... other than the fact that it's the second selection from Duke in a row.

Me and Sarah Jane B+

...Well I have a feeling that my track reviews of this album aren't helpful at all. Once again, they do a solid rendition of a solid Genesis song. I already reviewed that song in a previous album review, so should I repeat myself? I guess so. Sigh. I like the reggae-ish groove they get going for the chorus. Really, the textures these guys have been known to create are excellent, and they bring out many of them for this song. Why on earth did they ever become so enamored with such plain adult contemporary music? ...I dunno.

Follow You Follow Me A-

My my, here is the first song on this album that is from neither Abacab or Duke. ...It's from And Then There Were Three. (And the whole world gasps in fear.) Rest assured, good people, it's one of the good songs from that album. Collins sweetly delivers its likable melody, and they faithfully recreate its bubbly texture from the original album. … “Me and Sarah Jane” struck me as a bit long, so it's nice to hear them follow up with this relatively briefer and simpler song.

Misunderstanding B+

Is it just me, or are you sick and tired of all these Duke songs?!?!?! (Alright, it's probably just me, since everybody else in the world is in love with Duke.) I guess it shouldn't be such a surprise to hear that I'm not particularly thrilled to be hearing these songs again. Of course they're well-performed and the melody is OK. ...It's like I have to force myself to appreciate it whereas I should be gushing over them.

Medley: In the Cage/Cinema Show/Riding the Scree/Cinema Show/The Colony of the Slippermen A

The album's very first excursion into their Peter Gabriel years, and it's surprisingly a very well done interweaving of many of their previous songs! And thank God for that, because as decent as the Phil Collins stuff was, they were no match for the songs they churned out when Peter Gabriel was leader of the pack. ...I know how many times I said this, but these guys really kick ass live, creating textures almost as well as they did in the studio. Collins of course wasn't as good at playacting as Gabriel was, but he nonetheless gives off an excited and dramatic performance over it. This song is nearly 12 minutes long, and no matter what song they're playing, it's consistently fun the whole way. And, oh yes, the soloing is good too, usually staying melodic and never getting too show-offey.

Afterglow B+

Aggggg!!!! They've gone and done it now!!! It's a song from Wind & Wuthering! ...Well, you know, that previous track had me on such a nerd-high that I don't really mind this. I also love the way they sort of bled this song in with the end of the previous. ...Man, that nerd-high is making me give this track rating two notches higher than I did the original studio version. ...I guess this works much nicer as a calmer coda to a prog-epic than it did on that album. The melody is quite good, and Collins gives it a dramatic and believable vocal performance. ...Very good!

One For the Vine B-

OH NO ANOTHER SONG FROM WIND & WUTHERING! And it's an 11-minute one, so … we're gonna have to sit through this one for awhile. ...Er, is it possible that Wind & Wuthering is growing on me? This is the second time in a row I felt compelled to give the live version a higher rating than the studio. ...I suppose a reason for that is that these guys sound more appropriately lively here. Hearing the audience cheer through the boring bits also help. ...If I were in the audience and they weren't cheering, I'd sit back on my chair and probably take a bit of a snooze.

Fountain of Salmacis A

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww... Now isn't this lovely? They went all the way back to Nursery Cryme to pull out this wonderful song, and it reminds me of how these guys' music used to make me so starry-eyed. ...Yeah, much of the Phil Collins stuff is great, but it rarely goes anywhere more than “fun.” This is the stuff that turned me into a Genesis nut. ...Naturally of course, Collins is singing it instead of Gabriel, which is unfortunate, but I don't care! He does a good performance, and it's an excellent song! These guys manage to pull out all those tight solos that they did in the studio version, and listening to this eight-and-a-half-minute song is like an adventure. ...I will say the studio version was a bit more delicate, but the heightened excitement I get from this version is entertaining in its own way.

It/Watcher of the Skies A

Man... Even though these live songs weren't on the original U.S. version of this album, I almost wonder if they were missing out. (OK, maybe I would have been slightly peeved at not getting to hear the five studio songs that were supposed to be on this album.) But anyway, this is great. Also according to Wikipedia, it was recorded in 1976, which means that this is the only song on this live album to be recorded when Steve Hackett was still in the band. In the “It” portion of the song, Collins gives a wonderfully dramatic performance, as he always does. I suppose that was one of the Gabriel-era songs he was most suited to covering! Also, I really love their excursion into Foxtrot territory. To me, it goes to show how exciting and tight their instrumental passages were back then and how weak similar things were in Wind & Wuthering. (Yes, I'm looking at you “One For the Vine.) It's tense, exciting, Collins delivers a boisterous vocal performance... This song is 100 percent win.

EXTRA SONG REVIEWS:

These aren't bonus tracks. No CD pressing I'm aware of of this album has bonus tracks. However, there is and alternate pressing of this album, and many Americans who bought this album originally on vinyl probably want to know what happened to the five studio songs that they remembered. Indeed, the original U.S. vinyl release had an entire side devoted to five brand new studio songs. (Hence Three Sides Live... and one side studio.) However the British version of the album didn't have these studio songs, but rather they filled that side with some more live performances. (And yet it was still called Three Sides Live!) Well, here they are, anyway...

Paperlate A

This is an excellent '80s pop song from Genesis, and if you haven't heard it before, then you might want to. It's similar to the style of “No Reply At All” from Abacab, even using the same horn section from Earth, Wind & Fire. ...Maybe I would say that song was slightly better, but they're both so fun that I can't help but give them both the same rating. Collins' vocal melody is catchy, and the horn section interacts brilliantly with it. There's even a nice jangle guitar in the background, which makes it even better to me! (Jangle guitar in a Genesis song!!)

You Might Recall B+

...I might recall Phil Collins albums. Oh yes, there are two extremes to pop-era Genesis: the songs that rock my sock off and the songs that bore the crap out of me, because they sound like Phil Collins solo songs. Although truth be told, this isn't terrible. There are certain vocal twists Collins engages in that piques my interest particularly as it slowly reaches a climax. Other than that, it's a fairly ordinary mid-tempo song. I'm glad at least Banks is playing a real-sounding piano instead of those cheesy synthesizers, which were rampant in pop music at the time.

Me and Virgil B-

This is alright, but … er … it's kind of boring. It's done at a plodding pace, and its melody is forgettable. It's performed well, but it just never catches fire. The chord progression is complicated at least, but of course Genesis were always good for that. The instrumentation is very bare, sometimes just relying on a tiny cymbal tap, Collins singing, and some simple chord patterns from Banks. ...Yawn.

Evidence of Autumn B+

Not bad. Sort of like songs from Duke. It's respect-worthy, and I sort of like the feeling it gives me of being drenched with synthesizers. But the melody never really takes off. They change the texture into something more bubbly in the middle, but I have a feeling they were just going through the motions, trying to “change things up,” because they were “creative” and they put bubbly bits in the middle of their power ballads because they're “creative.” ...In other words, this song is OK, but it's not terribly inspired.

Open Door B

Oh... up until the minute and a half mark, I feel ready to give this thing a C+, but then Phil Collins does his Phil Collins thing and picks up steam for the chorus. I also sort of like one of Banks' synthesizers that sounds like a woodwind I hear faintly in the background. ...But seriously, everything except for the chorus is an ordinarily boring piano ballad. Tori Amos writes songs like these, except she's not as good of a singer as Collins.


Genesis (1983)

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Genesis

Mama A+

How the hell did Phil Collins pull this one off? This song amazes the hell out of me, because it seems like—well—he has passion, or something. I mean, this vocal performance is about as good as one of Peter Gabriel's. Throughout much of this, it sounds like he's screaming his head off here, but at the same time he's always keeping the melody. Since this was the '80s, you can expect to hear drum machines. These ones are quite minimal, and until the four-minute mark they provide the basis for the towering synthesizers, roaring guitars, and Collins' passionate screams. At the four minute mark, this LOUD drum starts playing, and it seems that Collins is singing even more passionately. ...Oh man, you've got to read what he's singing, too... And those cries of “Don't go! No no! Don't go!” are … whoah... This is classic. All seven minutes of it.

That's All A+

After that tortured previous song, this is a much more pleasant pop tune. It's mid-tempo with a nice toe-tapping beat, and Tony Banks plays a sweet riff with his piano. And what a seriously catchy melody, too! Collins once again comes off wonderfully in this vocal performance, putting quite a lot of verve in his vocals. His vocals, plus the awesome melody, makes this one of those songs that I have to restrain myself from singing along with if there's someone else in the car with me. ...Yeah, this song rules.

Home By the Sea A

...and so continues my love affair with this album. ...but I do have some sort of undying love for '80s pop music, even the stuff that isn't all that great. (It must come from the fact I was born in the decade. One year after this album was released, as a matter of fact! Both Phil Collins and I were bald!!) One again, these guys are completely on fire when it comes to melodies, and Collins' vocals are loud and passionate. There's nothing particularly notable about the instrumentation; it's bass, guitar, drum machines, and synthesizers. However, they do create a compelling texture that changes brilliantly as it hits its chorus, middle-eight section, and a very atmospheric outtro.

Second Home By the Sea B

Yeah... I guess when Phil Collins got rich enough to be able to afford a second home by the sea, my love affair for this album was OVER! ...This isn't a terrible instrumental, but it seems to go on forever without really igniting my imagination. The drum machines this time sound a bit hollow, and they're extremely loud such that they're getting rather obnoxious. I will say they throw in a few excellent fills in a few key moments, which helps create dramatic tensions. Tony Banks' huge synthesizer chords don't do much for me up until the final third, where he finds this very scratchy thing to play, which furthers the tension. His melodic themes, unfortunately, aren't terribly fantastic either. This would have been better if they found a way to reduce it to three minutes. It didn't have compelling enough ideas to warrant six minutes.

Illegal Alien A+

I'm amazed when I see this song pop up occasionally on “Worst songs ever made” lists... I mean... SERIOUSLY?? Blender magazine put it on #13 on their list. That's the equivalent of putting “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” on similar lists. Of course it's totally ridiculous, because both of those songs rule. ...I think the reason it pops up on the list is because they don't quite realize that the lyrics are supposed to be satire. (“Down at the office had to fill out the forms / A pink one, a red one, the colours you choose / Up to the counter to see what they think / They said: it doesn't count man, it ain't written in ink”) Perhaps people take offense to Collins singing in a mock Mexican accent? Again, that's apart of the satire. ...But that's not the reason I'm giving this song yet another A+, the third of this album to be exact. It's just that this song is catchy as hell. Whenever I get this thing stuck in my head, I'm happy for the next 10 minutes at least. Banks finds some quirky and wobbly synthesizers to play, and they groove around very pleasantly during the chorus. The detached piano groove in the verses strikes me as being very uncouth, and somehow it worked brilliantly.

Taking It All Too Hard B+

Is it just me, or is this album inconsistent? I mean, I like this ballad just fine. It has a nice melody and Collins once again turns in a convincing vocal performance... But those backing synthesizers, gentle guitar textures, electric piano, and ordinary drum machine pattern doesn't give me much in terms of ear candy. ...Well, why not? ...I guess this is a perfectly good '80s adult contemporary song, but I like it better when these guys strive to becoming art-pop superstars.

Just a Job To Do A-

Now this is pretty cool. Not one of the “greats,” but still a lot of fun. The highlight here is Collins screaming “With a bang, bang bang!” and two raps from a drum machine simulate gunshots to which Collins follows it up with “And down you go!” ...Other than that, I like the driving rhythm section; the bass guitar and drum machines create decent tension. Banks plays some rhythms with his synthesizers, which certainly don't go unnoticed. The middle-eight section is pretty interesting, too... Collins starts to sing something a little sweeter.

Silver Rainbow A

Yet another excellent tune. Is there really any doubt that this is the peak of pop Genesis? I mean, Abacab and Invisible Touch are perfectly decent pop albums, but do they have songs like this on them? I don't think so. ...This song starts out quietly with a subtle and cluttery drum machine texture as Collins is singing something beneath his breath. But pretty soon, a big drum machine sound pops up and POOM! When Collins gets to that soaring and uplifting chorus, it single-handedly makes up for “Sussudio.” Although I really don't understand how he could have been from the same person...

It's Gonna Get Better A-

No, unfortunately it's not. After this album, Genesis would start making gradually worse pop albums all the way to the toilet in 1997's Calling All Stations. So let's enjoy it while it lasts, shall we? Though I can't say this is one of the more enthralling bits from the album. It's a mid-tempo song that bores me enough to want to dub it as “adult contemporary.” The melody is decent and Collins sings it decently, but it's not much more than that. At least it makes an alright listen. I like those detached synthesizer chords that Banks finds to play in the background, and he even manages to come up with a wholly different texture for the middle-eight. (Or do people call that the “refrain?” Ah, I'm pathetically awful at using music terminology!) ...I'm not sure how he kept on coming up with those. The synth-bass, wobbling down there in a slightly rubbery way, is pretty fun, too. The drum machines are fairly standard, but they're interesting enough that it proves once again that these guys were the masters of this instrument.


Invisible Touch (1986)

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Invisible Touch

Invisible Touch B+

Needless to say, this is a huuuuuuuuuuuge disappointment considering the first song that appeared on Genesis' previous record, Genesis. Especially compared to that song, this one is blaaaaaaaaah. The melody has the appropriate hooks in the appropriate places, and Collins sings it in an appropriate way. (Unfortunately, instead of passionately singing it, he comes across as a bit choppy … It would've made a fine fit on the radio, as I'm sure it saw plenty of radio action in its day. It's pleasant and nice to listen to. Ho hum.

Tonight Tonight Tonight B+

This should have been called “Tonight Tonight Toni,” because it is roughly the same length as the David Bowie's song from 1984 times a factor of 2.5. (Yes, I used my pocket calculator to figure that one out... It's fun to compute...) I've got to say, the main melody is quite good. Collins certainly sounds more energized singing it than he did the previous song, which he seemed more or less to be going through the motions. His vocal melody is catchy and he's singing them to the stars. Unfortunately, the problem comes in with the fact that it's so LOOONG and they didn't really do anything to it to warrant such a length. There is a mild tendency for it to get louder and busier by the end, but it's far too little. The extended instrumental interludes comes across more as finely textured muzak instead of something that actually engages me. The drum machines continue to be nicely programmed and meshes in well with Banks' drippy synthesizer loops... It reminds me of underground cave music in video games from the early '90s. Tony Banks doesn't bother coming in with any interesting synthesizer noodles nor does Rutherford doesn't really bother playing his electric guitar. With all that said, this isn't exactly a tedious song to sit through... It just strikes me as a slight misuse of time.

Land of Confusion A

I really hate that music video. Those Muppet things creep the hell out of me. *Shiver*. But anyway, the song itself is perfectly alright. It's very adapted to the mid '80s pop radio, but hardly the worst song you'd hear on there. What wins me over so much on this one is the melody, which is insanely catchy. The instrumentation isn't terrible, either, although I'm not a huge fan of that blocky drum-bass instrument that sort of dominates its rhythm. But Collins sings it boisterously, and I like hearing Michael Rutherford's huge power chords. ...So there you go—a perfectly nice radio pop song for 1986. It's nice that Genesis still had the ability to make these sorts of songs, because the year 1986 kicked most '70s rock stars' butts.

In Too Deep C+

Oh no, oh no... This is really sounding like Phil Collins' adult contemporary solo career. ...Fortunately this is actually a tolerable song for me even though pretty much everything about it is dull. It also didn't need to be five minutes long; three minutes would have sufficed perfectly. Collins' vocal melody is OK, but it doesn't really get memorable until it hits the chorus. But the chorus is drenched with so many blank synthesizer tones and Michael Rutherford playing such boring “muzak” with his guitar that I immediately want to reject it. ...But you know what? Compared to Michael Bolton, this is pretty good! Come to think of it, Michael Bolton owes a lot to Phil Collins.

Anything She Does B-

Eh. Eh, eh. Eh, eh, eh. ...Can that suffice for a song review? ...Er, I guess not. I've got to maintain some sort of standard in my music reviews, don't I? Well, here's the thing. This is a perfectly OK pop song. It's upbeat, the melody has a hook or two, the synth-horns have the proper spunk to them. ...The problem? It's just *meh*. It's pretty clear these guys' already hit the peak of their creativity powers as soon as Phil Collins started winning Grammies, and this is just an ordinary '80s pop song that lacks imagination and spark. Blah.

Domino C+

I want some pizza!!!!!!!!!! Why is it that I never have pizza anymore? I thought college students were supposed to live solely on pizza... I only make food that you can cook with a microwave, and microwave pizza is pretty disgusting... Anyway, let's talk about this song. What the hell? An 11-minute song? What year is this, 1973? It seems like it was infinity ago since I was reviewing 11-minute Genesis songs. Those were sprawling and captivating musical adventures. This one, on the other hand, is pretty much a sprawling bore. The first five minutes is a somewhat passable bit of drama with power synth chords, but the melody is more or less forgettable to me. After that bit, a remarkably boring electro groove pipes up like I'm listening to some '80s workout video. Collins at least sings a melody, and there are a few unusual synth rhythms and a chord change here or there keeps its on its toes. But … er? Was that the best you could do? Work out video music? Some people like the lyrics... but if I can't be interested in the music then the lyrics don't have a chance.

Throwing it All Away B-

Throwing your career all away! ...Seriously, what happened to these guys? ...Seriously, Phil Collins was so awesome before he was wildly popular... You people who bought his solo records have turned him into a MONSTER!!!! ...I want to call this a decent song with a decent melody. I mean, this would have been a very good song for Michael Bolton to cover. It's rather sweet, and Tony Banks and Michael Rutherford team up to create some fitful textures. ...But this is kinduva bland adult contemporary song, and I WANT BETTER THAN FROM GENESIS!!!! I mean, this is just as forgettable as it could possibly be.

The Brazilian B-

An electronic instrumental. ...I'm really trying, but there's just not a whole lot for me to like here. The drum machines are more cluttery than exhilarating. Tony Banks' main theme coming in with a huge synthesizer sounds kind of choppy and dumb. ...Blah be blah be blah...


We Can't Dance (1991)

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I Can't Dance

No Son of Mine A

Well! This is nice! If we're going to listen to Phil Collins, then let it be something like this power ballad! It's true that he lost some of his vocal capacity since the early '80s, but he sings this power ballad quite well. The melody is certainly catchy, and I can sing along with it, if I feel like it. ...The backing instrumentation isn't interesting at all, though. They've been reduced to playing merely what's typical for adult contemporary. ...But you know what? I don't mind it so much. They're playing by the book, but at least they're not annoying.

Jesus He Knows Me A+

Now this is a really cool song, and I also like that Collins was taking a potshot at televangelists with this one. (And for crying out loud, it's been nearly 20 years since this song came out and the content is still relevant.) More importantly than the lyrics is the actual music which is without a doubt one of the catchiest melodies that Genesis ever came up with. ...The music video is a lot of fun, too. ...I watched it for the first time last night on YouTube. ...Once again, there's nothing particularly special about the instrumentation; they're doing the usual adult-contemporary thing. But the important thing is they do it right. The drums are loud and poppy, Rutherford comes in with a few gruff electric guitar licks at perfectly timed intervals, and Banks plays some indistinct but nice keyboards in the background. It seems that Banks and Rutherford were little more than session musicians at this point! ...Although I guess they all shared “equally” in songwriting credits. (I'll believe that Banks and Rutherford wrote all the crappy songs on this disc!!! ...Hey, say you want about Phil Collins, etc.)

Driving the Last Spike B-

TEN MINUTES!!!! NOOOOOOooooooo... I don't necessarily have anything against 10-minute songs per se, but not when there is no conceivable reason for them being so long. This is a fully competent adult contemporary song—the melody isn't terribly interesting, but at least it's delivered well by Collins. The backing instrumentation continues to be competent for adult contemporary. (I mean, I could be listening to Mariah Carey right now...) But....... 10 minutes long?!?! Apart from only marginal changes in instrumentation, it's a five-minute song played twice. ...Come on, man, I've got a schedule to keep... I can't sit here all day and listen to Genesis albums. (Actually I can... Oh man, I have no life...)

I Can't Dance A

...I think you're just not trying hard enough. ...I don't know where you learned those dance moves... from a three-toed sloth by the looks of it... Anyway, I was about nine years old when this album was released and I definitely remember this song when it was new. So there you go, We Can't Dance was my first exposure to Genesis at a tender young age. This is a pretty good pop song for the early '90s, too. Rutherford plays a catchy riff with his guitar about as grittily he would make it without it sounding too rude for radio play. The drum machines find some classy, badder-than-bad sounds to play, while Collins sings in a surprisingly convincing blues sort of way. Very funny. ...Oh and in the music video, that hot woman gave the iguana a ride... Ho hoooo...

Never a Time C

It's like every song on this album either rules to pieces or is mostly shrug-worthy. Unfortunately, this is the sort of adult contemporary song that I wouldn't find too out of place for a Michael Bolton album. Ugh! Didn't I already tell them in Invisible Touch that I was sick to death of them doing these songs? ...At least I like Phil Collins much better as a singer than Michael Bolton... That's the one thing saving this from me taking a dump on this song right now. Unfortunately, the melody isn't interesting whatsoever, and those ultra polished backing instrumentals are EXTREMELY dated to the early '90s. ...The early '90s was a horrible time for pop music, wasn't it?

Dreaming While You Sleep C+

...And sleeping won't be much of a difficulty if you're listening to this song! ...This is another one of their horridly overlong songs that really doesn't do much to warrant such a length. At least, I suppose, it's not an adult-contemporary sludge fest like the previous song was, but …............ geez, I'm sitting through this seven-minute monstrosity waiting for it to do something interesting. All I'm hearing is Tony Banks playing some boring synthesizers in the background, and Collins singing an uninteresting melody. ...I do like that some HUGE drums pop up midway through. Just like they did in “Mama” from their 1983 album Genesis. But that song was tense and exciting. This song is BORING!!!!!!!!

Tell Me Why B

Tell me why this album is a billion hours long! I'm only halfway through it, but it seems like it should be over by now! (Grrr... I hate CDs... I mean, I appreciate that I can play them in my car, but there were an awful lot of overwrought albums released in the early '90s because those dumbheads making CDs had to double their capacity.) Well fortunately, this song is actually pretty good, but it doesn't quite capture me like those big hits of the album did. The melody is likeable, and Collins delivers it well. Banks plays a bouncy keyboard in the verses, which makes it more likable to me.

Living Forever C+

Hmhmhmhmhmhhhmmmhmhmmmm... There's my review of this. ...I don't need to write anything more, do I? ...Rrggh. OK. Well, this is another disappointing song in Genesis' repertoire. It's based on a very dead and choppy synthesizer riff as Collins sings loudly over it. Unfortunately, his melody isn't interesting whatosever, and I'm already bored of it after only it's two minutes out. Blah. There's an extended instrumental interlude featuring a synthesizer solo from Banks. I suppose it's nice to hear the guy noodle out for a change... but his synthesizer tone is so soft that it's about as effective as really soft toilet paper that dissolves. Don't you remember when these guys used to be really awesome at lengthy instrumental sections? I miss those days.

Hold On My Heart C

Hold on my heart... from splitting open my chest... This horrid early '90s adult contemporary song won't last forever... Well, I think I'm officially depressed now. This is one of the most boring songs I think I've ever listened to. Collins sings softly a melody that's only marginally interesting amidst a toneless sea of blank synthesizer tones. One again, this is very dated, and certainly doesn't stand the test of time... At least in my opinion... Which is the only opinion that matters! ...At least I can say I don't want to slit its throat. It doesn't make me angry. It just puts me to sleep...

Way of the World B-

That song title reminds me of an excellent album I reviewed once by Earth, Wind & Fire. ...I miss listening to that band! ...Why am I listening to this boring Genesis album? I mean, give it all the credit it deserves for those three big hits. They're excellent of course. But why can't the supporting material even be close to that? ...At the very least, the drum machines here are a little crunchier, and the keyboards don't quite sound like the musical equivalent of a slippery banana. There's a slightly bubblier tone to them. Oh, and a bass-synth? The bass-synth isn't doing anything terribly interesting, but at least it's there. Collins! Come on, man! I'm going to love you forever, but WHY AREN'T YOU SINGING INTERESTING MELODIES???????????

Since I Lost You B

You lost me after “I Can't Dance,” man... If I wasn't literally forcing myself to listen to this album, I'd be listening to some Earth, Wind & Fire. Or maybe re-watching that “Jesus He Loves Me Video.” I watched it three times in the last 24 hours. (Oh yeah... It's that good... I suppose it also reminds me of being nine years old. It's funny how old videos do that.) …..Well, Baldy McPhillins. What do you want me to say about this song? It's another toothless power ballad. Blah blah blah. Collins gives a loud and gospelly performance... like he was trying to do a Whitney Houston song, or something... But, er, I guess I sort of like this one. The melody is too repetitive, but the gospel choir backing him up by the end creates a rather nice, full sound. ...Seriously, this sounds like some traveling musical troupe of offering-beggars who used to always come to my megachurch in the early '90s. (Oh yeah... I grew up in Wichita... I went to a megachurch...)

Fading Lights C-

Fading attention span. Truth be told, I put this album on a bunch of times in the background over this week while I was working on various homework assignments, and it wasn't terrible for that. Mostly because there's nothing disturbing or offensive on here... and apart from a few awesome songs at the beginning, nothing that took my attention away from homework... Man, I got a lot of homework done this week... This a spraaaaawling ballad that goes on for 10 minutes and is nothing but a boring sea of lifeless synthesizers and Phil Collins singing another criminally uninteresting vocal melody. Rutherford comes in with some guitar playing at times, but he's just playing textures in the background... Eh. ...Now, the synthesizers and melody was bad enough, but the 10-minute part that really loses me. They try for an extended instrumental interlude, like they did in Selling England By the Pound, but instead of making me all starry-eyed, it makes me look at my watch every two seconds. ...Urgh... I'm just going to zone out for the remainder of this song, if that's alright with you...


The Way We Walk, Volume 1: The Shorts (1992)

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The Way We Walk, Volume 1: The Shorts

Land of Confusion A-

Listening to this live version of the excellent pop song from Invisible Touch reminds me exactly why that's an excellent song: It has a melody that's catchier than anything. Unfortunately, Collins vocal performance is a bit flat as a whole... it sounds more like he was going through the motions instead of sounding tremendously excited to be on stage singing a song. Ah well, he was middle-aged after all! And bald! Of course we know how bald people lose their self confidence! ...There also isn't anything great about the instrumentation. Again, just going through the motions.

No Son of Mine A

Well hey! If they really had to concentrate on stuff from Invisible Touch and We Can't Dance at least they're going through the highlights of both! I like Collins' vocals a little better here than I did in the previous song; he's really kinda picking up a little bit of steam. As you can expect, the song is just as catchy here as it is in the studio version, and I'm sure everyone in the audience were having a blast. I know I would have been! ...With that said, is it really worth hearing this version live? It's not terribly different from the studio version.

Jesus He Knows Me A

Well, here's a good reason to own this live album: You can hear Collins give a hilarious little speech about Jaaaeeesusss at the beginning of it! ...Well, if you read my You Can't Dance review, then you know that I love this pop song to pieces. Could it have been one of the greatest pop songs of 1991? ...I might think about arguing such a thing. ...These guys really are solid live performers, but they do try earnestly to play it exactly the way it's played in the studio. Maybe you'll want this version for its subtle differences (that I'm not even going to point out) and slightly rawer feeling... but I really don't find much occasion of playing this.

Throwing It All Away B

Oh dearie dear... Now they're acknowledging that they had other songs on Invisible Touch and We Can't Dance. Gaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!!!!!! Well at least I can say this underwhelming pop song has a nice sort of audience participation, call-and-response thing going with the audience. I usually like hearing that sort of thing in live albums since at least it's different than the studio version. The melody is alright, but not even remotely as powerful or as memorable as any of the proceeding three songs. I do get mildly bored of it halfway through, which is a significant portion of the six-minute-long song. (For some reason I feel compelled to give it a higher rating than the studio cut. Oh my, could this song be growing on me? Or maybe I'm in a good mood for having just gotten off of “Jesus He Knows Me.”)

I Can't Dance A-

And I can't dislike excellent pop songs! After the relatively underwhelming song selection of the previous track, they launch into this song, which has about the catchiest riff that Genesis was physically able to produce. I do like that cool drum machine loop that starts to play at the beginning... sounding like some sort of quirky Christmas factory. As expected, Collins gives a fine and soaring vocal performance, which matches the studio version quite well apart from some strange growling noises he makes in the final third. ...All things considered, however, Collins sang a little more boisterously in the studio cut and the instrumental mixing was more polished there. The studio version was also shorter and thus sweeter. ...So of course there isn't a great reason to listen to this when you can just hear the studio version again... (How many times have I said a variant of that sentence? That would make a good drinking game if you wanted to die of alcohol poisoning.)

Mama A+

YAY!!!!!! It's a song from Genesis! At last!!!!!! This song was so good in its original form that a less polished live version can hardly detract from it. Also, I do think Collins is enjoying singing it, especially since he's letting out those evil ha-haaaaas with such enthusiasm. Maybe he's proud of this song, or something. (Heck, I would be.) Just like the studio version, there's LOUD drum machines that have their way with the song midway through, and I also like that Michael Rutherford follows suit with a very nice electric guitar solo!

Hold On My Heart C+

Uh oh... Why did they have to follow such a high with this dismal ballad that immediately sounds dated to the early '90s? You see, the thing about “Mama” is that even though it's quite clearly a product of the '80s, it's fresh no matter when you listen to it. This one pretty much just blows. ...But I will at least give this credit for sounding better than the studio version, just because they couldn't completely coat it with that pink plastic. Rutherford also lets forth a decent electric guitar solo, which almost gives it personality.

That's All A-

...Yeah, don't even bother touching the songs from We Can't Dance anymore, and keep on pulling out songs from Genesis! I suppose the downside of it is that it loses so much of the spark of the original that listening to this makes me just want to turn on that album again. ...But I guess it's just a relief that I'm listening to a good song again. The melody is catchy. ...I can't believe I'm saying this, but why isn't Banks drowning us out with some synthesizers? He's mostly just playing a grooving piano, and switches to an electric organ midway through. These needs some synthscapes, dammit!

In Too Deep C

Oh man, it's on again, off again, isn't it? They play one awesome song, and then they follow it up with a tepid piece of adult contemporary doodie! If they're going to play songs like this, they should just perform Collins' “In the Air Tonight.” It might be an adult contemporary piece of doodie, but it rules. This just has a boring melody, horrible Kenny G style drum machines, and Tony Banks putting us to sleep with an electric piano. Michael Rutherford should get a job in an elevator somewhere playing that “soft” electric guitar... when I can even hear it.

Tonight, Tonight, Tonight B+

When I saw this song in the track listing, I had wondered if they made a mistake... because the original studio version of this was looooooooooooooooooooong. But they actually did something great and shortened it significantly to three and a half minutes, which does it a favor. All we have to sit through is that soaring chorus and none of those blank instrumental interludes. Cool. With that said, I would have expected this to be just a *tad* more exciting.

Invisible Touch B

...You know, I really don't care for this song. I know it has hooks in it, but they don't seem like terribly good hooks. The choppy chorus still puts me off it, and their instrumentation for it doesn't really inspire my imagination. Naturally it's worse in this live setting, because they're not able to give it that studio polish. ...This is more or less just a straightforward rendition of what we all know well from the studio cut. Nothing to flip your lid over...


The Way We Walk, Volume 2: The Longs (1993)

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The Way We Walk, Volume 2: The Longs

Old Medley A-

This is the sort of thing I would have loved to hear them actually do live. Hearing this recording is just fine, but nothing would beat hearing them rattle off a laundry list of their old songs one-after-one when you're in the same house as they are. ...And, oh yes, this is a 100 percent crowd-pleasing gesture of them. Every single person at the live show has their favorite Genesis song, and by rattling them all off together, one after one, they're bound to hit somebody's favorite. Not that Genesis hadn't done a medley like this in their live albums before, but I don't remember one being quite as extensive as having 10 songs rattled off all in the space of 20 minutes! ...Fortunately, they're very good at weaving their old songs together, so I'm not going to criticize it mercilessly or anything... I mean, I would think that most bands would fall flat on their faces trying to do something like this. ...Unfortunately, this is the only place on this album where you're going to hear any of their '70s stuff. It would probably have been nice to hear one of those songs fully fleshed out on here, but count your blessings, I guess. We at least got these table scraps. (You might have noticed I didn't even tell you what these 10 songs were... What do I look like, Wikipedia?)

Driving the Last Spike B-

This is the song from We Can't Dance I criticized for being two five-minute songs played twice, and it's basically left unchanged here. It's a pretty decent adult-contemporary song if you're heart isn't too set on hearing a melody that's memorable in any way. I should stress that this isn't a bad song as far as adult-contemporary music goes... I've listened to songs so atrocious that I swear they suck the life out of me. This is more or less a pleasant song. It's something to zone out to if you don't want to listen to dead air. Collins, to his credit, sounds like he believes in it, giving a vocal performance that's loud, soaring, and passionate. This is Doritos for the brain.

Domino B-

Ugh... the problem with pilfering all the “longs” to one disc is that they have all constituted the worst of their last few albums. “Driving the Last Spike” and now “Domino?” Nobody cares about these songs. Nobody, nobody, nobody! (Except business-card-obsessed murderers.) As I was so reminded in “Old Medley” just now, these guys used to write lengthy songs that evolved consistently and unfolded like storybooks. This is just a boring Phil Collins adult-contemporary song that was dragged on for 11 freaking minutes. ...I mean, there are worse things than this in the universe of ours. The melody has some mildly intriguing hooks to them, and Collins' vocals are solidly delivered. The industrial-dance bit in the middle is left intact, and it's as ho-hum as ever. The instrumentals are altogether solid, playing it as closely to the original as they could. ...Now, please excuse me as I zone out for the rest of this song. (And try not to think too much about why I gave this version a higher rating than the other one... I guess it doesn't necessarily sound *that bad* considering the songs that surround it...)

Fading Lights C+

I'm giving these songs higher ratings than I did to their studio counterparts. It's Christmas in two days, so I must be getting in the Christmas spirit. I haven't memorized the original song, and I can't remember if it was this energetic, but during that extended instrumental interlude, I'm only mostly bored with it instead of having been taken to utter tedium. ...All the same, this is not exactly a 11-minute song that I was hoping for Genesis to have repeated anytime soon. The problem with it is not its execution or manner of professionalism... these guys always had professionalism... The problem with it is that I can't think of a good reason for its existence. The melody is boring, the harmonies are pretty much non-existent... Tony Banks does a nice job noodling around in there, but I can't see that he's doing anything other than blindly filling up notes. What happened to the creativity? Come on, you guys were creative even after Peter Gabriel left the band! I have proof! This is just 11-minutes of something I'm going to forget about as soon as the next song starts playing.

Home By the Sea / Second Home By the Sea B

Well, they're doing a pair of songs from 1983's, which is at least a small glimmer of hope, right? I really loved the first song, if you might remember, because the melody is inspired, and it's a total blast for me to sit through! Naturally, the melody is completely intact, and Collins sounds energized singing it. ...I'm much less enthused by the second half, which is more of that blank instrumental meandering. I suppose it's not as boring as similar meanderings in the previous tracks. I like that the drums are loud and pounding. But still. Blah, blah, blah.

Drum Duet B-

...Really? Did they think we wanted to hear Phil Collins and Chester Thompson battle it out with the drums? …Well I suppose somebody does! ...Not me, though. ...At the very least, they're playing an actual rhythm, and it's a fairly complex one at that. If only they would have come up with a rhythm like this for We Can't Dance and built up an interesting song around it! How awesome that would be... Oh by the way, this song is shorter than some of the songs included on The Shorts. So, you weren't even keeping true to the concept!


Calling All Stations (1997)

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Calling All Stations

Calling All Stations B-

See? I'm being as nice as possible. ...Truth be told, there's about one hook in this, but considering it's surrounded by a bunch of boring, overblown pop music, then I have a suspicion that it was accidental. The drums are very loud, and the background instrumentals are thick and cloudy. The new lead singer for Genesis, Ray Wilson, sounds a little bit like Peter Gabriel, and he's fit for such a song... Although by the end, he sounds like he's straining himself trying to hit some of those notes with a growling verve. ...He had to be singing that with his eyes closed.

Congo B+

Congo! That was a horrible movie, wasn't it? I saw it twice, and it was equally as bad both times... Anyway, this song isn't too bad. But then again, they're hitting one of my sweet spots by incorporating a little bit of world-beat music into this. This sounds like something right out of Peter Gabriel's Security... Except that album was already 15 years old when this album was released. ...Man, could Banks and Rutherford, all along, have secretly been wishing that Collins departed the band in 1975 instead of Gabriel and they could have stuck with Gabriel doing all that awesome world-beat stuff in the early '80s? ...Maybe I would have been, too! ...The drum machines are pretty cool, and Wilson sings a fitfully interesting though perhaps overly simple vocal melody. The backing instrumentals are, once again, very cloudy... Why couldn't they have made it crunchier?

Shipwrecked C

Well... As much as I want to give this album the benefit of the doubt, I can't help but think this song is booooooooring. Once again, it sounds like they were aping some of Peter Gabriel's albums—perhaps this time something out of Us—except it's tedious. The song isn't even four and a half minutes, but I'm counting down every second. The pacing is completely wrong for it; it needed about 100,000 times more drive. Wilson, I just want to smack him around by sounding so much like a self-important doodoo head. Banks could surely have done something more interesting with the synthesizers instead of those plodding whole notes he's playing in the background. ...Rutherford was on autopilot just playing those eighth notes with his bass. Blah, blah, blah.

Alien Afternoon B

The space-age introduction to this sounds like it should have been used at the beginning of a planetarium show. ...Maybe that's where Banks and Rutherford should have concentrated their efforts? The cheesy planetarium music circuit... Anyway, this is a very meandering song that lasts nearly eight minutes. At some points, there are vague hints of a reggae influence, which calls to mind The Police, but most of it is like an ordinarily overblown power ballad. It's all quite lame and uninteresting, but there's a point in the middle where it actually generates some momentum. Wilson continues to do a solo-career Peter Gabriel impersonation, and... Well, he's not too terrible, is he? If he ever does a Peter Gabriel tribute show near me, I'd probably go.

Not About Us C

This is where Genesis tells us, with conviction, that they didn't write this album because they were jealous of Peter Gabriel's Us. ...Except it does sound like a half-witted song from that album! This song doesn't start too terribly, with an acoustic guitar and Wilson singing a vaguely interesting vocal melody in a Gabriel-ish way... But he just keeps on REPEATING it over and over and over again, and it gets exponentially worse every time. To prove that Banks and Rutherford weren't on top of their game, they very awkwardly bring in an instrumental interlude section. It's only a few seconds long and played on a squeaky synthesizer, which has me thinking What the hell was that? The fade-out is also at a terrible spot... It just seems to happen randomly in the middle of a verse... Yeesh. (It's not the first time an awkward fade-out like that happened on this album, but this is the moment it's starting to irritate me.)

If That's What You Need D+

...Now these lyrics are starting to irritate me. Cliché after cliché. Groan. ...They completely rip off that bubbly rhythm guitar pattern from “Hold On My Heart” from We Can't Dance, which—I can't believe I'm saying this—sounds like a masterpiece in comparison to this song. Once again, the instrumentation is muddy and boring. I'm not sure what Banks thought he was doing, but I'm a crappy piano player, and I would have no problem recreating everything he's doing with his muddy synthesizers. Rutherford plops some electric guitar licks in the middle of the chorus, and … geez. I guess at least it distracts me from the awful melody.

The Dividing Line D

What's with this album? The song starts out OK with a synth-bass groove that's kind of cool. But it isn't long before it launches itself into a repetitive and vastly uninteresting passage... And that's basically where it stays for the remaining seven and a half minutes. Wilson, once again, gives a gritty Peter Gabriel impersonation, sounding all loud and dramatic. And he might have sounded alright if the song was interesting at all. The melody is utterly hookless, of course, and the synthesizers are dark and depressing.

Uncertain Weather C-

Is this album over yet? The good news is that I can fathom something worse than this album, but … I'm sort of in the middle of hell right now, and I want out. This is really difficult for me to fathom, but this adult contemporary ballad is even worse than the ones from We Can't Dance. The melody is not interesting at all and I can't really understand why they even bothered having one. The background instrumentals might have sounded decent for a made-for-TV outer space adventure. ...The one thing I like about this song is one chord change that occurs during its soaring chorus. Whenever it hits that, it almost seems like a real song.

Small Talk C-

What year is this again? 1997? This song sounds like it's from 1987. It has buzzy synth-bass and reverb-heavy drums. I might not have a problem with that if only the song were actually well-written. But no. It stinks. So what we're left with is a horrid song that sounds embarrassingly like it was made 10 years ago. ...I will admit the groove is sort of fun for about 20 seconds, and there's a moment in the middle where I hear a harp playing a groove amidst some sound effects of people talking. ...What a GENIUS idea! (Seriously, I kind of like that part.)

There Must be Some Other Way D+

Why are they writing so many dark and depressing songs? ...Don't Tony Banks and Michael Rutherford know how to...... Smile? …Now look, depressing songs can be pretty cool if they're well-written, but this one is... Ugh... Wilson sings a little bit too much here, sounding more like Adam Sander doing a Bruce Springsteen impersonation. The groove at first isn't terrible, but it's not too long before it completely starts to bore the ever-loving crap out of me. …And this song doesn't end. Eight minutes. Aggh!

One Man's Fool D+

THIS SONG IS NINE MINUTES LONG! I FINALLY REACHED THE END OF THIS HORRID ALBUM, AND YOU DO THIS TO ME!!! If they're going to spend so much time on a song, couldn't they have at least put something interesting in it? I mean, the only thing good about it is that there's a gradual push from its beginning to its conclusion... but the whole thing is just one LONG blur to me. The energy it picks up is impossible for me to get into, because the melody is boring. The instrumentation continues to be just standard. Still dark, still uninteresting, still a bit too '80s for its own good. Ray Wilson? Blah.


Genesis Archive 1967-75 (1998)

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Genesis Archive 1967-75

DISC 1

The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway A+

Well! The first excellent thing about this Genesis archive collection is that it contains an entire live concert performance of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. ...That means the first two discs of this album are exclusively material from that album, and … wow! I guess that means I'm going to be reviewing these tracks once again! (I won't be as detailed, I don't think.) ...At the beginning of this track, we hear some audience cheering, and then Peter Gabriel introduces the concept of the album in a tone-of-voice as though he were a seasoned thespian. (Hey! Anyone confused about the plot of this rock opera might want to check this out to get a new point-of-view!) The song itself is performed almost exactly like it was on the album, which means it rules. You can hear Gabriel really getting into the performance art of this, and some of his intonations are much more pronounced than they were on the album... and of course, he's still singing well. He's entertaining and carries the tune solidly.

Fly on a Windshield A

Tony Banks' synthesizers are pretty entertaining, sounding like a zombie choir of monks, or something. ...I noticed that I want to give this a higher score than the studio version! Maybe that's because I like Steven Hackett's guitar solo especially well here, which is soaring and fits the brooding mood of the source material soaringly.

Broadway Melody of 1974 A

I've seen a couple of those old Broadway Melody movies... God knows why... Anyway, Gabriels vocals continue to be top notch, solidly hitting all the notes, but also doing more compelling performance art. At some points toward the end, he's nearly talking... All very dramatic.

Cuckoo Cocoon A

I'm still loving the hell out of this... Though I know all too well at this moment that the original song's main appeal was its atmosphere, which they just can't recreate that well on the stage. All the same, it's a good song no matter how it's performed. The arpeggiating guitars and keyboards are lovely, and so is Gabriel's vocal melody. He even comes in with a couple of beautiful, brooding flute solos. ...Peter Gabriel + flute = awesome.

In the Cage A

Oh man... They're playing the whole thing!! Do you know how much I wish I was there? ...I should mention at some point that the recording quality is very good. I can hear the vocals and instrumentals mixed with crystal clarity... and they also were careful not to white wash the audience noise too much. These guys were a top-notch band at this point, too—they were able to play their prescribed instrumentals tightly, and as I've mentioned extensively, Gabriel is performing this material as though he were extremely proud of it. ...And this particular song is just as dramatic and enjoyable as the studio cut, which was of course already great. Banks' synthesizer solo in the middle hadn't lost an ounce of its energy.

The Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging A

Peter Gabriel is really into this. I don't know why I'm marveling over that... I guess I figured he wouldn't be since I know he's going to leave the band shortly after this... Just like the song of the album, it's very catchy and like a showtune. Although, of course, they couldn't quite recreate Brian Eno's sound effects throughout it, but what we do get is especially clear and crunchy Phil Collins drumming! You can't go wrong there! ...After the song is over, Gabriel updates us on the plot of the story in that thespian voice of his. The dude should've been in a Shakespearean play or something...

Back in N.Y.C. B

Oh, I've never been a huge fan of the song, mostly because of that clumsy synthesizer arpeggio that plays throughout somewhat unchanging. With this live cut, the arpeggio comes across in my speaker pretty loudly, which only serves to distract me from the vocals, which let's face it, aren't singing anything terribly catchy. I don't really like that synthesizer tone Banks picked out... Although I guess I'd take that over those blank tones he would pick out all throughout We Can't Dance! I'm not overly enjoying Gabriel's dramatic intonations, although he's still good of course. They play a few riffs in here, but none of them are catchy.

Hairless Heart A

I like how I said in my review of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway that this beautiful and calm instrumental is a means of helping us recuperate after the dark and not-terribly-enjoyable previous song. Some of those synthesizer textures they come up with are beautiful, and they do play a memorable melody line with a neat-sounding synthesizer. (Tony Banks was the master at synthesizers, after all...)

Counting Out Time A+

Pop music! Did you think Genesis went pop music in 1983? No! Here's a pop song from 1975! ...I mean, ABBA wouldn't have sounded too out of place singing a song like this... although they probably wouldn't have treated some of those darker interlude sections quite the same way that Gabriel did. It's a bouncy song with a melody that's as catchy as anything they'd ever done. I love that crunchy guitar, which seems far more distorted than it ought to be... And then later on, we're treated to a guitar that sounds weirdly squeaky. Both are very cool sounds. (Somebody's muttering in a screechy voice at the end of this. What's that all about?)

The Carpet Crawlers A+

Yet another one of my favorite songs from the original album, and I confess I'm thrilled to death of hearing it again... Tony Banks recreates that rapid-fingered and gentle synthesizer texture very well in the live setting, and Gabriel follows suit with a passionate vocal performance solidly delivering that extremely captivating melody. Just as the studio version, it starts calmly but grows gradually louder and more dynamic as it goes along. By the end, it's positively glorious. ...This is surely one of the greatest songs ever written, and they nailed it live. I'm jealous of every single one of the people in the audience.

The Chamber of 32 Doors B

They play this album so closely from the studio album that they didn't even try to improve some of the songs I never originally cared for. Just like the original, I have a very hard time getting caught into its clunky groove, and Gabriel's vocal melody doesn't do much for me... All those power chords are a bit boring to me. However, Gabriel is still being theatrical and dramatic as hell.

DISC 2

Lilywhite Lilith A

This is especially fun to hear in this live setting, since it's a loud and bombastic song, and Gabriel performs it with particular verve. Collins plays his drums loudly, and it's a marvel hearing all those tight fills he comes up with. Though as far as melody goes, this was never one of the stronger ones... in fact, I wouldn't really say they're trying to sing a melody apart from the chorus... since Gabriel treats it like a major performance art piece, which I assume it was.

The Waiting Room A-

They are certainly serving their audience members well with this song... The original track was an array of sound-effects and by all accounts a song that could only work as a product from the recording studio. But they do their best to try to make the same sounds in this live version! For sure, it's very rough around the edges, but they do it, and the track still comes across nicely as a real song that has passion and gets louder and more dynamic as it progresses. The main vehicle of its dramatic progression is Collins' drumming, which starts to get really loud and busy at the end. This is surprisingly a solid performance.

Anyway A

Ah now, who could argue that this wasn't one of Genesis' best songs ever? (You could try, but I might have to beat you up.) That keyboard arpeggio is captivating, and Gabriel sings one of the catchier, theatrical vocal performances of this entire rock opera. ...I think I might actually enjoy the original of this a little too much, since I miss some of those more gentle textures that were originally there, and maybe that more violent mid-section comes off as a bit sloppy. But still, this is a brilliant performance of an excellent song.

The Supernatural Anaesthetist B

Whatever that is, it sounds crazy! Once again, they're pretty faithfully recreating the same songs from the original album... and the original album, while undeniably fantastic, was never perfect. This instrumental interlude section makes a nice listen, but fails to ignite my attention. There's some nice guitar work on here, and Gabriel's theatrics are always entertaining.

The Lamia B+

This is one of the more lengthy portions of the rock opera, and not one of the more exciting ones. There are long passages of arpeggios, while nice to listen to, aren't exactly marvels of composition! They're playing a pretty excellent chord progression, though. Also, Gabriel comes in with a beautiful vocal melody, which he's singing as though it were the last day on earth. Hackett, as expected, does an excellent job with the guitar solo at the end, which comes through so clearly in my speakers that it's powerful. Really, the recording of this live concert is fantastic.

Silent Sorrow in Empty Boats A-

The beginning of this song is beautiful with those vocal synths that fade in and out mysteriously, and that nicely done synthesizer arpeggio playing repeatedly. There are some noodly synthesizers, and something that sounds like a glockenspiel. They're playing a very delicate texture, and it's amazing they were able to create something like this live. It's captivating for its entire three minutes.

The Colony of Slippermen A-

Slippers! My mom got me these yuppie slippers for Christmas that look like loafters... except I don't have any plaid pajamas to go with them... Maybe there's some floating around the Colony of Slippermen? ...Anyway, this composition pretty much picks up where the previous one left off... A lot of synthesizer and guitar noodling. They're playing a jumbled texture. I hear the audience erupting in several spots, so there must've been something awesome happening on the stage. And all those lucky bastards got to see it! …After that, a busy organ riff pipes up (that I've never been wild about) and Gabriel does more of his theatrical vocal performances, and he's as entertaining as ever. ...Hearing him growl sinisterly like that, in particular, is hilarious and awesome. Of course, this being an eight-minute song, you can expect it to explore a variety of textures. Surely, their stuff from Selling England By the Pound had much more absorbing and interesting textures than this, but these guys still were the masters.

Ravine A-

This instrumental was never one of the big highlights of the album, but it's so brief that it was more of a segue anyway. There's some wind effects and a spooky, theremin sounding instrument. A guitar is rumbling in the background, which gives it a really neat and ominous texture. I am more impressed that they were able to do this live! (Not too sure if it was planned but there's an audience member yelling unintelligibly in the middle of this...)

The Light Dies Down on Broadway A

Without a doubt, another one of the highlights from the original studio album, which was full of highlights. The melody was a variation of the opening song, which isn't inappropriate for a rock opera, and Gabriel gives a vibrant and dramatic vocal performance as good as always. ...Are his vocals getting tired, though? Heck, mine would after all of these acrobatics he was forced to do throughout this massive rock opera. Still hugely entertaining to listen to, of course. The instrumentalists continue to do a wonderful job recreating the textures that were on the original album.

Riding the Scree B+

Another tight texture although this certainly was never one of their more fascinating creations. It's based on a dark organ loop that crawls around in the depths. There are some interesting themes played with synthesizers. It's an instrumental until halfway when Gabriel decides to sing a bit! Some of his play acting is very entertaining, but he doesn't exactly inject mountains of life into this! As a whole, this is another excellent live creation... Just that the song they were recreating was never one of my favorites.

In the Rapids A-

...And that song melds into this one, a gentle folk song with a passionate vocal performance from Gabriel. Banks noodles around with his synthesizer, and seems a bit too loud in the mix. ...I also find it interesting that I'm hearing Hackett play his guitar in a manner that sounds like it's played backwards... It's funny, I always thought that had to be done in the studio.

It A+

Well... it turns out that going through the live version of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway wasn't a cumbersome task after all! Then again, I don't know why I thought it would be. There are so many songs, more likely. Well, they do a great job recreating this dramatic and exciting closer. ...Maybe one piece of evidence that this rock opera wasn't perfect is because the last four songs on this album don't really seem to fit together... They should have tried to let it progress a little more fluently... But anyway, I'm nitpicking. This was a punchy closer in the studio, and it's just as punchy live. Gabriel gives as dramatic performance as he could even though it's pretty clear his vocal chords are tired! (Wow, I just read that Genesis had to rerecord this song for this box set in the late '90s, because they ran out of tape at the show... I hadn't even noticed that these guys were older... except for my comment about Gabriel's “tired” voice... I guess that's how I thought to interpret its different sound. He still had a great voice in his older days, and this band sounds absolutely phenomenal. I'm surprised Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel and Steve Hacket didn't want to strangle the other two for Calling All Stations.)

DISC 3

Dancing With the Moonlit Knight A+

I'm not sure what's going on at the beginning of this, but someone from the audience screams something unintelligibly, and then Peter Gabriel growls in a low voice “Wrong!” ...It's pretty funny, even though I have no idea what the interaction was about... In that same voice, he introduces the song, and then he's start to sings its a cappella opening. As my favorite song of Genesis' discography, I really LOVE hearing it again. The melody is beautiful, and the instrumentalists very faithfully recreate the studio track. All its crescendos are handled beautifully, and Phil Collins' live drumming continues to be phenomenal. (He does sound much more loud in the mix than I'm used to, but it's not a bad thing being able to hear his fills more clearly.) All those synthesizer and guitar solos are tremendously exciting! ...As a hardcore fan of this song, I'm very satisfied!

Firth of Fifth A+

They cut out Tony Banks' piano solo at the beginning of this?!?! Awwww... That was one of my favorite parts... But rest assured, we still get to hear him play in other parts of the song, even though he's using some sort of synthesizer instead of a real piano. Oh well. And anyway, this is a great song even without it. One of Steve Hackett's greatest, most soaring guitar solos is brilliantly performed here in the final third. The melody is phenomenal and it's delivered dramatically by Gabriel, as we'd all expect. He makes a few exaggerated intonations that are different from the studio cut, so... maybe listening to this won't immediately give you the urge to just put on the original cut. Gabriel's ominous flute passage is still here and it's great as always!

More Fool Me A

Someone's speaking French at the beginning of this? Hahahhhhh... The French language is silly. Anyway, this is Phil Collins' first song ever written with Genesis. I still don't know why so many people claim to dislike it! It's a nice little folky pop song, though of course it pales in comparison with something like “Firth of Fifth” … but it doesn't want to be a song like that! Phil Collins, who I still say is an excellent singer (although still in his tender, formative stage at this point... he'd peak as a singer in the early '80s), does give a genuinely heartfelt vocal performance here, and the melody is sweet. Who says this is a bad song, again? (People who think that anyone who would write a song like “Sussudio” is automatically a bad seed?)

Supper's Ready A+

AWESOMENESS IS READY!!! Here is a full-length rendition of that great side-long song from Foxtrot. That''s enough for most classic Genesis fans to flip their lid, isn't it? I'd be willing to give it an A+ just out of principle if only this rendition didn't kick ass in its own right—I mean, it'd be reasonable for even a box set to not have enough room for a 26-minute track. There's some play acting at the beginning of this. Peter Gabriel gives a dramatic narrative, and it's entertaining as always... There's some stage banter going on, but without the visuals, it's hard for me to figure out what's going on. There's also about a minute's worth of goofy scat singing and whistling... When they're done goofing around, they're ready to play it! The song!! Gabriel introduces it to considerable applause from the audience, and I want to applaud with them. Just like the original studio cut, the melody is hooky and brilliant sung, hearing all its gentle textures gradually evolve and crescendo throughout it has me almost as starry-eyed as listening to the original cut does. I'm still amazed they were able to play them so well live! Listening to that album, I would have thought some of those textures were the products of endless overdubs, but apparently they didn't need it ...Of course, I won't even try to describe every moment of this 23-minute masterpiece. I'll have to let you all listen to it for yourselves!

I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) A+

Another one of my favorite Genesis songs of all time, and they perform it BRILLIANTLY. Oh man... Any true-blue Genesis fan would really be amiss without having this box set in their collection... Granted, they're pretty much playing these songs exactly as we remember them in the studio apart from an especially goofy rendition of the opening monologue! Gabriels main vocal performance is a little weird... he flails about in a manner that I might not have expected him to. It almost sounds like he has a cold... Interestingly enough, I can hear members of the audience helping him out with the melody! Banks' synthesizers are very bubbly and odd here. ...But anyway, this has got to be one of the catchiest melodies in history of mankind. Those hooks are pure gold.

Stagnation B

What's this?! A song all the way back from Trespass! Funny, I had nearly forgotten about that album! According from Wikipedia, this was taken from a 1971 show from the BBC... Thank god for the BBC, who preserved some of the greatest live recordings ever from bands! This was never one of Genesis' finer songs, but the recording quality is pristine. Really, it's a very pretty folk song up until those weird synthesizer and guitar stabs that pop up a bit awkwardly toward the beginning. ...Even the folky textural stuff in the middle gets a bit boring, but my interest is captured once again when they take a few moments to rock out in the middle. But still... this is a nine minute song, and I'm kinda yawning through it. It only goes to show how greatly they improved this act later on (i.e., all the other songs that appeared previously on this disc).

Twilight Alehouse A-

Oh here we go! A song that I never heard before! According to Wikipedia, this eight-minute song was released as a B-side to “I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe).” ...And wow! It's not bad! I'm a little shocked this is the first time I'm hearing it. Although, if at some point they were considering this song for inclusion on this album, and they left it off, then they made a good decision. The textures are nice, but that singularly pounding drum is mixed a little too loudly, and I really don't like that jarring transition to that faster, upbeat, and almost jazzy section that pops up throughout the piece. The melody is OK and beautifully delivered by Gabriel, but it's a far cry from matching the worst stuff from Selling England By the Pound (which was great). Gabriel does noodle around with his flute frequently, which is very well done. It's a good showcase to how good of a flutist he was... In typical Genesis fashion, it gets busier and more exciting by its conclusion.

Happy the Man B

Here is another single that I had never heard before! This was released in 1972... And it isn't even three minutes long, so could this have been their attempt for a radio hit? ...10 whole years before they were selling radio hits like hotcakes? ...Well, listening to this song, it's no wonder they didn't write pop music! They were far too weird for it. This is a bright and sunny, sounding a bit like they were trying to be Beatlesesque, except some of the turns it takes are pretty weird, and I'm not sure about that chorus. The hooks are present, but never very addictive, so it's no wonder this never made it on the radio! ...This is interesting to hear, though.

Water of the Skies (Remix) A

Apparently they also tried to shorten and remix the opening song for Foxtrot into a radio single as well. Seasoned Genesis fans might find this interesting to listen to, because there are some differences other than the cut length. There are some extra overdubs put on the vocals, I suppose, to make it sound more powerful, and there's another bit of melody in the fade-out that seems new to me. ...Of course, this is hardly better than the full version, because the full version has so many fantastic parts to it! Nevertheless, it's novel to hear a slight variation to the version that we've all come to know and love...

DISC 4

In the Wilderness A-

Whew! I made it all the way to the final disc! ...Although there are 20 songs on this! These songs were all taken from that era before Genesis were trying to be a prog band... You remember that album I reviewed what seems like a billion years ago called From Genesis to Revolution, which contained songs that were heavily inspired by '60s Bee Gees albums... Well, this particular song is a very nice one with twinkly pianos in the verses and a more dynamic verses section confidently delivered by this very young Peter Gabriel. It's a nicely written song. It's a demo, so don't expect the recording quality to be great, but it's not terrible either.

Shepherd A

...This is one of the fruitiest songs I've ever heard from Genesis, and that's really saying something. ...Maybe I like fruity things, or something, because I'm really enjoying this. The melody is sweet and Gabriel's vocal performance is strangely passionate for such goofy lyrics. (“So they ride through a valley of mist / To a castle in the heavens / Where he lays her down to rest / But he's lost and gone forever with the dawn / See her writhe in her dream, then... / Mermaids sing in the sunset / Sadly asking if beauty ever walks free / But Queen Frost only whispers / Maidens you will remain to be free”.) I get the impression that Gabriel could have either made millions writing pop music or millions writing fantasy novels... either way, he'd be wealthy.

Pacidy B

I really appreciate the chance to hear these obscure old songs... even though it was recorded in an era that's not terribly well-loved! (It was recorded before Trespass came out... so I guess this is the transition between their Bee Gees and Prog days...) Some of the acoustic textures they come out with is very nice, and Gabriel's dramatically presented vocals are entertaining as always. However, this thing is nearly six minutes long, and it does get a bit boring. It would have actually made a nice fit on Trespass, but … eh... It's just as well that it would finally appear on this archival release.

Let Us Now Make Love A

I was wondering who that second singer was on this song, and … Well, it's Anthony Phillips! When we're hearing Anthony Phillips, we know that we're really going far back into the band's history. ...I'm not sure what the hardcore fans think about this, but here's another one of these early songs that I love listening to. It's basically a folk song that crescendos quite a lot, but it's very elegant in the way it does it. Phillips plays an engaging pattern on his 12-string guitar, and when it picks up into its chorus, it's exciting. The melody is beautiful, engaging, and it's sung very well. It's more than six minutes long, but I love it the whole way.

Going Out to Get You A-

What the freaky freak is this? It's like Motown R&B after taking a weird pill. This starts out with a very unusual piano groove that Tony Banks—I presume—is playing. Peter Gabriel sings a weirdly screechy lead vocals. ...At its core, it's a rather generic rock 'n' roll tune, but it's presented so strangely. Maybe it's closer to The Residents than it is Genesis. ...It's sort of fun, though, especially that part toward the end where Gabriel starts singing like some twisted wizard... (“Curl your flimsy leaves around me / Sorceress you cannot still command / Burning in the orifice of Hades / Sacrifice your magic to my hand / Are you really evil?”) ...I'm not terribly sure what to make of this song, but it's amusing the crap out of me.

Dusk B

Dusk! There's a golden oldie from Trespass... even though it's one of my least favorite tracks from one of my least favorite Genesis albums. No matter! It's a demo version, and so it's only here for the die hard fans. ...I hear a clicking sound. I'm not sure if that's the drummer, or some sort of metronome they had in there to help them keep the rhythm. I do like hearing this version, especially how their crescendo picks up steam. Some of those non-verbal, high-pitched background vocals are very beautiful, too. ...It is unfortunate they couldn't remove those clicking sounds, because it gets grating having to listen to that for six straight minutes. Without that, I would have been compelled to give this a higher rating than I did the actual final cut.

Build Me a Mountain B-

Here's a song that was recorded at the same time as “Dusk,” except it never made it on Trespass. Probably a good thing it didn't. Even though this is far more rock 'n' rolling than I ever would have expected from Genesis, this is sort of awkward. It's kind of like “Going Out to Get You” except not nearly as quirky and amusing. The guitars are crunchy, but I don't like those choppy and stiff chords they play throughout. But in other spots, they start to generate quite a raucous groove, and some background organ noises and mystical background vocals help it generate quite a thick haze. ...Since this is also a demo cut, it all sounds very rough. The melody isn't bad, though, and Gabriel's vocals are pretty fantastic. He's at least taking it seriously!

Image Blown Out B+

Yet another entirely unheard-of song! And... Wow... It's a very '60s sounding piano-pop song with an interesting chord progression. Maybe they should have given it to Petula Clark to sing? It's right up her alley. (That's not a burn, by the way; Petula Clark is awesome.) The melody is pretty catchy. If they gave this the full studio treatment, there's no reason this couldn't have been a cute radio hit. ...It's certainly better than David Bowie's pop songs from the same era.

One Day B+

Wow, this is another very nice '60s pop song with the piano serving as the main instrument... except this isn't quite so poppy. The verses are pretty sweet, and that eventually erupts into a fitfully catchy chorus, and some background vocals give it a little bit of atmosphere. I don't find this quite as catchy as the previous song, but I find that I'm really enjoying it, oddly enough. (I've read about these unheard Genesis songs from the late '60s, but I didn't figure they were actually worth giving the time of day...) They even let it end with a huge piano chord... epic.

Where the Sour Turns to Sweet A-

Oh, here's one I remember being on From Genesis to Revelation... And I guess this is a nice pick for anyone who thought the original song was too cheesy and '60s-ish. The mix of course is very rough, and there aren't any strings to be heard in this. Some background vocals and Tony Banks' (I presume?) playing some piano, which sounds like it was flooding the recording equipment! It's certainly a nicely written song, though. The melody is good, and young Peter Gabriel had such a nice singing voice at... er... 17 when he did this, I believe.

In the Beginning A-

Yay... here's a demo version of another song I remember enjoying in From Genesis to Revelation. It packs a lot of drama, and it has plenty of nice hooks in it... I almost forget they were doing these songs in the late '60s, and they all came from well-off, middle-class families. ...They were all art nerds..........

The Magic of Time B

The magic of time?!? How's that for a goofy art-nerd title of a song? It's kind of an interesting piano-pop tune with a rather nice, wandering melody. The drummer is playing an odd—I want to call it “skiffly”--sort of beat. It doesn't totally fit and I find it too distracting, but then again, I'm already well versed in the fact that many of these early songs are weird. ...It's also not too bad. It has a few nice hooks in it.

Hey! B-

Hey! Here's another extremely early Genesis song that didn't manage to make it on From Genesis to Revelation. It's a pop song, but the hooks aren't too potent, and the instrumentals are very washed out. It's not terribly interesting... and those calls of “Hey!” in the background are pretty dumb and monotonous. ...But hey! These guys were in their formative stages! Cut 'em a break!

Hidden in the World of Dawn C+

Maybe at this point, I'm a little less marveled over the novelty of these early Peter Gabriel and Genesis tunes... but, er, maybe these songs just aren't that good? It's a piano ballad, and Gabriel's extremely youthful voice comes in earnestly, but he's not singing much of a melody. The background singers come in a little too strongly and ends up cluttering things up quite a bit. Is that Tony Banks playing the piano? Hah, I bet he was embarrassed to hear this song again...

Sea Bee B-

It's kind of cool just hearing Genesis devolve like this... At the beginning of the disc, they sounded almost entirely mature compared to this! This song, we hear Tony Banks playing somewhat amateurishly at the piano, and Gabriel not really that confident as a singer. It would come off as an excellent song for an original musical these guys might put on for their school, but it's a bit sketchy for all of us other listeners who had the benefit of hearing all the stuff they would release in the future.

The Mystery of Flannan Isle Lighthouse B-

What I said about the previous track can be applied to this one. We hear Tony Banks playing the piano sketchily, and a very young and non-confident Peter Gabriel sings a somewhat confused vocal melody with back-up singers that tend to clutter things up instead of building things up. There is at least a hint of their future style here where Banks finds a pretty arpeggio to play and the back-up singers play one long, majestic, extended note. ...But of course it is charming hearing these extremely early songs from such a young talent.

Hair on the Arms and Legs C+

Banks' piano is getting worse and worse, I'd wager... He goes off on this tangent here, and he's just choppy. Although I'd say he manages to come up with a few nice chord progressions and patterns in here... Yes, there's certainly indication that he'd eventually become one of rock 'n' roll's more renown keyboardists in the future. Unfortunately, the song itself isn't terribly interesting. Although it is dramatic, or it tries to be. I hear the Gabriel-ness coming out of it when he mildly belts out a dramatic holler of “What's the use!”

She is Beautiful B-

They would later rewrite the lyrics for this and call it “The Serpent” for inclusion on their debut album... I kind of like it, because I recognize its piano riff... Although, as everything else has been towards the end of this disc, the instrumentation and presentation is very sketchy. (I guess that is to be expected, because this is a “demo,” after all...) But still, the main melody is only mildly interesting to me.

Try a Little Sadness B-

Don't we get enough sadness in the universe? ...Oh, well. So, this is another pretty sketchy pop song with such a charmingly inexperienced Peter Gabriel doing the lead vocals once again. Though the melody isn't terrible, and the chord progression shows at least they knew exactly what they were doing early on. If they sold this song to Motown, this might have been turned into a pretty kicking song...

Patricia B-

And we've reached the end... Or the beginning? According to Wikipedia, this was recorded on Easter in 1967, and it's the earliest song credited to Genesis on this disc. It's a rather pretty instrumental from an acoustic guitar. Later on, drums that we can barely hear pop in. They would later add lyrics to this and rename it “In Hiding” for their debut.


Genesis Archive 2: 1976-1992 (2000)

Read the full review:
Genesis Archive 2: 1976-1992

DISC 1

On the Shoreline B

Here we go again... A new day, a new Genesis archive... This song is the B-side to the 1991 hit single “I Can't Dance,” and I gotta say... it's not too bad. I was plagued with the notion that the actual album was pretty much filled to the brim with every single song they had conceivably come into their heads, and I didn't have my hopes up about songs that were left off the album. The hooks aren't among pop-Genesis' strongest, of course, and I find those synthesizer chords to be rather dead. (Shouldn't Banks be grooving with his synthesizers, or something?) But Collins' vocal performance is quite loud and passionate, which does a lot for it, and there's a rather soaring section that pops up briefly in the middle that somehow captivates me. Why couldn't the whole song have been like that?

Hearts on Fire B+

Well then you'd better put them out!!! (I'm so witty...) Well, this non-LP song was the B-side to “Jesus He Knows Me,” and... Wow, it's a perfectly good pop song! It's certainly on the upper range of that B+, and I'm somewhat dismayed they couldn't have included this on the album. I'd say the chorus is a bit dumb although it's not necessarily out of place with that goofy synth-bass that is plodding all over the place. Some of Banks' keyboard groove creates an interesting texture... certainly more interesting than those blocky things he was playing in the previous track!

You Might Recall B+

This is one of the studio songs that was originally included on Three Sides Live, but it was left off the CD version in favor of more live cuts. It's also notable, because this was around the time when Phil Collins era Genesis was at their absolute peak... Collins' vocals are strong and soulful particularly at those moments he hits some of those soaring notes. The melody and riff unfortunately is something of a mixed bag... Neither is anything in particular to write home about, but it has enough good moments on it that I value the time I spend listening to it.

Paperlate A

This is certainly a great “lost” Genesis song... It's another pick left off of Three Sides Live... So I guess we can say this song single-handedly justifies the release of the 1976-92 archive release? It's an energetic pop song with one of the loudest and most passionate Phil Collins vocals ever, and the horn section, from Earth, Wind & Fire really packs a punch. The melody might be simple, but it's catchy and very suitable for '80s pop.

Evidence of Autumn B+

Yet another very nice song, although hardly anything excellent like “Paperlate.” It starts out pretty nicely with a sullen piano and a mellow melody from Collins, but then it takes on a few diversions that I can't really get into, such as a strange bouncy synth section that pops up for some reason around the three-minute mark. (I had criticisms of them doing stuff like that before... they suddenly add a new section in a song for no other reason than they were Genesis and supposed to be “artistic.”) There are some rather decent hooks in here, but not enough for my taste. ...I'll also mention that there are two other songs that were originally on Three Sides Live that aren't included on this box set. ...They're arguably the two worst, but why not have a complete box set? I suppose this is why God invented file sharing...

Do the Neurotic A-

This is the B-side to the thoroughly underwhelming song from Invisible Touch, “In Too Deep,” and I've gotta take a moment to express some surprise: Holy crap, the B-side is better than the actual single. “In Too Deep” sounded boringly like one of Phil Collins' adult-contemporary solo songs, but this song is actually FAR more worthy of Genesis' good name. In fact, it's better than the vast majority of instrumentals on that album; it has an exciting pace, which is supplied by some REAL drumming from one of the best drummers in the world, Phil Collins, and … Could it be? Michael Rutherford giving a few blistering electric guitar solo? Even Tony Banks shows us in a few occasions that he still had some testosterone running through his brain. ...Wow! This is more than seven minutes long, and it's very fun! Seriously, they should have included this on Invisible Touch and stuck one of those crappy songs like “Domino” as the B-side to that crappy Phil Collins hit.

I'd Rather Be You B

This was the B-side to “Throwing it All Away.” While not as surprisingly decent as “Do the Neurotic,” it's still handily better than it's actual A-side. ...Although this song still isn't the great shakes. It's based on a very stiff guitar and drum machine riff, and Collins' vocal melody isn't terribly memorable. I'm not going to be humming it underneath my breath later today, but it makes a fitfully entertaining listen.

Naminanu A-

That sounds like what Mork used to say... Well, this was the B-side to “Keep it Dark,” and it's very nearly an instrumental. (We hear Collins come in, repeating the nonsensical song title over and over again.) His drumming is pretty phenomenal throughout, and Tony Banks also comes in with some interesting synthesizer work, which combines with Collins' vocals to create a very interesting textured effect. ...But maybe the biggest surprise is hearing so much of Michael Rutherford sounding good. Genesis always liked to suppress their guitarists, but here's an instance where we do get to hear him in a few spots uninterrupted. ...Anyway, this is a bright and vibrant song. It's a bit silly, but it's excellent. They should have been silly a little more often!

Inside Out A

What the hell? They left this off of Wind & Wuthering?!?! It would have been the best goshdarn song on that album. I mean, it's beautiful!! An acoustic guitar creates a mesmerizing texture—just like good old, classic old Genesis—and the beautiful melody is delivered sweetly by Phil Collins. It even experiences quite a nice crescendo where... er... Tony Banks comes in with a pretty weird synth-solo. Oh no, could Banks have sabotaged this song? ...But anyway, this is a beautiful and exciting song that surely would have been a credit to the album it was axed from. (It would be included in a 1977 EP release called Pigeons. A second song from that EP is included here, but a third called “Match of the Day” is nowhere to be found. It's an excellent pop song! It was obviously too excellent for inclusion on the terminally dull Wind & Wuthering. I don't get why couldn't have squeezed it on here. Certainly another song that would deserve a solid A.)

Feeding the Fire B+

...I really don't get why they left so many awesome songs off of Invisible Touch. I'm just flabbergasted. It almost completely rewrites my image of Genesis in the mid-'80s. While this isn't the greatest song in the history of mankind, it's exciting and Collins gives a rightfully soaring and growling vocal performance. The guitars and synthesizers sound violent, which makes this a rather driving song. My only complaint is that quieter section that pops up occasionally, which isn't terribly interesting, and it only disrupts that tremendous momentum that the other parts of the song had generated.

I Can't Dance [12'' Version] A-

Oh man!!! Why would they include a remix instead of “Match of the Day” and “Me and Virgil” (and who knows if there are other Genesis songs I'm not aware of!) ...But I've got to say. Even though it seems like 99.5% of remixes aren't worth listening to, they give this one an interesting, quirky groove. It's also very lush, which is an interesting contrast to the original, which was sort of minimal like Collins' signature solo work was. ...I don't necessarily think that the heavy synth-scapes, those whooshy rhythmic synthesizers, and the flurry of calculator synths were a great fit for it... But still. It captured my interest enough to not want to press the skip button. Of course, it helps that this is an excellent pop song, anyway.

Submarine A

This is an interesting B-side... and once again, it's far more interesting than its accompanying A-side. It's a brooding instrumental... basically one long crescendo. When it starts out, I'm almost bored with it, but they manage to very gradually build it up such that I am more and more fascinated with it as it moves along. By its end, it's positively magnificent! Tony Banks' synthscapes are pretty good, too, creating a thick atmosphere that sounds like it should have been included in a movie somewhere... and as always, Collins' drumming is fantastic. His fills always seem just right.

DISC 2

Illegal Alien A

OK, now we're on the second disc, which can only mean one thing: LIVE RECORDINGS! ...Live recordings of course dominated the first Genesis archive whereas this archive concentrated more on non-LP studio songs... And that's exactly the way it should have been since there were three Collins-era live albums and only one Gabriel-era one... which wasn't a double album! ...But anyway, this is one of my favorite Collins-era songs, and I have a lot of fun hearing them do it live. They were of course a great live band... since this was an exciting and catchy song on its album, you can expect it to be exciting and catchy in its live form.

Dreaming While You Sleep C

One of the boring selections from We Can't Dance that I don't care about. Didn't we get enough of these on the Way We Walk live album series? ...Oh well... I guess they wanted to be complete... to the extent that they didn't want to include “Match of the Day.” …Well, this song is boring as hell. Collins didn't suddenly discover an interesting hook in this (apart from a vaguely interesting hook in its loudly sung chorus), and Tony Banks is still falling asleep at the synthesizer. Worst of all, it just goes on and on and on and on and on, etc.

It's Gonna Get Better B+

You promise? Well, including another live version of a song from 1983's Genesis is an excellent start! (That album was woefully underrepresented in The Way We Walk, so it's good that this album picks up its lag...) This is a nicely hooky song, and I like those goofy synthesizer grooves that Tony Banks comes up with. ...Why couldn't he have done more of that on We Can't Dance, again?! The vocal melody has some nice hooks on it, but they were never one of pop-Genesis' strongest ones.

Deep in the Motherlode B+

Go west, young man!!! The common consensus among Genesis fans concerning ...And Then There Were Three has been mostly to shun it... But this is a pretty good song. (I certainly prefer it to another horrible selection from We Can't Dance... That's for sure.) Collins' vocal melody has a few interesting hooks in it amongst Banks' sluggish synth groove—which might have sounded poorly in 1978 but after bearing through the misery of their 1991 album, it's quite lively in comparison! I do like that Collins sounds like he's really into it... That's gotta be the secret to that guy's success.

Ripples A-

Alright! A song from A Trick of the Tail, an album that has been shamefully neglected in Genesis live albums. I mean, when it comes down to it, it's easily the best Collins-era Genesis album. ...You can try to argue with me, but I'll probably have to smack you around. ...I'm a little confused why they would bring back this song as opposed to the title track, but whatever. It's a very pretty jangly folk song that goes on for 10 minutes (a full two minutes longer than the original), and Collins' vocal performance is perfectly earnest. And, hmm... it appears as though I'm giving it a higher rating than I did the original studio cut! ...Well I gave “Deep in the Motherlode” a B+, so I had to only do what's right! (These track ratings are all based on gut instincts anyway...)

The Brazilian B-

Oh man, listening to “Ripples” made me think, for a moment, that Genesis never did songs like “The Brazilian.” It's such a let-down in comparison! They totally should have done some of those B-side instrumentals on the first disc! Repetitive? Yeah sure, but that's still way better than hearing this, one of their lamest instrumentals ever. ...The drum machine is done so rapid-fire that it sounds like Phil Collins is mowing someone down with a machine gun. Banks' synthesizer theme is choppy and blocky... let's get some half-notes in there, or something? ...Worst of all, it plods along so slowly that it bores me. We learned in Genesis one of the commandments: Thou shall not bore me!

Your Own Special Way C+

I have a nice idea! Since the previous disc had one of the best folk-ballads ever written by Genesis that wasn't included in Wind & Wuthering, why don't we also include “Your Own Special Way,” one of the most boring folk-ballads ever written from that album? ...To be honest, this could have been from We Can't Dance for all I knew. Collins already had his boring-song chops pretty fully developed by the late '70s! ...Oh and this song is seven minutes long. I could think of worse songs to sit through for this time, but... let's listen to Steve Hackett solo albums intead.

Burning Rope B-

Yawn... More of these boring ballads... It's not even nearly as dull as the previous song, because at least there is a little bit of dramatic involvement from the instrumentalists. Collins' vocals are, as always, enthusiastically delivered. ...But after the previous song, I'm really kinda bored out of my skull. ...And it doesn't help that this is another marathon-length song... Clocking it at seven and a half minutes... Zzzz... I mean, listen to some of Tony Banks' uneventful synthesizer solos in here and try to stay awake.

Entangled A

...Wow, how's this for stark contrast. The previous two songs were boring ballads, and this song is an AWESOME ballad from that album I love so much called A Trick of the Tail. The rift between the two is as clear as day. (Well, not the days I've been experiencing lately in this winter in Seattle...) The texture they create is immediately captivating and something I like to bask myself in, and Collins' vocals are beautifully delivered. ...If I was thinking mean things about Tony Banks in the previous two or three songs here, I'd be willing to take that back here for those gentle xylophone tinkles I hear contributing to the texture.

Duke's Travels B

They really liked giving us these lengthy songs all at once, didn't they? This one's close to 10 minutes. ...Were they trying to redeem themselves after ruining our trust in The Longs, or something?... Well, this live disc is far better than The Longs, but it's hasn't exactly been easy on my consciousness... This song, compared to “Your Own Special Way” and “Burning Rope” is quite exciting, but I'm so sick of these lengthy songs right now that I'm really not enjoying it too much. Michael Rutherford gets a chance to shine on his guitar, and the drums are particularly well played and gives us some interesting patterns. ...Other than that, it's not terribly interesting.

DISC 3

Invisible Touch [12'' Version] B-

Here's another one of those remixes that we probably didn't really need... Especially to the extent that they had to cut some unreleased Genesis songs to include it... i.e., “Match of the Day.” Oh yeah, I'm still harping on that one. Considering I wasn't a huge fan of the original song, I'm really kind of angry at this. The only thing they really did was make the percussion a little more shuffley put a weird echo effect on Collins' vocals, and there's a new thundery drum solo in the middle ...So what? None of that addressed the fact that Collins still sounds choppy as hell singing that chorus. She seems to have! an! invisi! ble! touch! yeah! ...Maybe they should have remade it instead of remixed it?

Land of Confusion [12'' Version] B

Well, this is an excellent pop song, but … what exactly did they change to it other than extending it? Maybe they added some more percussion to it, because I'm hearing more clicking sounds than I remember from the original, and Collins' vocals are more echoey... Of course, all these touches are completely superfluous. They don't add anything to the song, but come in danger of taking away from it. Easily the worst thing about this version is that they extended that shuffley middle-eight section quite a lot, which I was never too wild about, but... at least they knew when to get out of it in the original! Here, pretty much the whole thing just overstays its welcome. Even the melody starts to seem dumb to me by the time it reaches the seven-minute mark. That fade-out with that dumb, clappy drum machine loop is one of the most horrible things I've heard... Geez... (I wonder why I'm in such a horrible mood all of the sudden?)

Tonight, Tonight, Tonight [12'' version] B-

They're doing it again! ...This song, I'm lead to believe, is a remix of an early version of it, which would explain why it seems both unfinished and over-polished at the same time. They did put an echo effect on Collins' vocals, and there are more of those superfluous clicking sounds that I'm really disliking now. ...Why it feels unfinished is that they don't let the song build up the song gradually, but at one point, they completely drop that drum machine texture without warning, which leaves me hanging. Even that alternate, mellow groove that pops up in the middle of the song doesn't seem at all to fit the overall structure of the song, which they seemed to make fit better in the final cut. ...And 12 whole minutes of this stuff is very difficult for me to bear. ...Well, at least Collins' vocal melody is still pretty strong.

No Reply At All B

Hell yeah, a live song from Abacab! Who knows why they didn't include a version of this song on Three Sides Live since it was one of the highlights of that album? ...Though I suppose if this was the only version they could have considered, I have to say I'm a bit disappointed how bare Tony Banks' synthesizers seem to be. The original studio version was of course far crispier... and I do think Collins' vocals are a bit tired here. Possibly this was recorded toward the end of that live performance...

Man on the Corner B-

Another live song from Abacab, except I was never much of a fan of it, because it sounds like one of Phil Collins' boringly minimal solo songs. The synthesizer groove is slow and mellow, and Collins doesn't find much of an interesting melody to sing with it although it does tend to pick up steam midway through. The busy, quiet drum machines are well-programmed, at least... I guess I kind of forget that Collins was especially good at that... (Who is that I hear in the audience yelling through this performance? ...I hope somebody beat him senseless outside after the show...)

The Lady Lies B-

The last of this album's live songs, and not a moment too soon!!!!!!! (There's no question... the best of their live stuff has already been released... Apart from “Entangled,” these are the leftover scraps.) This is the bouncy and mostly uninteresting quasi-pop song from And Then There Were Three. Collins does what he can trying to play-act while he sings... but after spending the whole of yesterday sifting through Peter Gabriel's performances in the first Genesis archival release, it's starkly obvious that he couldn't even hope to compare. But at least he's trying, as enthusiastically as ever. Even though the hooks and atmosphere don't capture my imagination at all, there's some energy to the instrumentation that I'm sort of enjoying listening to. There are some very interesting drum patterns, and Banks comes across with a few quirky synthesizer noodles. ...I noticed I gave the studio original a C. …After listening to it again, I do believe I underrated it. ...Or maybe it just doesn't seem as bad to me ever since I've gotten myself knee-deep into songs like “Domino” and “Dreaming While You Sleep?”

Open Door B

This is a very sweet folk song that unfortunately doesn't have much of a melody for me to take away from it. ...I do like the gentle textures created by the acoustic guitar and piano. It all picks up nicely for a chorus where some thick synth-strings pipe up and Collins' vocals get more soaring. Of course this sort of song is nothing new … I mean, I heard a bunch of them that sounded like this from Genesis dated in the late '60s... Surely, this sort of music is great when I'm in certain moods. Unfortunately, the melody is so forgettable that I never remember to listen to it whenever I get in those rotten moods...

The Day the Light Went Out B+

There isn't any information about this song on Wikipedia other than it was written by Tony Banks. ...By the sound of the instrumentals, I would assume it was written sometime in the Wind & Wuthering era... Or maybe before that. The melody isn't the great shakes, or anything, but it meanders around enough that it manages to catch on a thing or two in its process. Banks loves using some extremely low-pitched and buzzy synthesizers throughout, which is an interesting texture, and there are other textures they throw in here that are interesting.

Vancouver B+

This was the B-side for “Many Too Many,” and it's a perfectly nice ballad if a bit non-distinctive. The guitar textures are delicate and pretty, and Collins is singing sweetly. Some angelic background vocals come in halfway through, which helps provide extra atmosphere. I don't know what's with that cloppy percussion instrument, but it's kind of cool anyway. The ballad really does pick up steam nicely in its final third, which does end up drawing me into it.

Pigeons A-

This is another one of those songs Steve Hackett wrote for Wind & Wuthering, but it was left off the album. Maybe I can see why they decided to keep this one away, because it's a bouncy pop song. (Oh my! Could it be? Steve Hackett was the first member trying to push the band into pop territory? Well... here's some evidence...) The upbeat guitar texture is pretty great, and there are a number of interesting hooks in Collins' vocal melody. Surely not the catchiest or most memorable tune in existence, but it makes an enjoyable listen.

It's Yourself A-

Here's one from the A Trick of the Tail era that was later released as a B-side to “Your Own Special Way” (GAG.) And you can actually hear that mystical opening to “Los Endos” in here, which is interesting... I guess they did a little bit of copy and pasting! Their texture here is quite absorbing, and … er … wow... Sitars, harps, whooshy synthesizers, twinkly synthesizers, noodling acoustic guitars, backwards vocals... cool... I almost wanted to hate this track, but I think it hypnotized me, or something.

Mama [Work in Progress] A-

Wooo! ...Seriously, you couldn't have cut out this song and put in those missing songs, which we never heard? ...Believe it or not, despite my confessed love for “Mama,” I'm not terribly interested in hearing an early version of that song. Maybe if they wanted to tack on a fourth disc to this collection, then maybe they could put this on there with all those remixes. ...But as long as I'm listening to this, I might as well concede that it is at least a marginally interesting glimpse into their song developing process. If you're an aspiring songwriter and you want to get an idea of how a great song like “Mama” was developed, then take a listen! (Phil Collins was still working out how he was going to sing it... considering that song is without a doubt contains the finest vocal performance of his career, it's kind of cool... Though I've got to say, he had that laugh down pretty well...)


Live Over Europe 2007 (2007)

Read the full review:
Live Over Europe 2007

Duke's Intro B+

Oh, boy... There's a nice song to start this live album off with... Something from Duke... Thanks. A LOT. (OK, I'll fess up; I may have been a weeeeeeee melodramatic in that Duke review...) But anyway, they do a mightily solid rendition of the opening sequence to “Duke.” ...And I'll admit, it's a pretty flashy thing to open a live album. It has flashy synthesizer chords. What else could you want? ...Well, I want some Rolling Stones!!!!!

Turn it On Again B+

The previous track says was recorded in Manchester while this track says it's recorded in Amsterdam. ...And yet, the audience noise bleeds together. Manchester and Amsterdam aren't the same things, are they? ... Er... I remember geography in school. ...Well, anyway, this is a lovely rendition of a song I've always been lukewarm about. The presentation is very polished and straightforward. Collins' vocals are nice although surely lost his youthful verve. ...Well I guess that's why they had to tack on the year to the album title! Who can do math and figure out how old Collins was?

No Son of Mine A

HELL YEAH!!! ...Oh come on! If I were in Europe in 2007 and I went to see Genesis, my heart woulda jumped out of my chest when I started hearing them play this song. It's one of those songs in We Can't Dance that made the entire album worth it. Collins could still do a solid job singing that lovely melody, and the backing band is quite solid! Oh, they don't take any chances... Pop-trio Genesis rarely ever took chances live... (That kind of makes writing these track reviews boring). But, it's a cool song to hear them do again. If I were in the crowd, I would have been in bliss for the entire seven minutes this thing plays...

Land of Confusion A

I'm sure Phil & Co. would've had their hands full among those riot-prone Europeans if they failed to perform this song at one of their shows. So I suppose at least Helinski was safe from it. I also hear them faithfully recreating the background vocals, which is nice, because Phil Collins hadn't been able to clone himself 2,000 times to do that property. They even still have that instrument from the '80s that sounds like a synth-bass and a tom-tom drum at the same time. Although it's not nearly as intrusive as it was in its original form. ...Ah, such sounds aren't cool anymore, are they?

In the Cage A

Wah-wah-waaaaaah? Genesis had a history prior to Phil Collins being the lead singer? ...HmHMMMM! ...Ah, they've always acknowledged their past, haven't they? All I really want to know is what the heck Peter Gabriel thought was so important that he couldn't have joined these guys on the tour? Not releasing his next album, probably. ...So anyway, this is the same sort of medley series that we've seen pop-Genesis do in their live albums many-a-times. This time, they string together “In the Cage” with bits of “Cinema Show” and “Duke's Travels.” ...The bits from “Cinema Show” are really kind of wonderful... they perform much of that busy instrumental interlude section with excellent precision... and it just makes me wish they would've just done the full version. The very ending of the track, Michael Rutherford rips it up with his guitar for a bit. Always a very glorious thing to hear that dude rip it up! As a whole, this song last more than 13 minutes, and it's a good listen!

Afterglow B

Why do they like this song from Wind & Wuthering so much? They should have done “Eleventh Earl of Mar” or something instead... That song's cool... This one: Meh. I guess at least Collins performs it well and with conviction. It's a solid rendition for sure, just as everything else in this album is. It's nothing mind-blowing, but it's a lot of fun to hear them do it, especially hearing it bleed in from the previous track. It does make pretty good intermission music, suitable for anyone who needs to visit the restroom facilities. ….....It's a calm, appropriate after the previous track's storm, and the next track's …....... OK, it's still intermission music. But the track after that.

Hold On My Heart C+

Hold on, my baseball bat, and keep yourself from smashing in the nearest window whenever I hear this awful song play... I don't know what it is, but maybe I'm enjoying this song the more I hear it? (Or maybe it was hearing songs 1,000,000 times worse than this on Calling All Stations that makes this song seem genius in comparison?) ...It's still an overlong adult-contemporary song with boring synthesizer tones and a not-terribly-great vocal melody. ...I do hope at least there was a light show on the stage at the time, because I'd be kind of bored. Though I'll give Rutherford some credit for turning in a few nice bits of elevator music with his guitar... As far as elevator-guitar goes, he's doing pretty well...

Home By the Sea B+

I want a home by the sea!!! It'd be so awesome waking up every morning to the roar of the ocean, and collecting all the sea shells I can get before those nasty, trespassing local kids can get to them... Those little bastards... Well, it's good this more or less excellent song popped up from their 1983 album, which I hope all three of them realize, is handily the best album of their pop period. ...They to take it on for 12 minutes, which means that they're playing the entire “Second Home By the Sea” track as well. ...They of course play everything almost exactly how I remember from the albums, so you can only expect to love it if you loved that instrumental. ...And it never floated my boat. My boat is very much half submerged under water whenever I listen to “Second Home By the Sea.” So there!

Follow You Follow Me A-

Ah, this is such a pleasant song! ...They did a live version of this on Three Sides Live, and I thought that was sweet and pleasant, too! It's just a shame it was on such an overall lame-o record as And Then There Were Three. The bubbly guitar textures is still there, and Collins' sweet-as-a-peach vocal melody that he sings.

Firth of Fifth (Excerpt) A

I wonder why they never perform this song in its entirety live? Couldn't Tony Banks recreate that lengthy piano intro at the beginning of each performance? ...Or didn't they want to lug a real piano with them? ...Erm. Well, anyway, this is a selection from Selling England By the Pound, which means that I would've been flipping my lid if I were there in the audience. Of course I wasn't... I'm just here by my computer listening to this with headphones on. But I'm still having a fun time. Naturally, they couldn't recreate everything from the original, but it's fun to hear them try. Rutherford turns in a surprisingly loose and watery guitar solo, which is kind of cool.

I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) A

I have a lot of hobo clothes in my wardrobe... Once again, they're playing one of their great selections from Selling England By the Pound, although I'm not sure I'm a huge fan of the goofy cockney accent Collins speaks in at the beginning of this! But anyway, I'm still enjoying the crap out of this.

Mama A

Ah, now what would a pop-Genesis concert be without this little gem? It's easily—without a doubt—Phil Collins' finest moment of his entire career, so basically it would stink if I paid for a ticket to see this guy only to hear him not perform this song. ...And of course the question on everybody's mind is if Phil Collins is still doing that devil-laugh. ...The answer is a resounding YES. ...I'm sure everyone in the audience there thought they were going to get possessed by the devil after that one! Midway through, those LOUD drums pop up, just as they're supposed to. ...Yes indeed, this is an excellent rendition of a great song.

Ripples B+

This was never one of my favorite songs from A Trick of the Tail, but it's a song from A Trick of the Tail all the same! The jangly guitars and pianos are here in full-force, and Collins sings that sweet melody very nicely. It's a pleasant thing to sit through for its eight-minute run, but does it excite me to my bones? ...Not really.

Throwing It All Away B-

This is ONE LONG album. I've been sitting here for ages, it seems, listening to these songs. Well, I can't complain, really... This is Genesis, after all. ...But couldn't they just forget that these dull adult-contemporary tunes ever existed? I mean, I'm not bored so much sitting through this as much as I wish they would sing a song with one of their more interesting melodies on it. Their instrumental textures for this song don't thrill me, either. ...Erm. But at least it seems the audience is having fun with it; I can hear them singing part of it in the background. Hey! Maybe I would have enjoyed it in that crowd, too?

Domino C+

I still dislike this song. Or rather I just find it too uneventful to really think it's that much worth sitting through. The instrumental passages are dull, the melody is unmemorable... But at least, I suppose, they're playing those DRUMS loudly. ...If there was a light show on the stage at the time, I probably would have enjoyed it. But as I'm sitting here for its entire 11-minute 30-second length. Meh.

Conversations With 2 Stools B-

They're talking to poop?... Oh wait, they're doing a drum duet. Phil Collins and Chester Thompson. I guess I don't mind it, but I'm kind of bored. At least it's entirely rhythmic based, and of course it shows a remarkable amount of skill. ...It does lose a lot on an album, though, as I'd imagine it's far more entertaining to actually watch.

Los Endos B+

Nicely done, as you'd expect! (These reviews are getting a bit boring for me to write! There's not a whole lot for me to talk about sometimes!) This is a big, flashy, and fun rendition of that excellent old song from A Trick of the Tail. It's fun to listen to. ...And that's all I've got to say!

Tonight, Tonight, Tonight (Excerpt) A-

Hey! Maybe they finally realized that the original song was a bit too long, and they're finally correcting that mistake by making this version not even four minutes! They've preserved that synthesizer rhythm, that always reminded me of drippy cave music from 8-bit video games. Collins sings the melody solidly, and he lets his audience sing along with some of it. Audience participation is fun when you're in the audience, and you feel like participating... (Yes, my track reviews are filled with insight like this...) Anyway, this song leads into the next one, which is... groan...

Invisible Touch B

...I'm still not a huge fan of this song despite being coaxed into it by hearing countless live versions of it. The melody is passable, but that chorus still comes off as stilted to me. ...And what the hell was that? Did Phil Collins just make a swear? Maybe he was singing about that wife he was married to that he had recently divorced, nastily... The conclusion of this song is a little bit louder and more forceful than the studio version, which is interesting. ...I also like how I think Phil is speaking to his audience in Italian. (It says it was recorded in Rome, so I guess that would have to be Italian... Unless they still speak Latin down there...)

I Can't Dance A-

What's with all those grunting and gurgling noises? What's Phil Collins doing? Dancing around on stage whilst brushing his teeth, or something? And that's quite a thundering coda they're putting to it. Strange, but I welcome such shenanigans. ...But anyway, as you're all probably expecting, this is a fun performance of an excellent song from We Can't Dance. Am I enjoying it? YOU BET I AM!

Carpet Crawlers A

Oh wow! I wouldn't have expected them to end this live album with one of the greatest songs from The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway and therefore one of the greatest songs ever made. (In case I didn't make it apparent in my review of that album, I'm still totally bonkers over it.) Collins does a nice job with the vocals, singing solidly and sounding like he's enjoying himself. Tony Banks does a nice job recreating that tight arpeggio, and that echoey guitar provides a beautiful effect. ...I really don't think they could have ended this monstrously long live album on a nicer note!


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