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Old 10-02-2021, 06:46 PM   #3 (permalink)
Trollheart
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You'll find I don't give a rat's ass for what "the fans think", as evidenced in my disagreement with the majority that SEBTP is the best Genesis album. Not even close, in my view. I mean, "The Battle of ****ing Epping Forest"? Come on. But I began with W&W because it is MY favourite, or one of three that sort of interchange over the years.

I do like TOTT but I see it as another step along the road to throwing off their prog roots. Look at it this way (this is an analogy I was working on while making my dinner today): If you think of the band as a Roman legion coming back from the war, and after The Lamb they're a little disoriented. Their leader has left, and they're confused by the message he left in the album. They're blundering about lost in the woods. Mike spies a path, beckons the guys down to the river. It's, of course, the Rubicon. He says "Lads we can cross here!" but the boys are suspicious. "Those are the treacherous waters of pop," warns Tony, and Steve agrees. Phil though is more sanguine and says "Sure what can it hurt to try?" They urge their horses in. This is of course the time of Tric of the Tail. After sampling the pop waters they hurriedly exit, back to the bank they were on. "Didn't much like that," says Steve, and though Mike and Phil have a strange gleam in their eyes, both agree and they had back to the border of the woods.

Wind and Wuthering is recorded. All of them feel better, getting back to solid ground (prog rock) but Steve sees the look has not left the eyes of Phil and Mike, and he knows where they're bound: back across that river to the other side. He turns his horse into the woods. "I'm off," he says. "Anyone gonna join me?" Tony considers, but those woods are dark and deep, and he has promises, well, you know. So off Steve goes, never to be seen again (by the band).

And then, there were three.

Back to the edge of the water they go and then as one they plunge into the icy waters. In the struggle they lose most of their prog sensibilities, and the next album is born. Too far to turn back, they forge on ahead and Duke arrives. They try to hold on, throwing out a few prog bits here and there, but the roiling sea of pop has them now. Pulled under, Abacab results. Tony fights his way to the surface. Underwater, Mike has a dream about mechanics and Phil is already composing a top ten hit song - he knows that something is in the air tonight.

Tony kicks upwards, adds what prog influence he can to the album which is so lacking in originality now that they can't even be bothered to come up with a name and just use the band name. Hit singles are coming, they're known on the radio, people are looking at them in a new light. On the far bank, as all three surface, they can see the hordes of pop fans, beckoning them on while back on the shore they left, the prog fans mourn, trying to entice them back before it's too late.

But it is already too late.

Invisible Touch gives up the pretence of any sort of prog leanings and bursts them into the charts, while the pop fans cheer and wave them on. People who before this didn't even know who Genesis were are buying their records. People are buying the singles without any intention of buying the albums, without even knowing what album they're from. All three go under again. "We can't swim!" they cry, but it somehow comes out as "We can't dance!" and more hits are born. Finally, Phil gives up the ghost and sinks to the bottom of the river. Tony and Mike strike on, the latter thinking to himself "All I need is a miracle" while Tony thinks it's a curious feeling to be a two-piece.

As they reach shore, another swimmer struggles up. "Hi!" he gasps. "I'm Ray! Can I join you?" They nod. "Sure." But soon after all three sink, never to be heard from as a band again.

The pop fans wait, but when nobody surfaces, they stick their hands in their pockets and shuffle off to find the next new thing. With his last breath, Phil thinks angrily "they knew I was drowning, but they would not lend a hand."

The now calm surface of the river is broken by a few bubbles popping to the surface.

The rest, is silence.
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