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Old 07-27-2008, 04:55 PM   #1 (permalink)
boo boo
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Default Boo Boo's prog stash *NOW WITH FREE PORN*

So yeah. You know the drill.

This thread is so I can review the different prog albums in my collection. I'll skip anything King Crimson because of my other thread, and anything Floyd cuz their albums have been reviewed to death already.

I'll start with a classic.

Selling England By The Pound - Genesis - 1973

Peter Gabriel - Lead vocals, Percussion, Flute, Oboe.
Steve Hackett - Electric and Classical Guitar.
Phil Collins - Drums, Percussion, Backing vocals, Leading vocals on "More Fool Me".
Tony Banks - Keyboards, Piano, 12 String Guitar.
Mike Rutherford - Bass, 12 String Guitar, Electric Sitar.

After pretty much ruling rock music since 1971, things started looking rough for prog in 1973, while Pink Floyd and ELP were enjoying the peak of their popularity, Yes's Tales From Topographic Oceans, King Crimson's Lark's Tongue in Aspic and Jethro Tull's A Passion Play, three incredibly ambitious albums at the time, had critics worrying that prog was turning into a monster that could not be tamed. Thankfully there was Genesis, who after struggling to make a name for themselves with their first two albums and having yet to reach the popularity of Yes, KC, Jethro Tull or ELP, finally found success with 1972's Foxtrot, and this followup is widely considered to be Genesis's magnum opus. Genesis had something that most other prog bands lacked, a great lyricist in Peter Gabriel (though everyone wrote lyrics for the first 5 Genesis albums) with some brilliant lyrical concepts that could rival that of Roger Waters, but unlike Waters, Genesis was less concerned with sharing personal demons and a lot more with just telling stories. Plus every member showed they were capable of writing great songs on their own. Typical of prog, this is a concept album of sorts, the theme here mostly has to do with the evolution of English society and culture, and compares modern England to it's rather romanticized past, along with some mythological elements, for that extra progginess.

But what really makes this a great album is the music, not as edgy as King Crimson, as electic as Yes or as flashy as ELP. Genesis tended to deal with more romantic and satirical themes. And their music often reflects this, Genesis were less concerned with making weird noises and trying to outdo each other on their instruments. To them, atmosphere was key.

Dancing With the Moonlit Knight: Great opener, starts off very simple with Gabriel singing some pretty acapella, soon accomplied by acoustic guitar, then some lovely piano, and eventually the bass and drums. This track deals with the main concept most directly, but the real highlight is it's constant yet natural change of pace and mood, it starts out soft and gentle, with everything coming together, it soon takes off to the explosive chrous, with Gabriel shouting to "follow on", and so the song does, with Banks' growling synths and Hackett shredding it up with a totally kickass guitar solo, the song goes back and forth and eventually ends with a ridiculously beautiful accompliment of acoustic guitar, mellotron and flute.

I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe): Genesis throughout their existence have always been known for their quirky often absurdist sense of humor, which really shows in this song, I think it's about lawnmowers, or something. It's a very poppy song, and kinda forshadows the direction the band would eventually take post Gabriel. No surprise that this was the bands first hit single.

Firth of Fifth: One of the real highpoints of the album, I still don't quite know what it's actually about, but it's such an amazing piece of music it dosen't matter. It begins with some gorgeous piano by Banks leading up to a great epic. The real high point is the sudden piano break, kicking off the mid section, which begins with a flute solo by Gabriel, then a piano solo and then a synth solo by Banks, and finally a heartwrenching guitar solo by Hackett. Truly an amazing piece of prog brilliance.

More Fool Me: The sole track that was primarly written and sung by Collins, not bad for an early song by the chap who would eventually take over the band, poke fun of ol' Phil all you want, this is a nice if not particularly great track. Some wonderful acoustic guitar. You know, a lot Genesis fans talk about how great a singer Gabriel is and how horrible Collins' singing is, which always confused me because their voices are nearly indentical. A lot of hardcore Genesis fans really hate this song, but only because Phil Collins wrote it, really.

The Battle of Epping Forest: A rather epic but comical track once again dealing with the main theme of the album, the story dipicts an epic battle (in this case between two rival gangs) which is kinda similar to what King Crimson did 3 years earlier with Lizard, and what Yes did 2 years later with Gates of Delirium. This is a very frantic piece, and is basically a suite of sorts. This song is very all over the place, with some rather random lyrics, and Gabriel playing different "characters", changing his voice and accent througout the song. Including some rather hilarious cockey impersonations. A bit silly, but overall still a pretty great song, I love the really bizarre Genesis songs.

After the Ordeal: Fantastic instrumental, and serves as an underture between the 2 suites on this album. Banks and Hacketts piano and guitar interplay is in very good form here.

The Cinema Show: Easly the best track on the album, another suite, but this one is a lot more cohesive, and it's just beautiful. The song is about a modern day Romeo & Juliet, and theres a bit of a sexual (as well as mystical, with references to Greek mythology) undertone here. It opens with some lovely acoustic guitars played by both Hackett and Rutherford, and some of the most wonderful vocals Gabriel has ever done. This song has many gorgeous moments, including some interplay between the classical guitar and Gabriels flute, soon the song kicks off into a mind blowing synthathon, seriously some of the best use of a synthesizer EVER, some great drumming by Phil too.

Aisle of Plenty: A short song, which makes a return to a recurring melody that appeared in Moonlit Knight and again in Cinema Show, a very stripped down piece and a great closer for the album.

Overall I easly consider this to be the best Genesis album, though some prefer the followup Lamb Lies Down on Broadway from 74, which was basically a rock opera in the vein of Tommy and The Wall. As great as it was, IMO the music is not quite as good and the story is a bit hard to grasp, Genesis were at their prime with this album, and it was probably that realization that this as well as Lamb could never be topped among other things that inspired Gabriel to leave the band and pursue a solo career, where he evolved from avant rock to eventually the blue eyed soul and pop he would become famous for.

Genesis unfortunately have become a laughing stock nowadays, they are more known for their evolution into a pop act when Phil took over and for sinking so low as to do dumb novelty songs like Illegal Alien and We Can't Dance than when they made truly epic albums like this. Which is a shame.

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