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View Poll Results: How would you rank the album on this scale?
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Very Good 12 38.71%
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Old 01-31-2011, 05:30 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Genesis - Selling England By The Pound (1973)

This thread is for discussin Genesis classic album Selling England By The Pound from 1973. It was homework in our Prog & Fusion Album Club in January 2011.

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Originally Posted by eric generic View Post
Genesis - Selling England by the Pound (1973)



we haven't tackled this yet have we?

from ABC&T Presents: Your Introduction to Prog
Quote:
Those who don't know prog probably knows Genesis as the rock band fronted by Phil Collins and they've certainly gained a bad rep over the years. However, there was a time when Genesis was one of the most exciting acts of the prog movement. Their songs rather than their skills as musicians took center stage and their musicality and songwriting skills coupled with then frontman Peter Gabriel's over the top on-stage theatrics earned them a following which has lasted and gained them fans to this day. Their efforts then now sit comfortably as some of the biggest influences on the genre. Their fifth album "Selling England by the Pound" is widely regarded as their top album and mixes progressive rock with pop accessibility for a powerful result. It is one of the most essential prog albums you can get your hands on.

Our Comments :
Anteater : I may not be English, but that doesn't change the fact that Selling England... is a majestic piece of work from start to finish.
Boo Boo : This is indeed their best work. The Cinema Show is their most beautiful song, the acoustic guitar harmonies alone could hook you, but the way they could pile on one goregeous melody after another is just astonishing.
Comus : Along with Foxtrot this is one of the best examples of what progressive rock is all about. Highly recommended.
toretorden : Not one of my highest ranking prog records, but damn fine album all the same. Peter Gabriel is a weirdo.
So, whatcha think?
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Old 01-31-2011, 05:41 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I may have been trying to sell the album a bit in my quoted comment above. I'm really torn about Selling England By The Pound. Because it's such a classic, I've given it chance after chance over the last few years and I know much of it by heart now. Still, while I think some of the songs are very good, I fail to connect with the album as a whole.

My favourite song here is Fifth of Firth. I just love everything about it, it's brilliant, the piano, the guitar solo .. dissecting it, everything here sounds good. I'm also very fond of Dancing with the Moonlit Knight and the album's hit, I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe). Aside from the musicality, there are some very clever lyrics on the album.

However, I'm also having trouble with parts of the album, particularly songs like The Cinema Show or The Battle of Epping Forest. The first of these is touchey feely and the latter is whimsical and silly with Gabriel doing voices and characters. My problem is I don't think Peter Gabriel manages to do either in a way that I think is charming at all. His voice is slightly grating and on tracks like these, I feel Genesis just reaches some level of pretentiousness that I find hard to like.

It makes it very hard for me to rank the album because I either love it or I don't like it, but the fact is I do return to it ever so often. It would land somewhere between a good and very good, I think. Those who have visited progarchives may have registered that this album was for a long time knifing with Yes' Close to the Edge for the position of #1 prog album ever made. For me, it's as clear as a sunny day. The moments of brilliance on Selling England, while very nice, do not come close to the beauty and musical genius of Close to the Edge!
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Old 01-31-2011, 12:15 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Selling England By The Pound is one of those albums that, although I enjoy it quite a bit, nothing about it reaches the heights of their prior releases in my mind. For me anyway, the quintessential 70's Genesis album has always been a tie between Trespass and Foxtrot: the former for it's dark grandeur and occasional eclectic nuance, the latter for it's melodies and arrangements. 'Firth Of Fifth' and 'Dancing With The Moonlit Knight' are pretty swell though!

I guess the other thing that bothers me a bit is the sheer influence the record seems to hold over a lot of aspiring prog. rock musicians since the 70's - a great deal of the neo-prog. (the good stuff and the mediocre stuff alike) that appeared from the late 80's through the early 21st century was pretty much a carbon copy of what Genesis did here and, to an extent, on The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. I guess it must have been easier to find people who can sing like a drunken Peter Gabriel than people with a relatively high range like Jon Anderson. :/
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Old 01-31-2011, 05:12 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Here is an interresting piece of nonesense.

In the early 70s my friend's school had the choice of two bands for their Christmas function, one was a new up and coming band and one was local boys known to the headmaster, they chose the latter for some strange reason (price?) the new band were called Genesis.
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Old 02-01-2011, 06:16 AM   #5 (permalink)
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it's my favourite of the Gabriel era

my fave of the Collins era is s/t (1983)
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Old 02-01-2011, 08:56 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Few things can be said about this their masterpiece (albeit ever so slightly above "Foxtrot" and "Nursery cryme") that hasn't already been said. Even the lesser tracks "I know what I like" and "More fool me" have their place as cute little breathers between the masterworks. "Firth of fifth" is, hands down, one of the greatest and most beautiful and profound songs ever etched on plastic. If there ever was one song to play for that renowned alien creature in order to teach about the artsy corners of our musical heritage on Earth, then it would be this one. Everything about it is just heaven on a disc; the tinkling piano touching all the right notes to cause katharsis from the getgo, the majestic vocals delivered by archangel Gabriel, the most tear-inducing flute known to man, and the likewise soaring guitar solo delivered by mr. Hackett (putting whatever Gilmour ever has done to shame) sending the already sublime song to an otherworldly climax. If you don't get shivers from this, then you have no heart and no soul and you probably hate music.

Obviously the centerpiece of the album, although "Dancing with the moonlit knight" hardly falls behind, opening it all on the highest note possible with its medieval fugue-like melody grabbing you by the collar instantly. Hackett gets a chance to shine once again on "After the ordeal" preceding the finale, the lengthy "Cinema show", that ends it all on an equally high note, sporting a dexterious yet melodic synth solo over a tricky signature. And the quirky and somewhat underrated "Battle of Epping Forest" where Gabriel packs all sorts of imagery in order to put forth a complicated story, is just pure fun.

Alongside "Close to the edge" and "Thick as a brick", prog - and music - just doesn't get better than this!
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Old 02-04-2011, 11:23 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I can understand Dotoar`s enthusiasm for this album, because the musicians never put a foot wrong on the entire disc. As he says, the piano, the guitar are wonderful. The first three tracks are really powerful and seem to promise so much...

However in my opinion, with the Phil Collins and Epping Forest tracks the quality of the songwriting takes a dip from which the album never quite recovers. I share tore`s misgivings about Peter Gabriel`s contribution. In fact, I`d go further than he would probably care to because, despite PG`s supposed talents of story-telling, I never feel that he has any empathy with his characters at all. Typically, he invents someone, gives them a silly name or voice, makes a little joke about them and then moves on to his next victim. It`s a pretty juvenile approach to narrative which quickly becomes irritating. When he wrote Aisle of Plenty he wasn`t a Charterhouse schoolboy any longer, but you`d never guess that to judge from the lyrics.

So, when it comes to comparisons with that other well-known prog band, I agree with the posts above, that Jon Anderson and Close To The Edge are substantially better, and I`m just giving this album a vote of "Good".

To end on a positive note, I saw Genesis live at a time when Peter Gabriel was performing the entire concert in a fox`s head. It was a wonderfully strange, spooky bit of theater that absolutely captivated this young listener. Well done, PG, thanks for the memory !
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Old 02-04-2011, 12:06 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I think More Fool Me is a work of genius.

But then again, I like the AOR Genesis....
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Old 02-04-2011, 05:41 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I think More Fool Me is a work of genius.

But then again, I like the AOR Genesis....
You`re right, in itself More Fool Me is a good track - I guess I just think that it suffers a little from its position on the album, being overshadowed by the three exceptional, attention-grabbing tracks that go before it.
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Old 02-07-2011, 09:36 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I can understand Dotoar`s enthusiasm for this album, because the musicians never put a foot wrong on the entire disc. As he says, the piano, the guitar are wonderful. The first three tracks are really powerful and seem to promise so much...

However in my opinion, with the Phil Collins and Epping Forest tracks the quality of the songwriting takes a dip from which the album never quite recovers. I share tore`s misgivings about Peter Gabriel`s contribution. In fact, I`d go further than he would probably care to because, despite PG`s supposed talents of story-telling, I never feel that he has any empathy with his characters at all. Typically, he invents someone, gives them a silly name or voice, makes a little joke about them and then moves on to his next victim. It`s a pretty juvenile approach to narrative which quickly becomes irritating. When he wrote Aisle of Plenty he wasn`t a Charterhouse schoolboy any longer, but you`d never guess that to judge from the lyrics.
A matter of topical taste, I guess. I really dig Gabriel's character assassinations as displayed in songs like "Epping Forest", "Cinema show", "Get 'em out by friday" etc., quite like Ian Anderson used to do it although set to a more mythical backdrop. But then again, I'm quite cynical myself.
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