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Old 06-27-2018, 10:09 AM   #191 (permalink)
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Well it's been awhile for this thread

I'm looking forward to see what you think about Foxtrot. I bought that one in the cut-out bin when I was a teenager.
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Old 06-27-2018, 10:13 AM   #192 (permalink)
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Well it's been awhile for this thread

I'm looking forward to see what you think about Foxtrot. I bought that one in the cut-out bin when I was a teenager.
I first heard it second-hand on cassette and later mostly through the Seconds Out live album. That was when I fell in love with "Supper's Ready".
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Old 06-28-2018, 04:57 PM   #193 (permalink)
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Foxtrot (1971)

Perhaps it might be hard to understand today, in this world of hit singles making an album, but back in the seventies it wasn't actually all that necessary to have a hit for your album to sell well. People bought albums, and played them through, and made their decision based on all the tracks (or most of them), not just what was played on the radio. So, while there were no hit singles at all from Genesis's fourth album, it nevertheless became their biggest commercial success to that point. Coupled with Peter Gabriel's deliberate publicity stunt, where he wore the red dress and a fox mask on stage in imitation of the cover of the album, Foxtrot assured Genesis of near-legendary status. Even now, it's still seen as one of the benchmark prog albums of the time. It certainly allowed Gabriel, and the others, the room and the opportunity to flex their musical and indeed songwriting muscle in a way they had never done before, culminating in the longest song they had ever written, which closes the album and would forever be their totem.

Watcher of the Skies
An epic, brooding opening to the album, I totally disagree with ex-producer Bob Potter's comment that the song would have been better off without the long mellotron intro; for me, that's what makes the song and it really shows Tony Banks at his finest until about “Firth of Fifth”, but more importantly, shows how well he used the mellotron to develop and expand on Genesis's sound. After this, the band would pretty much always be linked with that instrument, at least in the seventies. A powerful song, it sees things from the point of view of an alien who has come across a destroyed and empty Earth, and the keys and mellotron hammer out the theme to Man's extinction, his requiem, not quite a funeral march, as it's bouncy and upbeat (kind of in contrast to the lyric) but certainly fatalistic. A great call-and-response near the end and a punchy ending brings us right into one of Genesis's top albums with a top song. One of my very favourite of theirs.

10/10

Time Table
Like “For Absent Friends” on the previous album, this is my least favourite track on the album. One of Banks' solo efforts, it's really not that good, and has that gentle, lilting feeling from the debut that makes it not quite folk, but hardly prog. It's all right I suppose, but on a storming album like this it's very definitely the weak link. Meh. You can do so much better, Tony, and you will.

3/10

Get 'em Out by Friday
If “Harold the Barrel” was a mini comic opera, then this is the full thing, with script by Gabriel, a full cast of characters, a plot and a subplot, and some damn fine music. It's also quite humourous, as Gabriel announces “This is a message from Genetic Control: it is my sad duty to inform you of a four foot restriction on humanoid height!” Some lovely sweeping guitar music, a punchy opening that settles into a kind of almost waltz, a beautiful midsection and a story well told, if slightly farcical. The first, perhaps, Genesis song to tackle real-word problems such as unscrupulous landlords and the dwindling rights of tenants.

10/10

Can-Utility and the Coastliners
The first instance of Gabriel's clever usage of word play, where Can-Utilty refers to Canute, the king who supposedly tried to order the waves of the sea back, and the Coastliners would then be referring to that event Very medieval beginning, almost like a lute or something (presumably twelve-string though) and some boppy upbeat keyboard, with perhaps odd lyric but it kind of makes sense, and parallels have been drawn, whether correct or no, between the story of Canute and Gabriel's own dissatisfaction at the fawning sycophants that appear once fame beckons you. I particularly like the frenzied keyboard run that ends the song.

9/10

Horizons
One minute and thirty-nine seconds of pure bliss from Steve Hackett. Reserved, introspective and totally gorgeous. A chance to catch the breath, perhaps, before the massive epic comes to close out the album, but also the first real chance to appreciate properly how important this man was to Genesis, the classical and intricate touches he brought to the band, and what they lost when he departed in 1976. Just pure beauty, effortless and understated.
10/10

Supper's Ready
I can't be certain, but I believe this may be the first time a song of this length was attempted by any band, never mind a prog one. Probably wrong of course, but it certainly was the first time I heard what would come to be known as the progressive rock epic suite, and it absolutely floored me. Without question Genesis's most ambitious song ever, and it still remains so, “Supper's Ready” runs for a few seconds shy of twenty-three minutes, taking up almost the entire second side of the album. It's split into seven sections, each of which is very different and yet all of which meld together to become more than the sum of their parts. A quiet acoustic and mellow opening turns into bouncy rock, twenties ragtime almost, relaxed ambient/atmospheric, some incredible instrumental sections, amazing vocal gymnastics by Gabriel, and a pounding, literally apocalyptic ending. No surprise at all that this was, and remains, one of Genesis's most famous and favourite songs, and that it spawned so many imitations down the years. A truly staggering achievement, and a hell of a way to end the album.
10/10

Album Rating: 9/10
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Old 06-28-2018, 08:21 PM   #194 (permalink)
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Troll, you should check out the song "The Great Nothing" off of the Spock's Beard album V.

In the "Supper's Ready" pantheon. Lyrics are definitely a nod to Kevin Gilbert, who worked with the band earlier in their career.
The last few verses bring me to tears every time.

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Old 06-28-2018, 08:33 PM   #195 (permalink)
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Thanks man, I know the song. Really cool. I also enjoy "Flow" off The Kindness of Strangers.
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Old 06-28-2018, 08:50 PM   #196 (permalink)
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Hell yeah! Remarkable band. I have a concert DVD and they nail it 100% live.
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Old 06-28-2018, 08:53 PM   #197 (permalink)
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The vocals.......

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Old 06-28-2018, 09:23 PM   #198 (permalink)
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I'm pretty sure both Yes's Close To The Edge and ELP's Tarkus beats Supper's Ready chronologically in regards to putting out epics. Great review though! Always been a Foxtrot fan here.

Interestingly enough, the longest song I could find pre-prog was this little 30 minute plus gem from Seventh Sons back in 1964.

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Old 06-29-2018, 02:47 PM   #199 (permalink)
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Selling England By the Pound (1973)
Leaving aside the debut (which I always do anyway) this is the first contentious Genesis album for me. It's not that I don't like it – I do – but I don't get the almost worshipful praise it tends to get, both from fans and critics. It's almost always seen as the best Genesis album (a claim I hotly dispute) and usually ranks high in lists of top prog albums too, and I just don't understand. It's, to me, nowhere near as good as Wind and Wuthering or Trespass or A Trick of the Tail. I feel it has some good ideas, but a lot of poorly executed ones too, a lot of filler and doesn't gell well at all as a cohesive album, despite its having a theme running through it. It's let down by some very weak tracks and it's not an album I play much, if at all. Of course, it was the one to give Genesis their first hit single, so there is that, but even so, this tends to rank a lot lower on my own personal scale of favourite Genesis albums.

Dancing With the Moonlit Knight
Whether intentional or not, the opening of Selling England mimics that of Trespass, in that the first sound heard is Gabriel's unaccompanied voice for a few seconds, then the song settles into a kind of medieval mid-paced romp decrying the dilution of English values under the onslaught of American influences. The song features the title, there being no actual title track, and both the title and the lyric continue Gabriel's fascination with word play, the most obvious being “moonlit night” being turned to “moonlit knight”, and later in the song he references Green Shield Stamps, which those older and also not American may remember were little stamps given out when you got petrol. You collected them and for so many you could get, like maybe a hair dryer or a radio or something. It's a clever song, one of the better ones, and I do like it, particularly the almost fade/segue into the most famous track on the album.

10/10

I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)
The song that kind of unaccountably, to me, gave them a hit single, it's a gentle English pastoral poem featuring a lazy kid who'd rather listen to the birds as he snoozes in the garden than get a job. I have no real idea what it's about, and Gabriel's lyric is typically esoteric - “Getting better in your wardrobe/Stepping one beyond your show” (?) but it's a catchy tune and it works well. Also features the cleverly confusing line “Me? I'm just a lawn mower”, which makes you think that the protagonist is actually one of those Flymo things that people use for their gardens (well, I did, anyway) rather than someone who is mowing a lawn. Freaky, man! I do remember that there was a point when the song was to be on Top of the Pops and the band would not be there. There was no video, so they had the resident dance troupe interpret it. They clearly couldn't (who could?) and I recall one scene where some of them were literally dancing with clothes in a mock-up wardrobe, probably thinking, like us all, what the hell is this all meant to be about?

10/10

Firth of Fifth
More clever wordplay, this time by Tony Banks, who had been writing this song since the sessions for Foxtrot, and had actually hoped to have had the song included on that album, but had it rejected. So he worked on it more, and I don't know what the original was like but man is this a classic! Kicking off with a typically wonderful classical piano intro it then pounds into a slow, almost doomy heavy rock tune referencing gods and mythical beings, a long instrumental in the middle, and just when you think it will be all instrumental to the end there's one more verse, and then it tinkles away on soft piano as it began. Top class.

10/10

More Fool Me
A pointless little ballad, very much what we would come to see from Collins, and no surprise that he had a hand in writing this. It's also the second song on which he takes lead vocals. Reminds me of later “Many Too Many” from And Then There Were Three, but without the quiet passion of that song, and really more like something you might have expected to find ten years or so later on Face Value or Hello I Must Be Going. Very much one of the weaker tracks.

4/10

The Battle of Epping Forest
One of two tracks that push almost the twelve-minute mark, I've spoken before and at length about my dislike for this track. To me, it's the complete antithesis of Genesis, not what you'd expect from them, but unexpected in a bad not a good way. “Harold the Barrel” may have been them stepping out of the box a little on Nursery Cryme, but this is them kicking down the walls. It's clumsy, it's silly and it just seems totally inappropriate. The fictional account of an actual gang war, it tries to be funny but fails miserably, and the accents and voices used for the characters seem forced and stale. I won't go on: if you really want to read more of my ranting about this then check the full review in my journal. Here I'll just say, hands down, one of the worst Genesis songs ever written in my opinion.

1/10

After the Ordeal
Tony does his best to dispel the memory of Epping Forest with a nice little instrumental, but it will always be linked with that song in my mind, almost a coda or epilogue to it, and so I'll never truly be able to appreciate it on any other level. Pass.

4/10

The Cinema Show
After wobbling really badly since “Firth of Fifth”, the album finally rights itself in fine style with the second eleven-minute-plus track, more strange lyrics from this time Rutherford and Banks but some beautiful sound effects (check out the sound of wine pouring near the beginning), lovely choral vocals (probably made on the ARP Pro) and a lot of good changes. More mythology as Gabriel sings about Tiresias from Greek legend. Should have been a superb ending to a flawed album but ....

10/10

Aisle of Plenty
Nothing more than a reprise really of the opener, with Gabriel using the names of English supermarkets to make puns, in a way that, had he tried it today, probably would have landed him with several copyright lawsuits - “There's the safe way home” (Safeways), “Tess co-operates” (Tesco) while the title of the song, itself a pun, refers both to “isle of plenty” in a bitter saracastic description of England (“this sceptred isle”) and aisles in a supermarket. Clever, and bookends the album nicely, but ultimately I feel unnecessary.

5/10

Album Rating: 6/10
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Old 06-29-2018, 02:50 PM   #200 (permalink)
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I'm pretty sure both Yes's Close To The Edge and ELP's Tarkus beats Supper's Ready chronologically in regards to putting out epics. Great review though! Always been a Foxtrot fan here.

Interestingly enough, the longest song I could find pre-prog was this little 30 minute plus gem from Seventh Sons back in 1964.

After I had made that comment I started thinking VDGG, and yes, of course, Pawn Hearts was released in 1971, and features "A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers", which clocks in at 23 minutes. Still, very close...

And Yes (!) I forgot "Close to the Edge" (the suite) but still it's only (!) 18 minutes plus long. As for "Tarkus", only 20 minutes (nearly 21). So even chronologically and in terms of length, it seems Genesis still remain the first to achieve that milestone.
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