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Old 07-15-2018, 06:24 AM   #211 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Frownland View Post
Feelin like it's time for my periodic review of whether or not Genesis sucks. Which 3 records should I check out?
Wow, I really don't know. Your tastes are so different to mine I kind of think you'd hate them all.

Okay, then: for old-world, seventies prog heaviness: Trespass, Foxtrot, Nursery Cryme

For lighter, more poppy ideas but still prog: ... And Then There Were Three, Duke and Genesis (1983)

For the best ones in my opinion that blend the best of both: Wind and Wuthering, A Trick of the Tail and Trespass.

Depends really on whether, if you have a preference, you like Gabriel or Collins as a singer.
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Old 07-15-2018, 10:57 AM   #212 (permalink)
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Frown would like parts of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway due to it's extensively experimental nature in places. Other than that one, Trespass, Foxtrot and A Trick Of The Tail are pretty good representations of their range.

Still, I guess there's a chance he'd enjoy the pop elements in ...And Then There Were Three... and Duke. I think he'd hate everything from Abacab onward though.
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Old 07-15-2018, 11:44 AM   #213 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Anteater View Post
Frown would like parts of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway due to it's extensively experimental nature in places. Other than that one, Trespass, Foxtrot and A Trick Of The Tail are pretty good representations of their range.

Still, I guess there's a chance he'd enjoy the pop elements in ...And Then There Were Three... and Duke. I think he'd hate everything from Abacab onward though.
I think I heard him say somewhere that he listened to, and pretty much hated, The Lamb, but I could be wrong. Other than that, agree one hundred percent.
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Old 07-24-2018, 03:09 PM   #214 (permalink)
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Wind and Wuthering (1976)
The last proper progressive rock album from Genesis? In my opinion, very definitely yes. Later albums would have the odd prog-worthy track (mostly due to the length more than anything else) but after this the likes of the Hammond, the Mellotron, gentle acoustic guitar passages, flutes and generally the seventies sound of Genesis would disappear as the band looked towards going in a more commercial, crowd-pleasing and mainstream direction. This shift in music policy would also be due in no small part to Steve Hackett's decision to leave the band, taking with him pretty much the last of Peter Gabriel's legacy. Genesis fans would be tested after this album, some of the more hardcore ones perhaps leaving the fold (or maybe not) while new, unexpected ones would notice the sudden change in Genesis and perhaps take a second look at a band they hadn't bothered with before. Up to now, outside of their fanbase, if anyone had been asked about Genesis they would either have shrugged or maybe – maybe – remembered their only hit, “I Know What I Like”. After the next album, that would all change, and Genesis would begin to trouble the charts, as people began to hear about them who had never expected to, or perhaps were even unaware of their existence.

But all this new-found mainstream fame would come at a price. Gone would be the long multi-part suites, the sonorous keyboard passages, the whimsical guitar, the flutes, and in would come shorter, more basic songs, driven more and more by synthesiser and electric rock guitar, while the lyrical themes would begin to shy away from the traditional fare favoured by Gabriel and Hackett and even Banks in the seventies, and move towards a more earthbound, everyday, real-life idea, tackling real issues in a real world, as the old fantasy world of gods and nymphs and cursed musical boxes Genesis had inhabited, created for nearly ten years, would fade away like the last sighing notes of Banks's Moog on the last song, “Afterglow”, and to quote HG Wells, it would be like “the passing of something.” End of an era, beginning of a new one.

But before all that, there was what could be considered, by true prog heads anyway, Genesis's last hurrah. Even the album cover seems to reflect a certain sadness, a bleakness, the passing of one season into another, and the lush, verdant landscape upon which the lovers had gazed on the cover of Trespass six years ago is now a blasted, barren landscape in which one tree struggles to stand against the howling winds of change.

Eleventh Earl of Mar
It's almost 1970 again as the whirling, magical sound of Tony Banks's keyboards sweep across the landscape, painting a vivid scene taken from history, the percussion thumping in and the whole song turning into a kind of triumphant, though doomed, march. In the middle, it all slows down a la “Entangled” with a dreamy, soft little twelve-string interlude which builds back up into the main melody and finally crashes out, as it begun, at Banks's dancing fingers as Collins wails “Daddy!”

10/10

One For the Vine
As if “Eleventh Earl of Mar” wasn't a powerful and satisfying enough opener, we're already at the piece de resistance, the incredible “One For the Vine”, where Banks, writing solo, imagines a similar situation to Jesus Christ on Earth, a man who abandons following one messiah only to find he has been tricked or cajoled into becoming the very thing he hates. The centre section, where Collins gets to have fun on the drums, is fantastic, but really it's no surprise that it's Tony's gentle piano intro and outro that really make the song. A true Genesis classic, and a large part of the reason this album is so highly regarded, and why it's one of my own top three.

10/10

Your Own Special Way
I suppose you can see in this the desire to have another hit single, which you can't blame any band for, but let's be honest: it's something of a dull little love song that sounds like it belongs on either a later, more poppy Genesis album, or even on a Phil Collins solo one. It's nice, it probably helped to lure in the female fans, but after the two titans that opened the album it's very much an anti-climax and something of a let-down.

5/10

Wot Gorilla?
Foreshadowing the kind of instrumental outings the remaining members of the band would engage in four years later on Duke, this is a bouncy, happy, fun piece that does nobody any harm, but again it's a poor follow-up to the two giants. Hard to follow those I guess, but they do try. This is nothing more than the guys messing around, having fun with a jam session, and making it into a track for the album. Filler? Probably, but not bad filler.

6/10

All In a Mouse's Night
Now we get back to the good stuff. Marrying a sense of storytelling, childlike simplicity and humour, this song shows us an idea of what a mouse has to contend with, including nosy humans and a rather scary cat, but, Tom and Jerry-like, the mouse triumphs in the end. The song opens on a powerful organ, very serious and deep, very dramatic, then turns into a bouncy romp in, again, almost the soundtrack to a cartoon. The cat's attempt to explain being knocked out by a mouse at the end is very clever and wickedly funny - “There I was, with my back to the wall/ Then comes this monster mouse: he's ten feet tall/ With teeth and claws to match/ It only took one blow!” - and the bookending of the melody at the end with the return of the organ in a somewhat lighter vein completes an excellent song.

10/10

Blood on the Rooftops
If there's one thing that truly makes this song, it's the gentle, effortless introspective acoustic guitar intro from Hackett that opens it, like a prelude to the song. We got an idea of what he could do solo with “Horizons” on Foxtrot, but that was a very short piece. Here, it's not that much longer as the song is only five minutes and change, but there's more of a chance to really appreciate the skill and power of the man's playing. His guitar continues to drive the song throughout its run, threading a delicate English sensibility through a lament of things passed, ways changing, values dying. Oh, and this is the second song I spoke about wherein Genesis refer to Helen of Troy.

Seen through the eyes of one of the older generation, the song seems to blame the news for what's wrong in the world, but really it's blaming television for bringing that news into the house. The old guy doesn't like it - “Arabs and Jews boy, too much for me” - and sadly and bitterly watches the disintegration of the old values, things that have been around all his life - “An English film, the Wednesday Play” - vanishing while others hang on by the skin of their teeth - “We always watch the Queen on Christmas Day.” As in Selling England, it's the erosion of the English way of life that's being studied here, though this time, while American influences are partially to blame, it's more the march of time, the modern era that threatens the quiet, safe world the old man has been living in. I like, too, how Hackett pays tribute to Lindisfarne, referencing their big hit, “Fog on the Tyne”, though replacing fog with grime. Nice touch.

10/10

Unquiet Slumbers For the Sleepers...
Again we have a preview, as it were, of a Duke-esque instrumental, which flows directly (both musically and via the title) into the penultimate track, also an instrumental, though longer than this one, which comes in at a mere two and a half minutes. Nevertheless, combined with “Wot Gorilla?” this surely makes Wind and Wuthering unique in another way, being the Genesis album with the most instrumentals on it. Paying tribute to the inspiration for the album's title, the title of both songs here is taken from the closing paragraph from the famous Emily Bronte novel. This first part is a wailing, whistling, melancholic lament driven on Bank's keyboards with some lovely guitar backup.

9/10

... In That Quiet Earth
If the previous track was the prelude, this is the full thing. Collins's drums roll in and the whole piece takes on a more forceful tone, though again as I say this is so close to “Duke's Travels” that it's almost hard to believe they didn't copy parts of the melody four years later. Something that sounds like violin in there, but I guess is synthesised by Banks. Kind of elements of “The Cinema Show” too, now that I listen to it for the first time in quite a while, and snatches from “The Colony of Slippermen”, with a sort of staggered reggae-lite beat later adding extra interest to the tune. As the previous track segued into this, so does it slide effortlessly and seamlessly into the closer.

10/10

Afterglow
Finishing on a powerful ballad, I often wonder – I'm sure it's not the case but I do wonder – if this was a kind of farewell of sorts, not only to Hackett, but to their old sound, maybe even some of their old fans? When Collins sings “The meaning of all that I believed before escapes me” I tend to ask myself if he's saying, well that's it, we're done with all this now, time to move on. Probably not, but like many of the songs here there's a definite sense of loss, an almost bittersweet sadness, and the moaning Moog that takes the track out underlines that as it fades into the distance.

10/10


Album Rating: 10/10

Although this is not a concept album by any means, there's a definite theme running through most of it, and, like Selling England By the Pound, it's a sense of regret for things passing, the attempt to hold on to what you've come to know and love as it gets torn from your hands, borne on the wind and scattered like autumn leaves. It's a sadness for the vanishing values, traditions and way of England, but not in a nationalistic or jingoist way, more in a sadly accepting, resigned, what-can-you-do kind of way. It's very much a closing, as I said, of a chapter in Genesis's life and career, as they bid farewell to I suppose the whimsicality of youth and face the future as mature people, ready to put away the childish things and become men, in a musical sense. It's at its heart a sad album, from the already mentioned cover to the themes of loss and regret, to the real sense of loss as a longtime band member leaves, and the end of the overindulgent epics and the stories, as the band try to join the real world and make it there.

So for me, in some ways it's the end of Genesis. I loved most of the albums that came after this, don't get me wrong, but you can definitely see a change almost from the beginning of the next album, and though that would rise and fall with their next two, in a very real sense progwise, the party was over and this was the swansong. After this, Genesis would court the bright lights of pop/rock stardom and tailor their sound to that demographic, so that none of their albums from here on in could really properly or truthfully be classed as progressive rock. What Gabriel, Collins, Banks and Rutherford had started in 1970, and Hackett had joined, Collins, Banks and Rutherford would draw a line underneath, turn the page and begin a new story, one which would take them to unfamiliar places and heights undreamed of, and make of them forever a proper household name.

But, it must be said, at what price?
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