For the next phase of this afternoon’s “chillaxing” activities (ie. she watching her YouTube videos on mute and me keeping my arm elevated and typing on the “book project” one-handed), we’re diverting from the mellow reggae temporarily back to the Prog Rock with this latest edition to our Genesis collection (also procured from Our Favorite Record Shop yesterday), the self-titled album from 1983.
Although HRH is devoutly in the Peter Gabriel camp when it comes to Genesis, I figured this would also being a good album for her to check out as, hey, despite being a Gabriel fan myself, this was the first album by the band I both heard and owned on cassette as a kid (not much older than HRH herself I might add), and also turned me onto the band in the first place.
Yes, similar to Toto, there were many lawns mowed to this album back in the day.
Moments of this album are as spooky and arty as those on ‘Abacab‘ – in particular, there’s the tortured howl of ‘Mama‘, and the two-part ‘Second Home by the Sea’ – but this eponymous 1983 album is indeed a rebirth, as so many self-titled albums delivered in the thick of a band’s career often are.
Here the art rock functions as coloring to the pop songs, unlike on ‘Abacab‘ and ‘Duke‘, where the reverse is true. Some of this may be covering their bets – to ensure that the longtime fans didn’t jump ship, they gave them a bit of art – some of it may be that the band just couldn’t leave prog totally behind, but the end result is the same: as of this record, Genesis was now primarily a pop band.
But don’t let that “Pop” moniker completely dissuade you, this was a good pop band, primarily thanks to the rapidly escalating confidence of Collins, but this album illustrates just how good they could be, by balancing such sleek, pulsating pop tunes as ‘That’s All‘ with a newfound touch for aching ballads, as on ‘Taking It All Too Hard‘. They still rocked – ‘Just a Job to Do‘ has an almost nasty edge to its propulsion – and they could still get too silly as on ‘Illegal Alien‘, which HRH recognizes from the radio, where Phil’s Speedy Gonzalez accident is an outright embarrassment (albeit a fun one). It has a little bit of everything – pop, art, and silliness – and when taken individually, most of these moments are very strong, testaments to the increasing confidence and pop power of the trio at the time.
What are HRH‘s thought? Well, she still prefers the earlier and “artier” Gabriel albums, then again, she hasn’t immediately run screaming into her room with her fingers indelibly stuck in her ears either – so that’s a bit of a victory.
For Kelly and I, it was just fun listen this afternoon to reminisce over.
Definitely worth $5.00 I paid for it.