May 152013

Hey, I gotta hit and run here, people — seriously, my time is not my own these days. But I do have a question: should I try to like Genesis more?

That’s not a snarky question. Sgt Peppermint Petty suggested I might be able to appreciate Genesis — more than I like Yes, for example. We got to rappin’ about Yes versus Genesis, and things got deep. I heard about penetrating vocals, ringing bass tones, jazz chops and, yes, polished golden orbs. It all sounded kinda mystical to me. I think the Sarge had been hitting the ol’ skull bong in the men’s room or something.

Anyway, he’s a good egg, and I know he meant well. Who knows, he might be right. I might be able to grant Genesis a prog hall pass. When I was 14, I used to like Emerson, Lake & Palmer — and I used to dig my old man’s copy of Lark’s Tongues In Aspic.

So my question is two fold: to those of you who know me — am I capable of liking Genesis? And to the rest of you, and all those who think I might grow to like them, I ask sincerely: where should I start trying? Oh, and one more question: does the fact that I really like this Genesis song set me up for Genesis disappointment?

I look forward to your responses.



  20 Responses to “Should I Try to Like Genesis?”

  1. Sgt. Peppermint Petty

    Well, you got the late-90’s no-Phil Genesis that tried to “recapture the past” and sucked it up (though no one noticed). So that’s out. Early 90’s “We Can’t Dance” may have had a “hit” or two, but there’s no way anyone’s picking that. Then you have the hit-packed mid-80’s Genesis with self-titled Genesis (I like the sing-along “That’s All” and “Mama” is weird enough) and “Invisible Touch”, where they scored several hits and gave us that creepy video for “Land of Confusion”. So a fair number of successful ditties there I suppose.

    Then you have the late-70’s, early-80’s Genesis, from about (some of) “Wind & Wuthering” through “Abacab” with Phil on vocals, that produced the guilty pleasure in you posted video… and one of mine as well. But there were others from that era too, more radio-ready tracks and probably my go-to Genesis phase for now (I seem to get the most bang for my buck… shit I’ve never really heard mixed with dependable standards). Then you have the still-post-Peter, but still proggin’ with Phil phase with “Trick of the Tail” and into “W&W”.

    Then you have the whole Gabriel era before that of course, “Nursey Cryme” through “Lamb”… and even further back, there was Peter Gabriel and friends, but no Phil Collins or Steve Hackett. So… what am I saying?

    What I’m saying is, I’ve developed a bit of a crush for Phil Collins (rockumentaries do it to me every time), young to medium Phil, that is, and I don’t know what to do with it. His old catalog is staring me in the face like “Big Bubba’s Progressive 72-ounce Steak Challenge of Rock”. I know that I like steak, that is can taste goood, but I may want to vomit if I push it. I want to win. I want a T-shirt and my picture on the Wall of Honor.

  2. hrrundivbakshi

    “Big Bubba’s Progressive 72-ounce Steak Challenge of Rock”

    Faux Rock Award of the Month Award Winner!

  3. ladymisskirroyale

    I really enjoyed “A Trick of the Tail” when I was in high school and when I hear tracks off of it, I still gaze whistfully into the distance. It was a perfect prog rock album for girls: melodic, each song a mini story, interesting drawings of the songs’ characters.
    For me, Genesis, and this album, provided the great cross over from Yes, offering more accessible vocals but still keeping progs changeable time signatures. There are ballads, Santana-esque jams, jazz breaks, comments on human-like beasts, and observations of human behavior. If you like earnest, percussion heavy music, and vocals sung in a strong lower-class English accent, this album is for you. I loved it.

  4. So, my old examination of Peter Gabriel-era Genesis is one place you may want to start, but I would also suggest you dig deeper from your foundation of “Abacab.”

    I bet you may share my enthusiasm, for instance, for “Paper Late,” which features what I believe are your beloved EW&F horns. Think of one of Andy Partridge’s attempts at writing a pop hit with the EW&F horn section while you revisit this bad boy:

    The other song from this era I like is “That’s All,” especially when I can make it through the eventually ponderous verses and get to the song’s Beatle-esque (or Gabriel-esque?) middle eight, starting at the 1:40 mark. This is the next great Supertramp song you always wished they’d get around to writing:

  5. I’m not a fan of Genesis but my older brother is really into them so I heard plenty in high school. My favorite of theirs is probably Sqounk. Even though it’s from the post Gabriel prog era, it actually has a melody that you can hum along to.

    Maybe you should start with Seconds Out. It’s a live album from 77 that has Collins fronting the band but covers a lot of their Gabriel material. And played live, some of that early stuff doesn’t sound as stiff as the studio versions.

  6. ladymisskirroyale

    Squonk is on “A Trick of the Tail.”

    Another sort-of-well-known song from ATotT is ‘Ripples’ which I recall thinking was very deep (then again, I was in high school, and any mention of the passing of time seems deep then). ‘Ripples’ is pretty but also has the anthemic “wave-your-hands-in-the-air” chorus that may appeal to the more testosterone-laden among us.
    Here is a live version which includes lots of facial hair, a sports jersey and soulful acoustic guitar-playing.

  7. 2000 Man

    A little Genesis goes a long, long way. I tried to get into them because I liked Yes and everyone told me that’s the direction I should go, but Ididn’t get the appeal. I liked A Trick of the Tail. It’s a pretty solid album. I like Selling England by the Pound and The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway could be a really good single album, but it can get dull. Maybe it’s just too big a bite? Other than that, I’m pretty much out. Their Phil era “hits” are like hot pokers in your ear.

  8. As I may have mentioned, I went through a Genesis phase in high school, when I was in the marching band. Every once in a while, I will go down a Genesis YouTube rabbit-hole, and I have great difficulty remembering what is was that appealed to me about them all those years ago. They appear to be the least spontaneous band in history. I do marvel at Tony Banks’ truly impressive keyboard chops, but I’m not always sure what the point of it is. I do wonder, though, how many hours, over the years, has he had to spend reading instructional manuals on the latest, high-tech synth gear.

    Anyway, despite Collins’ mugging (and excellent drumming, which does in fact swing at times) they’ll always have an accountants-playing-music vibe to me. Juxtaposing that with the clips of huge crowds in the ’80s going nuts for them is something, I’ll give you.

  9. jeangray

    First, with the Gentle Giant & now Genesis???

    You guys are just troll-baiting the Prog Rock fans out there. Not cool…

  10. 2000 Man

    They like songs about trolls, so it’s okay.

  11. cliff sovinsanity

    Stay tuned for an upcoming Saturday Night Shut-In where I finally admit to liking a Phil Collins song. As for Genesis, I wish I could be of some help but as the old saying goes, if you’ve got nothing good to say don’t ruin other people’s fun.

  12. BigSteve

    I like Phil Collins as a singer, but, as you can really tell in this clip, his vocal style is totally derived from Peter Gabriel.I usually don’t like British singers, but this non-vibrato style works for me. It reminds me of Gary Brooker of Procol Harum.

    Collins was a very good drummer too. Too bad he couldn’t pull off the Levon Helm Trick. He fell prey to frontmanitis, and if he’d stayed behind the drums he might have been fine.

  13. BigSteve

    This clip also reminds me that Genesis never really recovered from the loss of guitarist Steve Hillage. He’s had an interesting post-Genesis career. I really dig the rai records he produced for Algerian singers Rachid Taha and Cheb Khaled.

  14. 2000 Man

    I think you’re thinking of Steve Hackett, who left Genesis and formed the completely not awesome GTR with Steve Howe. I think everyone tries to forget that ever happened.

  15. Agreed “Seconds Out” is surprisingly good. Cool cover too.

  16. BigSteve

    Wow all these years I’ve mistaken Hillage for Hackett. Thanks for clearing that up!

  17. misterioso

    Like 2k man, a little Genesis goes a long way with me, too. The Gabriel-era stuff I find more interesting in concept than to, you know, actually listen to, but in small doses I’m good with it. I can live with some of the Collins-era hits. Abacab? Sure. Turn It on Again? Good. I can’t bring myself to think about them enough to get a line on when they crossed over from being a band I might have said I liked to a band that inspires dread. After Abacab, I think, and certainly by Invisible Touch. Ugh.

  18. jeangray

    Yeah, does it get any worse than “Invisible Touch?”

  19. misterioso

    It makes me angry to think about it.

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