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Genesis - Genesis CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

2.79 | 1351 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars 2-and-a-half stars, if we're splitting hairs.

Beginning with a song that is alien in comparison to the rest this album, and indeed one that stands apart from any other Genesis song, 'Genesis' gets off to a bizarre start with "Mama". Dreary, mechanical, brooding and at times psychotic, "Mama" is an early climax on an album that suffers from a lack of cohesion and way too much filler. "That's All" rests on an almost country-rock bounce. It's simple and harmless, but it doesn't stick (in fact, it sucks). It's not helped by the weak synthetic drum sound, Tony Banks' feeble keyboard sounds, and the general streamlining that shaved off a lot of this once- great band's most enticing elements. Rounding off the first side is "Home By The Sea" and its coda, "Second Home By The Sea". In some ways this is classic Genesis, but only in terms of their post-'70s output. A poignant lyric is further lifted by Phil Collins' emotional delivery, and the composition is masterful. Flip the record over and you've got an uneven batch of tunes to grapple with. Up there with the worst of the worst Genesis, "Illegal Alien" is a dud, utterly awful stuff marked by tacky lyrics. It's bouncy, goofy, lighthearted, a total 180-degree turn from the frightening album opener. "Taking It All Too Hard" is the kind of stuff Genesis started coming up with all to easily, stuff that would dominate their next two albums. Throwaway FM-lite radio material, clearly nothing remarkable. Next is the infectious "Just A Job To Do". I know Genesis fans hear this one differently from person to person. I've always found it hard to dislike. There's some quality rhythmic syncopation from Collins and Michael Rutherford that helps propel this odd bit of white funk. "Silver Rainbow" is next. Its dark momentum and ghostly vocal melody meshes with the compressed synthetic '80s production to become a perplexing song at worst, and an '80s-era Genesis high point at best. Underrated and worth a reinvestigation if it didn't hit you the first time, it sadly doesn't develop as far as it should, repeating the ethereal chorus lazily until the fadeout. "It's Gonna Get Better" is an easy one to dislike, marked by dance-y momentum and new-wave-ish production ethics, but Banks' hypnotic keyboards give the desperate Genesis fan some scraps to hang onto. Interestingly, this one comes off much better live (check out the version of the 'Genesis Archives #2' box).

I wonder why they self-titled this album. It's hardly definitive Genesis, and it doesn't represent any kind of creative high-point in their career, so maybe the album title-like the poor artwork--is due to lack of imagination? As a follow-up to the promising reinvention of 'Abacab' it doesn't hold up. It's less of an "album" album and more a bunch of songs thrown together--some good, some awful. Unusual for a band who previously made huge journeys of their albums, but par-for-the-course for a band reaping commercial rewards and enjoying their newfound less-is-more approach.

slipperman | 2/5 |


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