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Genesis - We Can't Dance  CD (album) cover

WE CAN'T DANCE

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

2.65 | 782 ratings

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The T
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars They couldn't dance, but they could still play.

So this was Genesis' final album with Phil Collins on vocals. After Peter Gabriel left, the very good drummer had to face the crowd and become the band's new frontman. With him as singer, Genesis had recorded, until this album, a couple of masterpieces, two very good albums, a couple of good pop/rock records, and one weak pop album. So how does Collins' final collaboration with long-time bandmates Rutherford and Banks fare in comparison with all of those? Did they continue the downward path, or did they manage to rise again from the ashes and re-claim their spot as prog's greatest band? The answer would be: No, and no.

No to the first posibility, because this album is a lot better than the preceding one. In "We Can't Dance", GENESIS somewhat returned to their rock-prog roots, if not in a full-fledged manner, at least in appearance. Let me mention a few changes:

a) First, they finally decided to use acoustic drums again.

b) We can hear that the band worked together and for some time before releasing this opus. It's clear that they actually sit down together at least a few days before recording in order to come out with some good songs.

c) Phil Collins sings very, very well here, better than in the two previous albums. I think this is one of his best performances.

Those were a few of the elements that I think make this album a lot better than "Invisible Touch". Some elements to criticize are:

a) Not many solos, or complete lack thereof to be honest.

b) This is still a rock/pop album. Progressive "We Can't Dance" still is not.

c) Even though we have some good songs, we don't have anything in the same level of "And Then There Were Three", the last album that featured really incredibly-good tracks.

On with the songs:

No Son Of Mine (7.5/10), a decent with some power. What a difference the inclusion of real drums makes!

Jesus He Knows Me (8.5/10), a fast rocking song, with an energy we hadn't see on this group since "Abacab". A good chorus, though the bridge is not perfect.

Driving The Last Spike (7.5/10), a very atmospheric song, melodic, with a great performance by Phil who manages to clean some of the dirt he threw upon himself with "Illegal Alien" and the wonderful "foreign" accent. The song is longer than it's needed, but, it has a middle section that sounds somewhat prog (?!?)

I Can't Dance (7/10), the commercial warhorse of the record, this song has a certain "coolness", some groove factor to it.

Never A Time (5.5/10), a decent but forgettable love song. Dreaming While You Sleep (6.5/10) The drum-machine is back. But at least here it's used with a little more delicacy, with a better effort to use its particular sound for atmosphere. It suffers of the same illness that many post-"Abacab" long songs suffer: it's too long.

Tell Me Why (6.5/10), another quick-tempo rock track, it's pure rock/pop but not of the most unbearable kind. And Collins puts on a good performance.

Living Forever (8/10), Collins plays the drums with brushes it would seem. This song has some progressiveness to it, there's no question about it. It's one of the best in the album. It even has an instrumental part, with something resembling a keyboard solo. Hold On My Heart (6.5/10), a slow song, not bad. I don't know, maybe it's Collins' performance, or the way the guitar accentuates his high notes in the chorus, but there's something that makes this song better than it is. Way Of The World (6/10) another decent song, an enjoyable pop song.

Since I Lost You (5/10), the weakest track in the album, at least we have a guitar solo (so brief you hardly notice it), acoustic drums (so boringly-played that you never notice there are drums in this song) and a good vocal work by Collins.

Fading Lights (8.5/10), the best use of electronic drums in Genesis' career, here they add to the atmosphere, to the fog in the environment that the start of this song reminds me of. The keyboards are played in a weird choral-like manner, you can detect even some religious overtones (?) in them. This has to be another of Phil's best vocal-performances ever, it conveys so much emotion it actually feels like if he really was sad to say goodbye. A little bit longer than needed, but the AMAZING: a long instrumental part that actually sounds like PROG, with solos included!!. A very good song to end a decent album.

If I were to add further complaints about this album, it would have to be mostly one: it's too long. Genesis' got me used to 45 minute records, and suddenly they want me to sit through 75 minutes of music? Not that that is bad per se , but when the music is not up to par, exceeded album-length is a problem.

A good album, nowhere near the level of anything from "Trespass" to "And Then There Were Three", maybe in the same league as "Duke", but not as progressive.

Recommended for: Pop/rock fans, Genesis' non-hardcore fans, Genesis' hardcore fans that can withstand the Gabriel-less era, fans of progressive-rock music with a poppy-edge to it.

Not recommended for: Fans of pure-progressive Genesis; pop/rock-haters. This is not for you...

...but I glady accept it.

The T | 3/5 |

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