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Genesis - Turn It On Again - The Hits CD (album) cover

TURN IT ON AGAIN - THE HITS

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

2.23 | 89 ratings

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Chicapah
Prog Reviewer
3 stars No, I didn't buy this. I found it in my wife's convoluted mess of cassettes and figured that, since it's from one of my favorite bands ever, it deserves my opinionated review. My better half is not a progger by any stretch of the imagination but when it comes to Genesis she knows what she likes and she likes what she knows. In other words, she considers them a superb pop group that created a lot of popular songs and videos that she enjoyed during the 80s. And, with this compilation being called "The Hits," this is exactly what she thought she was purchasing. Good for her. For me, I tend to think of this as Genesis (with a few exceptions) after they became afflicted with the MTV virus.

Wisely they start things off briskly with "Turn It On Again" from the excellent "Duke" album. Almost every tune on that baby was a winner in my book and it launched this catchy song's prog time signature onto car radios all over the world. Next you are treated to the blatantly commercial "Invisible Touch" with its pointless lyrics and then the weird hysterics of the creepy "Mama" but both tracks rank miles above the annoying, noisy "Land of Confusion." It's so grating that it makes their mediocre novelty song "I Can't Dance" a relief to hear. "Follow You, Follow Me" always reminds me of the first time I put ".And Then There Were Three" on my turntable and sadly realized that the glory days of hearing mind-blowing epics from these guys might be coming to an end. (With the exception of "Duke" I was right, unfortunately.)

"Hold On My Heart" is a fine example of the sappy love ballads that became their bread and butter in their latter days and if this is your cup 'o tea then indulge yourself. "Abacab" still packs a punch, however, and this edited version still shows they had some pep in their step as late as 1981. For those poor souls who are amazed to find out that Peter Gabriel used to be their front man (don't laugh, there's a lot of Muggles out there clueless to this fact) you get the wonderful, whimsical "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)" to provide a nostalgic oasis along the way. "Throwing It All Away" follows and a number of fans probably thought they were writing this about their legacy but it's just another slick ballad about a failed relationship.

"No Son of Mine" rocks pretty hard and lyrically it boldly takes on a touchy subject that actually has relevance. "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight" might have sold a lot of beer but it has never slaked my thirst for some good ol' symphonic prog. It's just too 80s VH-1 sounding for me. What's next? Yep, it's another overwrought ballad coming at you as "In Too Deep" rolls through (boy, these guys had some real issues in their home lives, I guess). The rarely-heard "Congo" has their usual high production values but it also makes me glad I didn't shell out any lettuce for that final album. I like "Jesus He Knows Me" a lot because I admire any band that shines a glaring spotlight on the despicable hypocrisy of TV evangelists and this tune does a great job of it. "That's All" is just one of those songs that I have no strong opinion about. It just sorta lays there. (Hey, it could have been worse. They could have included the ridiculous "Illegal Alien.") When I said that "almost" every song on "Duke" was a winner, "Hot Fun in the Summertime" .oops, I mean "Misunderstanding" is the exception. Well, the riff is an absolute rip-off no matter how they may rationalize it. Sly Stone should get a partial writing credit.

If there is a single reason for any Genesis fan to own this album it's for the inclusion of "The Carpet Crawlers 1999." It provides a wistful "what if" moment if there ever was one. No, it's not an improvement over the original by any means but hearing the unmistakable voices of Peter and Phil together again with up-to-date studio techniques in play causes me to wonder just how fantastic a modern rendition of "Nursery Cryme" or even "Foxtrot" might sound. (Okay, call me a heretic!) Alas, this more than decent revised version is still good mainly because it's such a killer tune and it's probably as close as we'll ever come to a genuine reunion.

Why three stars? Well, it certainly isn't for the proggers who already have the original albums that made them legend and most of these songs are seriously deficient in progressive ideals, no doubt. But when taken in light of the schlock that was being slung about during the dismal MTV-plagued years that were the 80s these lads at least maintained a modicum of professionalism and integrity about themselves and it's my belief that they could have done much, much worse.

Chicapah | 3/5 |

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