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Genesis - Wind & Wuthering CD (album) cover

WIND & WUTHERING

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

4.10 | 1837 ratings

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pacidy
5 stars The last great Genesis album, the first one I ever heard, and still possibly my favorite. The depth of music and meaning in the lyrics is unmatched by any other. The album starts powerfully enough with the classic prog-rocking Eleventh Earl of Mar, not sure what the "Daddy" part is about, though, maybe the Earl's son waiting for his return. The slow middle theme is what makes this song and shows for the first time the richness of instrumentation that permeates the whole record and would become even more evident in the next song. One reviewer treated One for the Vine as some kind of sequel to The Knife. I think they're two very different songs. Both involve charismatic leaders, but in The Knife, the leader is totally into it, far gone in his megalomania, whereas the One for the Vine actually is repelled by such a character, "the chosen one," but finds himself unable to do anything but follow in those footsteps, in the end watching the "one without hope," who is himself as he might have been (at least in my interpretation), vanish into thin air. Not to mention the many levels of subtlety present in OFTV as contrasted against the raw fury of The Knife. And that's a them for the entire album. Subtlety. Depth of instrumentation. Foxtrot had its apocalyptic epic Supper's Ready, SEBTP it's witty satire and brightness, The Lamb it's dark and weighty vision of perdition and redemption, but not even ATOTT had the subtle, alliterative qualities to the extent of W&W. That's why I say W&W might be my favorite Genesis album. You can hear the subtleties in Collins' singing on OFTV, going into falsetto for the "Follow me!" part, which is what the people want the protagonist to be, and then the "No, no, no!" that follows right on is out loud in full voice -- that's who he really is. You can hear it in the odd splashes of timbre, textural color, and harmony, such as the barely audible high-pitched keyboard in the slow interlude in Your Own Special Way, in the bizarre percussion sound near the beginning of the fast instrumental of One for the Vine, in the way Hackett turns on a dime to start the final passage of his solo intro to Blood on the Rooftops, in the chilling, quiet 14/8 melody following "vanished into air" that contains more heaviness than any Metallica song, and throughout Unquiet Slumbers. My ability to describe these passages is unfortunately limited by my lack of knowledge of the instruments used to produce them.

When I look at the 4 star reviews, I see where people downgrade the album due to Your Own Special Way, or for some, Wot Gorilla. I think they're both very good tunes, with YOSW waxing poetic; my favorite line being, " ... of carrying me twice round the world, never closer to home than the day, the day I started." Wot Gorilla is just plain fun, a playful 3 minute outburst. All in a Mouse's Night is not the strongest track, but ends with a very strong instrumental passage which sets the tone for Hackett to take center stage with the gorgeous classical guitar introduction to Blood on the Rooftops. And what more needs to be said about Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers/In that Quiet Earth? Afterglow closes out the album with strong emotional singing from Collins.

I think most of us agree that Genesis never did another album this strong again, going in an increasingly pop direction after Steve Hackett left.

pacidy | 5/5 |

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