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Genesis - Selling England by the Pound CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.64 | 4296 ratings

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TGM: Orb
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Review 12, Selling England By The Pound, Genesis, 1973


If there's an album that represents England, this is it. Nostalgia, sarcasm and biting dark atmosphere stand side by side, augmented by (in my opinion) some of the most impressive Genesis lyrics. An absolutely essential and flawless album, and one you should instantly go out and buy if you don't already own it.

'Can you tell me where my country lies?' Gabriel's lone vocal opens the enchanting Dancing With The Moonlit Knight, a song about the search for and loss of identity. Musically perfect, with Collins on drums and the Hackett-Rutherford guitar interplay especially standing out. All eight minutes are outstanding. The stunning, original lyrics take it to another level, and really bring out the tragic and satirical concept.

I Know What I Like is a great, entertaining, light-hearted pop-based song. Magical drumming and good bass here, as well as enjoyably random synths. Perhaps too many pop elements for some people, but it suits me just fine.

The Banks-penned Firth of Fifth is stunning. Great piano solo, great guitar part, great use of various keyboards, good bass part, great vocals, good lyrics and absolutely stunning, original drumming from Collins. At times powerful, at times whimsical, at times moving, very fluid and altogether brilliant. Ten minutes of sheer brilliance.

I actually love More Fool Me, a melancholy ballad sung mainly by Collins (with one or two harmonies) with emotional acoustic guitar and lyrics which suit it perfectly. Perhaps not for every prog-man, but I prefer it to anything on A Trick Of The Tail.

The Battle For Epping Forest is a bright and cheerful account of a gang war, with occasionally amusing and generally tolerable lyrics and Gabriel really letting himself go with the vocals. A mixture of inane cockney accents, which you either will or won't like, musical sarcasm and the general excellence present on the rest of the album. I've grown to enjoy it, though I was dubious at first, but I suspect that this is one of those songs where the experience is different for each listener.

After The Ordeal is, in my opinion, one of the finest brief instrumentals ever, beginning with the best guitar-and-piano interplay I've yet heard and a few taps on the tambourine. As it moves to a slightly more polyphonic track, with a great drum entrance by Collins and organ, flute and synths all making some sort of appearance, there's a gorgeous guitar solo.

The Cinema Show is basically an exercise in going from soft to equally soft but somehow louder to softer so subtly that the listener barely notices. The Gabriel-Collins duet on vocals is great, and there's trademark soloing by Hackett and Banks, as well as great drumming. One of those songs which is mostly indescribable if you haven't already heard it.

To round off the album, we have possibly one of the best conclusions in the history of prog rock. The brief Aisle Of Plenty is essentially a reprise of part of Dancing With The Moonlit Knight with a brilliant fade. The perfect conclusion to a perfect album.

Rating: Five Stars

Favourite Track: After The Ordeal

TGM: Orb | 5/5 |


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