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




Symphonic Prog

4.64 | 4296 ratings

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3 stars I find myself very much at odds with the majority on this one. Being a big fan of the previous year's "Foxtrot", I remember putting "Selling England By The Pound" on the platter for the first time in 1973 with great anticipation, only to be underwhelmed. In fact, I didn't like the album enough to buy it (I had borrowed the LP from a friend) and only finally put my hand in my pocket about five years ago when I happened to see the CD heavily discounted in a high street store.

I hear umpteen nods to "Foxtrot" on this album, but I find "Selling England By The Pound" pales in comparison to its predecessor. Even the nonsense lyrics seem less clever to me. Musically, "Foxtrot" is a million miles from "Trick Of The Tail" whereas "Selling England By The Pound" moves a little closer to the later, more accessible post-Gabriel GENESIS sound; GENESIS' tentative steps towards the mainstream, if you like. And I have to agree with a previous reviewer regarding the sound of Tony Banks' synthesizer on the album: it irritates me at times on several of the tracks; not the playing, which is good, but the buzzy sound of the instrument itself.

'Dancing With The Moonlit Knight' has its moments, I suppose, but just does not excite me, and it peters out rather, evocative moonlight tinkling or no.

The single 'I Know What I Like' charted and had a fair amount of airplay at the time. It's still a foot-tapper, but is hardly stellar Progressive Rock, being rather simple and monotonous (but still, granted, with that early GENESIS quirkiness).

The piano, flute and electronic keyboards on 'Firth Of Fifth' are more interesting, and I think this is one of the better tracks on the album, but again I find it less sophisticated than the tracks on "Foxtrot", catchy and soaring melody or no.

'More Fool Me' is just pure Phil Collins pop; a foretaste of what was to come, unfortunately. Inconsequential musically and lyrically.

'The Battle Of Epping Forest' is another track I can tap my foot to (and indeed like), with plenty of the quirkiness of early GENESIS, but again I feel it does not achieve the quality and energy of the music on the previous album.

The long intro to 'After The Ordeal' initially piques my interest but this track then goes flat and becomes boring.

'The Cinema Show' is a pleasing track but just lacks that extra something to take it from good to great in my book, although it's probably my favourite track on the album and segues nicely into the brief 'Aisle Of Plenty' with its nonsense lyrics playing on UK supermarket names.

Well, what more can I say? In some ways I still can't fathom why this album is so popular. To me it's good but not outstanding and, with the exception of parts of some of the tracks, I find it unmemorable with nothing to make me sit up. Basically, I find the album makes for rather tedious listening. Yes, there's melody; yes, there's variety; yes, there's oddity; but for some reason it just does not do it for me. If half stars were possible I'd award this album 3.5 stars but, as they aren't, I'm going for 3 stars (Good, but not essential). As I mentioned initially, I recognise I'm at odds with the majority, but there are so many albums that I would recommend or buy before this one that I can't bring myself to award it four stars.

Fitzcarraldo | 3/5 |


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