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Genesis - Genesis 1983-1998 CD (album) cover

GENESIS 1983-1998

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

3.52 | 95 ratings

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proghaven
4 stars An encyclopedia of the longest, least fruitful and dreariest period in the band's history. The leading role of Tony Banks as composer and arranger was rapidly decreasing, the role of Phil Collins was rapidly growing. The band's music of this era sounds as if the musicians were bored with music. Or, at least, with prog music. While a few moments of the 1983 self-titled album (usually called Mama in daily use) still slightly remind the substance we call prog, Invisible Touch and We Can't Dance are rather anti-progressive. The best possible place for the music of this kind could be a sandy beach near Sochi or Tuapse, full of intensively relaxing carefree people. Calling All Stations is partially reconvalescent but was booed by the fans who could not (or at least thought they couldn't) reconcile themselves to the band's new vocalist and two guest drummers instead of Collins.

By convention, I speak of 'extra tracks' (disc 5) only. Like the 'extra' disc of the 1976-1982 box set, there's no surprise here, no previously unreleased and unknown songs. The disc 5 could be entitled 'The Tracks That Didn't Fit In'. Indeed, On The Shoreline and Hearts On Fire didn't fit in We Can't Dance, the next three tracks didn't fit in Invisible Touch, and the last three in Calling All Stations. And a couple of them could add something essential to a respective album; I think it's quite enough reason to give the box set 4 stars.

On The Shoreline was recorded during the We Can't Dance studio sessions and first released on the promo 12 inch maxi single I Can't Dance in 1991. Many of us agree that in 1991 Genesis released their worst studio album ever. But On The Shoreline could seriously pull it up if included. Yes its sound faintly differs from the sound of other album tracks, yes it's nothing but 'beach' poppy prog, or rather proggy pop. But it's much tastier, more distinctive and better done.

Hearts On Fire is another We Can't Dance studio outtake, it first appeared on the 1992 single Jesus He Knows Me. The track is done in the same antsy and fussy manner as Domino or (why bother to go too far?) Jesus He Knows Me just mentioned above.

Do The Neurotics and I'd Rather Be You were first released on the 1986 single In Too Deep, Feeding The Fire first appeared the same year on the single Land Of Confusion. While I'd Rather Be You and Feeding The Fire can be considered a sort of 'tissue matrix', something mediocre and unessential, Do The Neurotics could make Invisible Touch less commercial and even less poppy if included in the album.

And finally, the three Calling All Stations studio outtakes. Let's be clear: I like Calling All Stations. I think that it's overall a good album. I don't care about Phil Collins (though he is of no doubt one of the very best drummers on our Globe and an excellent vocalist) or Peter Gabriel (though he wrote very intricate lyrics). I even don't care too much about Steve Hackett (though the authorship of a number of beautiful Genesis tracks belongs to him). The two band members who really interest me as a dedicated listener are Michael Rutherford (less) and Anthony Banks (much more). To me, the question number one is always 'who wrote the music'. And voila - both Banks and Rutherford are here, most of the musical material was written by Banks, there's a lot of material from Rutherford as well - so, why people say this is not Genesis? Just because the singer's voice differs from what we used to hear, and drums are operated by hired employees? Yes the difference is audible. But, on the other hand, don't you find that the overall music picture had changed to better as a result? Of course the band's last studio album is not a full recovery, not a true return to prog. But musically it's much closer to what we call 'genuine Genesis' than the two previous albums with Collins. I think the reason was restored musical leadership of Banks. Of course in 1997 he was not the same as in 1973 but remained Banks nevertheless.

Anything Now, Sign Your Life Away and Run Out Of Time were all first released officially on the 1998 maxi single Not About Us, but almost a year before all the three appeared on the unofficial (bootleg?) 'promo' CD issued in UK - it had a monstrously long title (I even don't remember it) and contained non-album songs and alternative (including acoustic) versions of some album tracks. Musically, I'd say Run Out Of Time has a number of attributes of instant Genesis style and could make an asset to the album if included, while Anything Now and Sign Your Life Away are quite primitive and faceless. But anyway I'd prefer to see all the three on side four of the vinyl version instead of etch...

proghaven | 4/5 |

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