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Genesis - Nursery Cryme CD (album) cover

NURSERY CRYME

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

4.42 | 2122 ratings

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fragilelambtongues
5 stars This album should definitely be in the argument for the best progressive rock album ever, right up there with Close to the Edge and Thick as a Brick! In fact, I am somewhat surprised at the number of people who are willing to put this album below SEBTP, Foxtrot, and The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway in their rankings of Genesis albums.

These songs make me cry, laugh, rock out, and experience every emotion in between. Every melody is perfect, every transition is perfect, and the overall sound of the album is unlike anything I have ever heard--in my opinion, Nursery Cryme is the most cohesive Genesis album. Being a fan of Anthony Phillips, I enjoy hearing the influence he left on the band; it is my understanding that he still played a large part in some of the compositions. I also urge anyone who hasn't heard Trespass to check it out as well (the only album with Phillips on guitar), as it is highly underrated!

The Musical Box is a notorious fan favorite, and reasonably so. Gabriel gives one of his best vocal performances ever. There is definitely a nursery rhyme or fairy tale quality to the piece that goes way beyond the literal recitation of Old King Cole midway through. This is more than just a song--it is a narrative, a tale, a full production in itself. It contains a powerful message similar to Time by Pink Floyd, but goes the extra mile musically and vocally.

For Absent Friends is loaded with more meaning and emotion than any other 1 minute, 47 second-long track ever created. Phil Collins delivers a fantastic vocal, and the music subtly incorporates church chorale-like elements that complement the lyrics to perfection. This piece has an incredible amount of imagery, just as effective as great literature--I dare you not to envision two little old ladies buttoning up their coats and walking across the grass to church! So simple and yet so amazing.

The Return of the Giant Hogweed is the story of a vicious plant that was stupidly removed from its natural habitat by an explorer figure; the hogweed then sought its revenge by menacing the citizens of London. Only in prog will you get ridiculous, fabulous lines like They all need the sun to photosensitize their venom! I also love the instrumental section The Dance of the Giant Hogweed which begins at about 5:30. This track, aside from being one of the pioneering Genesis tracks, also has its place in the history of rock in general, as the beginning of the track is one of the first recorded cases of tap guitar. Way to go, Steve!

Seven Stones, as a few others have pointed out, is a very underrated track. The vocal melody and accompanying progression are heart-wrenching, as Gabriel tells the story of men both protected and exploited by apparent acts of chance. I myself thank Providence for letting me hear it and the album.

Harold the Barrel is similar to a great short story, short and in-your-face, with subtle point-of-view changes and the like. The music feels a bit more poppy than the other tracks, but this is by no means a pop tune! To me the real highlight of the track is the interplay between the tone and phrasing of the music, and that of the different characters portrayed by Gabriel.

Harlequin is Genesis at its most beautiful, with plenty of lush 12-string guitar arpeggios, and great melodies and counter-melodies. Nothing that will change the face of music forever, but a great track nonetheless.

As if nursery rhymes, church altars, science-fiction plants, hazardous seas, and suicidal restaurant owners weren't enough, Genesis explores Greek mythology with The Fountain of Salmacis, and in doing so creates an album-ending track worthy of Zeus himself. Hackett produces some great guitar work, Collins shines on drums, Banks delivers his signature organ, Rutherford drives his bass like a semi-truck, and Gabriel gives another absolutely magnificent performance.

Some fans say that this album, like Trespass, was great because it showed us hints of the great things to come with their next three albums. Personally, I think this is as great as it gets, and Genesis was THAT good, that they were able to continue to deliver three equally unbelievable albums thenceforward.

fragilelambtongues | 5/5 |

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