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Genesis - Selling England By The Pound CD (album) cover

SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

4.63 | 3870 ratings

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Megaphone of Destiny
4 stars Can you tell me where my country lies?. The solo introduction by Peter Gabriel sets the tone to one of the most beautiful themes of the Genesis production. The poetry it implies is adressed to us, far from the efabulations and symbolisms of Foxtrot, Selling England... wants an answer from the audience. 12 string guitars enter in solemn arpeggios, as usual, constructing a nice melody around Gabriel's wor(l)ds. The instrumental part that follows the lyrics is full angular rhythms, odd time-signatures, twists and turns that stretch the boundaries of prog-rock. However, the movement is fluid, nothing seems forced, Phil Coliins and Tony Banks alternate in commentary to the poetic visions of P. Gabriel's visions. I know what I like (in your wardrobe) is the popiest song that Genesis could do. The simple beat and the easy singing chorus are appealing, but it is here that we tend to think that the group was a bit afraid or seduced by the dangers of commercial music. No one will ever know. But the early departure of Peter Gabriel can illuminate some this contradiction that we can feel on this song. Firth of Fifth opens up with a gorgeous piano introduction by Tony Banks and segues into a medieval aroma that reminds us of Nursery Cryme or Foxtrot times. Once again, slower passages with flute alternate with rockier passages where Phil Collins leads the group with his steady and melodic drumming. Tony Banks is always inventive and provides all of the necessary melodies and harmonies that anchor the song. More Fool Me is a ballad sung by Collins. One of the flaws of the record. Even if we can accept Collins' voice and in a way engage with it, the song is too straight forward and the lyrics are far away from anything the Genesis had done until then. Battle of Epping Forest is absolutely brilliant! The 7/4 tempo is not only remarkably set by drums and bass, but also the melodies and the lyrics (about a kind of surrealist battle) are perfectly suited to the pace and mood of the song. Gabriel is full of expression giving us all the colours of the story, Hackett and Rutherford appear once in a while only to confirm the democratic balance of instruments. Banks mainly on organ and Collins are absolutely perfect. The band alternates 7/4 with 4/4 and 6/4 with a fluidity that any jazz-rock group would envy. Phil Collins records here some of his best drumming ever. After the Ordeal is a nice slow tempo instrumental song, with Banks' piano and Hackett's nylon guitar in proeminence, it is a resting song, but nevertheless with a beautiful melody that helps the listener to follow the song that follows: The Cinema Show starts as usual with 12 string guitar arpeggios followed by Gabriel's stories. This time Juliet goes to the movies with Romeo. The theme describes very accurately the timelessness of the lyrics. Hackett has a beautiful work on these song, always discreet, but with a almost perfect sense of balance and melodic wisdom. For the most intricate passages the band chooses again odd time signatures, like the 7/8 at 6.00 with the 12 string guitar vamping with the drums for the moog synthesizer solos. All the orchestration is beautiful. The album finishes with Aisle of Plenty, merely a coda of The Cinema Show, with Gabriel selling England by more than one pound, adressing directly the audience, trying to reach a broader spectrum and to shake off some of the attacks of conformism that the Genesis were beginning to feel. On the whole, a beautiful record, one of the very best that Genesis did. Perhaps the one I still love the most. So, if there's a record where I could give 5 stars it would be this one. However, the problem is the flaws: pop simplessness on I know what I like and simple straightforwardness on More Fool Me makes my rate go to 4,5 stars.
Megaphone of Destiny | 4/5 |

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