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

SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

4.64 | 4261 ratings

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Frenetic Zetetic
5 stars Selling England By The Pound (from here on out know as "SEBTP") is Genesis' 1973 offering, and boy, what an offering it is.

I can't lie, friends; for some reason the entirety of SEBT just doesn't hold up to me as a "10/10" record compared to Foxtrot.

To begin, I'll admit I have a bias for Foxtrot. It's the perfect Gabriel-era Genesis album for me. A lot of people herald SEBT as the quintessential early Genesis record - and don't get me wrong, the music is absolutely amazing here - but somehow the SONGS don't fit and flow as a whole as well as Foxtrot does. With that said, the music is very, very strong here. Exemplary prog rock rock to the highest degree.

The main gripe I have with SEBT is the album flow. The first three songs are all excellent in their own right. The fourth track "More Fool Me" completely derails the flow this album had just built up. The thing is, it's not a bad song at all, it just feels very out of place for the loose theme the album had appeared to be painting.

Next we're treated to the mini epic "Battle of Epping Forest". Many people can't deal with with this track, but I personally love it. It has all the elements that I enjoy about early Genesis. Being that I consider Supper's Ready to be the apex Genesis prog epic, I enjoy my longer Gabriel pieces.

After The Ordeal is cool but feels unnecessary. Same with Aisle of Plenty. I feel the record would be leaps and bounds better without tracks 4, 6, and 8. Call me crazy!

This is absolutely essential 5 star listening for the music alone. The whole, bigger picture, however, is only slightly off...especially when compared to Foxtrot for me. Must have prog rock.

However, in the process, I think I've come to articulate my stance on Gabriel-era Genesis:

Trespass is stellar. Nursery Crime is even better. Foxtrot is absolutely perfect. SEBT has very strong material but the whole isn't as solid as Foxtrot, track-for-track for me. Lamb has some of the best music, some of it's even better than the music on all of the previous albums - but it's so diluted and drawn out that if it were condensed it'd truly give the previous records a true run for their money.

It's like they peaked with Foxtrot (IMHO), then continued to write better songs but those better songs never gelled to create an entire big picture that was as solid-gold (IMHO) as Foxtrot.

Supper's Ready is the apex Genesis prog piece IMHO. Battle of Epping Forest and Cinema show are fantastic extended pieces with some of the best music Genesis has ever written, but they still fall short of the total package on Foxtrot for me.

Tracks like Fly, Back in NYC, Slippermen, The Cage, etc. are also some of the best music Genesis has ever composed...but the total of the album is too diluted as I stated above. Lots of fat on that album.

I find it very interesting that most people's least fave track is Epping Forest, when that's the one that captures the most essence of what made Gabriel-era Genesis great, lol. How can you sit through a 22 minute epic in Supper's Ready, but not an 8.5 mini? I never got that lol.

To each their own! *dodges tomatoes* :P

TL;DR = SEBT is a top-tier progressive rock record that's slightly overvalued when deconstructed and compared to Foxtrot. Still a must-have record!

Frenetic Zetetic | 5/5 |

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