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Genesis - The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.29 | 2732 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars The Dramatic Climax of the Classic Prog Era

The Lamb Lays Down on Broadway is the most ambitious, lyrically cryptic, grandest project by one of the titans of the genre at their peak in their classic lineup. It is extremely demanding to wrap one?s brain around, and it takes many listens to really sink into your soul. But once it has, it is difficult not to declare this the peak of the genre. Of course, this is the swan song of Peter Gabriel with Genesis, mainly because by this time, the band was being promoted almost exactly in that manner. Over 4 sides of music, there are certainly some peaks and valleys in the power of the music. But to doubt this is one of the masterpieces of prog rock is to say Beethoven's 9th is not a classic. (I happen to dislike the 9th but I am not silly enough to deny its profound importance.) The Lamb holds a similar place in this genre.

The album is a rock opera which really is meant to be heard as a complete work. There are no hit singles, though there are classic moments including "In the Cage" and the ethereal "Carpet Crawlers." The latter contains the best vocal interplay Gabriel and Phil Collins were to ever have, an oddity considering their later careers. Gabriel's lyrics span vast territory mainly involving themes of spirituality, personal transformation, and sexuality. There are some great instrumental passages, but the band is more restrained here than on any other release up to the days of the threesome. As such, this album is much different from albums before or for several after, lacking the extended intricate instrumental passages that were a Genesis trademark. (Probably a reason some like this album less than Foxtrot or Selling England by the Pound).

In general, I like the music better in the first half of the album. However, the characters, storyline, and sheer weirdness are more interesting in the second half. Live, this corresponded to Gabriel's leather clad outfit during the opening songs, and then elaborate costumes in the second half. One exception is the reprise of the title song which is much more satisfying in its darker, more minor version toward the end of the work. Fittingly, the album has a big stage style closer, "It," which releases the long developed tension in an upbeat major crescendo, though the lyrics remain challenging.

The Lamb was not the natural evolution of Genesis' sound at all. Rather it is almost a stand alone work, as the continuity between Selling England through Trick of the Tail and Wind and Wuthering actually makes more sense. But the Lamb was a mighty note to end one of the greatest acts to make rock music. Gabriel was to exit for solo work, and Genesis was to transform time and time again to varied effect. But this exclamation mark remains one of the most important albums in all of rock, let alone prog rock, for which it is perhaps the summit of the vision of what the genre could be.

Negoba | 5/5 |


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