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




Symphonic Prog

4.64 | 4292 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator
5 stars "and all of their hands are playing a part"

The year 1973 was something of a watershed for the English giants in my opinion. One can argue whether Selling/Dark Side/Topographic Oceans were the "best" these bands had to offer. My feeling is that all three works saw their bands taking the last gasp of their original visions and team unity to their most accomplished conclusions. All still contained the spark of original magic, the lack of overt cynicism, the feeling that the bands still believed in the strength of their group creativity. While future works would still be very impressive there would be more division, more cynicism, band members departing, and the realization that what were once friendships making discoveries together were now organizations. As albums from all three would continue to make strides in production and sophistication, Gabriel would later describe in one word the feeling that would descend upon all three: machinery. And yet in the heart of 1973 it was all still so fresh and vibrant for the fan of rock music, progressive or otherwise.

As Floyd did on Dark Side, Genesis would grasp bits and pieces of previous albums and manage to spin them into a work with more cohesion, greater accessibility without compromising extended instrumental excitement, a finer studio ear for arrangements and dynamics, and a superior eye for the overall package as a work of art for the ages. Moments of brilliance were there on Cryme and Foxtrot but here the music is magical start to finish. As with Dark Side we can become a bit spoiled over the decades as these works are damaged by "overkill" within the prog community and thus hammered as being overrated. But in fact this is not the case. From any vantage point I take of Selling England it comes through as completely convincing, extraordinarily warm, charming, and inspiring. The playing on the album has been raised to another level not only by the clearer production, but the voracity in which each member seems to be striving to make every note and word count. We are treated to four outstanding Genesis epics averaging 10 minutes in length, none of which overstay their welcome by even a second. These elaborate pieces are separated by four "glue" tracks which serve as breather moments and cleanse the palette before throwing the listener back into the album's ride. The mixture of the romantic English pastoral vibe with the dynamic rocking sections and vocal passion deliver the fan an amazingly sincere and direct experience. There is no waiting period required to connect with Selling, there is no effort required. You are simply bowled over by the overall care bestowed upon this one, and the melodies within will visit your inner dialogue over time. These melodies come and go in my consciousness without ever thinking about Genesis. They are just there playing on my mind's audio channel. I can't say that about every album I appreciate. And more than a collection of tracks Selling feels like a film that pulls the listener into its midst. You are a part of the story.

While Gabriel would remain for the next album it is here where the band feels the most authentic to my ear, delivering on every front as if their lives depended on it. While "Trespass" remains my personal favorite Genesis album, there is no doubt in my mind that 1973 delivered a masterpiece each from Genesis, Yes, and Floyd.

Finnforest | 5/5 |


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