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Genesis - We Can't Dance CD (album) cover

WE CAN'T DANCE

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

2.66 | 1078 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
2 stars We Can't Dance, and We Can't Play Prog!

OK, you know where this is going to end up and it won't be pretty! If this is prog I am going to sell my prog collection to the highest bidder or sell England by the Pound or perhaps Trespass on the nearest Broadway Where the Lamb Lies Down to take a Foxtrot. Phil Collins openly stated on the 'Live In Rome' doco that the band began to garner a female audience and this only occurred when the music changed. If that's what the band wanted, to branch out on their target audience, that is what they received, but at the expense of glorious progressive music.

Genesis' music changed to such an extent that if you listen to the prog material such as 'Duke' and compare it to this they are from alternate universes, at polar opposites from one another. I don't mind a band experimenting with styles but this is selling out by the pound. The single smash hit 'Jesus He Knows Me' is proof positive that Genesis know how to write songs and do it well, and I am a real fan of the opening 'No Son Of Mine', especially the lyrics, and the emotive themes. Both are excellent and very infectious as far as melody is concerned. Collins sings well as usual and with fixed emotion.

There is no doubt the band is talented and you cannot take that away from them with the likes of Banks, Rutherford and Collins. The musical direction of the band is unsurpassed on their classic albums. Gabriel and Hackett were the prog geniuses and with them gone the band struggled to stand up in the difficult 80s. Let's face it, every prog band did and then at the beginning of the 90s prog slowly began to emerge as a dominant force. Genesis did not care for the past of course and opted for the fresh 80s sound of infectious choruses and poppy synthesizer riffs. It wasn't the newcomers that were infected by this, they embraced it and thought Genesis were a great new pop group who dominated the charts, they were completely oblivious of "Foxtrot". The problem stemmed with the prog fans who longed for that incredible progressive sound of the band; a sound they discarded.

Instead we get the deplorable "Invisible Touch" single dominated album, and years later this effort, which is only a notch above that album. The lengthy 'Driving The Last Spike' at 10 minutes promises much but delivers very little and live it is even worse.

'I Can't Dance' is an atypical poppy riff heavy danceable thing but it has the effect of polluting your mind and you can't get the dang chorus out of your head, aka a top 10 hit. The film clip is rather good as it is hilarious in its own way, Collins hamming it up big time as he tends to do in these latest tracks.

The forgettable tracks sandwiched between are real throwaways including, 'Dreaming While You Sleep', 'Tell Me Why', 'Living Forever', and 'Since I lost You'. No prizes for guessing that these are primarily Collins driven ballads and have no real redeeming features unless you are into power ballads or romantic claptrap. They merge into the wallowing synth-soaked money making machine that pummelled us in the decade of dance. I am simply giving this music a wide berth and I have played these tracks a grand total of one time and you won't convince me they are worth returning to. That's why I love prog, to indulge in complex, innovative music and to steer clear of these tepid poppy tracks. 'Hold On My Heart' is OK because I have heard this on the radio and it somehow appealed to my guilty pleasures. If the melody is strong enough you can forgive the tepid emotional drivel. At this point, you are perhaps thinking I am an anti-romantic individual. I can tell you that I am not, but when it comes to music, I am sick and tired of the sugar-coated radio friendly themes of 'girl meets boy, they fall in love, and then out of love and Air Supply appear and croon a lovely little song about it'. There's just too much of it out there and it saturates the air waves and makes you think that love is everything that makes the world go round. Yes would disagree on their 'Tales From Topographic Oceans', Pink Floyd would disagree on their 'Dark Side of The Moon'; these are the albums that changed a generation in music, but these other albums that were churned out with the likes of songs such as 'Way Of The World', 'Since I Lost You' and 'Fading Lights' ? well, I am speechless.

Genesis would do better than these on subsequent releases as we have seen with their live material especially the masterful DVD "Live In Rio". I would give this a miss and grab "The Platinum Collection" as everything on this that's worthwhile is there. This is quite a disappointing album with three good songs. Collectors need only apply.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 2/5 |

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