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Genesis - From Genesis to Revelation CD (album) cover

FROM GENESIS TO REVELATION

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

2.59 | 788 ratings

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tarkus1980
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Rarely has the debut album of a major group received this much of a slagging from both fans and critics alike. And on the surface, the flaws of the album are huge and very numerous, seemingly leaving criticism fully justified. In case you're unware, here's the general rundown: first, the band was in its formative stages, without either of its instrumental virtuosos (Hackett and Collins, both of whom would join in '71). Hence, the playing on this album is a bit unimpressive, apart from nice Tony Banks piano lines. Next, the band had not yet found its own distinct style, choosing to emulate the Beatles, Bee Gees and Zombies. And worst of all, producer Jonathan King, in an attempt to make the band seem 'sophisticated', forced the band to write around the concept of the creation of the world through the death of Adam (yes, I know the title implies the whole Bible, but trust me, it's fairly apparent that the story is all told from the point of view of God or Adam, and no other characters). Oh, and when they were done, he threw a lot of orchestration over the songs, except that King seemingly had no idea how to properly use string and brass arrangements in rock (unlike, say, George Martin).

So the obvious question comes to mind - WHY am I giving this album a 4-star rating??!!! Because beneath all of the superficial weaknesses lie two of Genesis' strengths, in just as full of force now as they would be later - incredible songwriting and incredible vocals from Peter. I don't know if I'm just listening to different songs than the rest of y'all, but almost a dozen of the songs on here (and yes, I'm counting the singles on the reissue, more on those later) are, at least in one aspect in each of them, absolute pop perfection. "Am I Very Wrong?," for instance, may have a slightly awkward and Disney-sounding chorus, but how about that vocal melody in the verses?! And the rest ... man. Man. Where "The Sour Turns To Sweet" (I know it's technically a bonus track, but it's impossible for me to think of this album and not consider this a prelude to the rest) is beautiful, "In The Beginning" has one of the most awesome vocal hooks I've ever heard, and "Fireside Song" is EVEN BETTER. Are you going to tell me that the chorus of that song isn't one of the most perfectly constructed tunes you've ever heard??!! And don't forget "In Hiding" or "Window," no sirree, the former with another perfect sing-songey melody and the latter yet another beautiful ballad.

And that sure as heck isn't all. "In The Wilderness" is a whee bit flacid in the verses, but that chorus ... "Music, all I hear is music, guaranteed to please ...". Guaranteed to please is right, dang it. And neither "The Conqueror" nor "One Day" fall short of the standard, the former a great energetic rocker and the latter one of the most perfect love songs I've ever heard.

Oh, and don't forget the bonus tracks. The single version of "The Silent Sun" is only slightly better than the album one (and that one's really dull, actually), but the other three are all highly recommendable. "That's Me" is, as usual, catchy as all get out, a great anthem of misogyny, while "A Winter's Tale" has yet another incredible chorus melody, while "One Eyed Hound" has great interaction between the piano melody and Peter's vocals.

Oh, I was going to tell you about Peter's vocals on this album, wasn't I. Now, at first glance, it would seem that Peter fails miserably in trying to vocalize the early chapters of Genesis, the logic being that since he's singing about such a profound part of Christianity, he should sound booming and authoritative to match the profundity. Well, quite honestly, I think that's bunk. How do you really think Adam would have been upon his placement on the earth - authoritative and patriarchal, ready to assume his place as the biological father of all of Man? Bull. He would have been filled with wide-eyed awe at all of the creations around him - his own body, the animals in the garden, not to mention Eve and this new, strange emotion called 'love'. And in THAT way, Peter pulls off the album to an absolute tee. The lyrics (which, btw, are NOT bad - they are youthful and naive in their feel, but naive does not necessarily mean bad or sloppy) and vocals on this album combine in such a way as to perfectly convey the 'story behind the story' with Adam.

In case you haven't been able to tell, I really like this album. If you dislike it, well, it's your own choice, but dismissing it so easily just based on the lack of competent instrumentation and stupid orchestration seems no less than a fatal mistake to me.

tarkus1980 | 4/5 |

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