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Genesis - The Platinum Collection CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.19 | 98 ratings

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4 stars Well, this is where I started with Genesis. They were the third prog band I got into, preceded by Pink Floyd and Yes. So, I popped Disc 1 into the player on Christmas day...and was greeted by 'No Son Of Mine' Hmm. Good song maybe, but wasn't what I thought was 'progressive'. So I gave the next few tracks a listen...very well written pop tunes they were, yes, I said, 'progressive'? Then I came to 'Mama'. Ever since then, 'Mama' has been a definite favourite. Progressive? Maybe. I felt a happier feeling about this 'Platinum Collection' when I heard this. So with a more positive feeling I listened on. Nothing too remarkable really, and then I heard 'Calling All Stations'. An entirely different sound, with some husky singer. But it was good.

Now with hindsight, I know what is progressive and what isn't. I also know what Genesis' music is and isn't. Genesis' music is always good, but like a lot of prog bands, takes different forms throughout the years. And this Platinum Collection takes you through that journey. Yeah, there's all that about this being a 'milking the cash cow' exercise, but the point of this CD is to show, in correct perspective, the change in Genesis' music, and a sample of each style.

So anyway, the second disc, going back in time. First track - 'Abacab'. The only thing 'prog' about this track is it's length and the mathemtical format in which it is written. A couple of drippy, drab pop tunes ensue, with the exception of 'Turn It On Again' which for a poppy number is quite likeable and powerful. On 'Behind The Lines' Tony Banks must have been feeling tired because the epic sounding keyboard power chords which make up this track are sloppily played and recorded. As we progress through the collection, things start to look up. The first sign of this is perhaps the track 'Undertow', which although it might be written to be some kind of 'hit' or 'ballad' is in fact a very dynamic song with emotional vocals from Mr. Collins alongside one of the richest, most heartfelt melodies present on this CD. This pleasant track is followed by a fast-paced, syncopated instrumental 'In That Quiet Earth' which evolves into the rich, sun-drenched, evocative 'Afterglow' with lyrics that may or may not echo 'Undertow'. The Collection is definitely getting better as it draws to the end of disc two, and this feeling of hope is elevated to a new height with the eccentric 'Trick Of The Tail'. This song is an enjoyable, straightforward mythological story which echoes the eccentricity of earlier Gabriel numbers such as 'I Know What I Like'. In fact, Phil's voice on this track is very similar to Mr. Gabriel's; almost indistinguishable. The CD closes with two of the best tracks present here. The beautiful, emotive 'Ripples' is a very finely written, intricate piece of rich music with a very mysterious feel. It's another definite favourite, which is the kind of track that EVERYBODY likes. The disc concludes with the sublime, strange and monumental 'Los Endos' which, as the title seems to imply, is the sign of this album drawing near. It's six minutes of purest prog, with musicianship at absolute peak on all members' behalf...Mike Rutherford's superb Jazzy bass, Phil Collins Bruford- esque syncopated drumming, Steve Hackett's epic and moving guitar manoeuvres, and Tony Banks' crowded and high tech keyboard department. The track hails back to earlier moments on the original album 'Trick Of The Tail' and even steals some lines from 'Supper's Ready'. Words are inaccurate at describing this materpiece, so give it a good listen. It is also hailed as a goodbye to ex-frontman and living legend Peter Gabriel. Speaking of whom...

We are now on Disc 3, his territory. The album opens up with the skittish, rodentesque piano staccato madness of 'The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway', a five minute powerful opener with a superb bassline from Mike Rutherford and those beautifully haunting Peter Gabriel signature vocals. A good opener for the best disc on this album. This is followed by a couple of tracks from 'The Lamb' album, which are examples of good songwriting and storytelling in an 'under-five-minutes' showcase format. Now we move onto the real gold... 'Firth Of Fifth' is another monument in Genesis' and progresive rock's history. A magnificently epic intro from Tony Banks at the grand piano would sound just as at home on a Rachmaninov Piano Concerto. This all changes after about 1 minute, to a rich, haunting chord pattern played on what is probably a humongous church organ. This, coupled with Peter Gabriel's voice and lyrics set the theme of the song very artistically. The format of the song is very much classical, with a brief flute solo interlude, followed by an epic fanfare/reprise of the opening introduction tune, and then, out of nowhere, comes one of rock's most divine guitar solos from Mr. Steve Hackett. The amazing guitar exercise is absolutely sublime and again cannot be described with words. With the help of a Les Paul guitar, a volume, fuzz and reverb pedal, Steve Hackett manages to craft the most heartfelt, haunting guitar portrait Genesis ever created. Enough about this track! Let's move on. Next track is 'The Cinema Show' A trademark Steve Hackett guitar introduction brings us into a warm, happy melody with mellotron, clean guitar and Peter Gabriel's articulate vocals. It tells a Romeo and Juliet type story with references to older mythology (Father Tiresias - Greek?). Now, this song succumbs to one of my favourite prog elements - something I call the 'self indulgent descent' where the vocals stop and the remaining bulk of the song tails off into a very talented display of musicianship - in the form of an incredible instumental piece which only seems to serve the purpose of showcasing everybody's musical talent (see also 'LADY FANTASY' by 'Camel' and '21ST CENTURY SCHIZOID MAN' by 'King Crimson'). They need not! We have already witnessed such things! An excellent suite - Perfect Genesis moment. Now we have a break from that epic progressive sound. We have here a quaint little song called 'I Know What I Like' which is a pop-lengthed story from the point of view of a lawnmower eating his lunch on the bench. Fun little song - Nice little break from prog epics. This doesn't last long though... As we now have the quintessential, seminal, magnum opus of a Genesis song. 'Supper's Ready'. The song needs no introduction, go read a review of the album 'Foxtrot' to find out about this track. All I will say is that it is another fantastic mega-suite of 5 or so songs welded together to form one of the best musical journeys EVER. Definitely a definitive progressive rock track, up there with 'Echoes' and 'Close To The Edge'. 'The Musical Box' is another fairytale-esque suite. Opening with jangly guitar chords and warm, angelic Gabriel vocals. This is another brilliant story/journey very similar to 'The Cinema Show' but in my opinion far better. Genesis' first example of the pompous, massive, epic music writing they would do time and time again. The song changes quite a bit near the end - it sounds like a completely different track once it has finished, and contains the most unforgettable climax you will ever hear! Amazingly exhilarating song after the first 5 minutes - evolves into a quirky tale of a man's lust, combined with a nursery rhyme! Dramatic irony! The album concludes with the dramatic, dangerous and early track 'The Knife' which is an oppressive, fascist sounding marching-speed song with a strict tempo and haunting staccato organ riffing. This I believe is the perfect length for a song, clocking in at just under 9 minutes. It is a very early example of Genesis' music, and although staple members Steve Hackett and Phil Collins are not present, it is still a great piece of music with good musicianship and now revamped recording quality. I think this disc is by far the most varied and dynamic, representing and evoking: humour ('Counting Out Time'), sex (Carpet Crawlers), grandiose (Firth Of Fifth), love (The Cinema Show), quaintness and average life (I Know What I Like), mysticism and religion (Supper's Ready), lust (The Musical Box), and fear (The Knife).

Right, I'm finished! Give this collection a go and see which period in Genesis' fantastic, eventful history you enjoy most (I pray for your sake it be the second half of disc 2 and all of disc 3!) Thanks for reading! [Any comments or feedback on this review please e-mail me at [email protected]]

Publius | 4/5 |


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