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Genesis - Foxtrot CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.61 | 3431 ratings

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5 stars Ahh Foxtrot. Without a doubt my favourite Genesis record. This album has pretty much everything going for it in terms of prog: the fancy gatefold cover, the amazing 23 minute album closer, the complex time signatures, the lyrics that could be described as pretentious. Upon listening to the album, you can hear that the band had expelled most of the quaintness that made songs like 'For Absent Friends' and 'Harlequin' less memorable than the longer more aggressive songs on Nursery Cryme. To start with the album artwork is one of my favourites, where you can stare for minutes just trying to work out the story behind it (surely worth getting the vinyl for this!).

-Watcher of the Skies- The album starts (rather progressively) with a 2 minute mellotron solo. This droning solo definitely needs a few listens before being fully appreciated as part of the song. At around the 1:40 mark, Collins and Rutherford slowly fade in with an extremely complex sounding 6/4 groove. In fact, I first heard this song on 'Genesis Live' and the studio version has a much higher tempo. When the band are all at equal volume, Gabriel starts singing. Whatever its about is anybody's guess. The vocal section is very tight, and there are no significant instrumentals. In fact it is rather repetitive, and until you listen to the song very carefully, it is hard for the mind to work out the structure of the song. After the vocals have ended at about 5:50 the band sets into one of the most wonderfully orchestrated outros I can think of, reprising the opening theme. All in all a fantastic opener, and definitely an underrated Genesis classic.

-Time Table- After the frantic, though structured, chaos of the opening track, Time Table is definitely one to calm down to. At only 4:46, one might imagine that this song wouldnt be too progressive (although it can happen!). This very acoustic song seems to conjure up images of medieval knights. The song has a very simple structure, verse-chorus-verse-chorus. The second half of the song is essentially a copy of the first, with different lyrics. A very cute song, although nothing particularly special to remark.

-Get 'Em Out By Friday- Now Genesis decide to turn the prog up to the max. From the first 10 seconds, you can tell its gonna be one of those sort of songs. Time signatures and mood changes abound. However this song is much more interesting than your average eight and a half minute prog song for one very simple reason: it has a cohesive story! Indeed, one of my favourite things about Genesis songs is that some of them have a very carefully considered (and comical) story. This song is no exception, with Gabriel singing of an evil Council Housing company known as Styx Enterprises. A very enjoyable track indeed!

-Can-Utility And The Coastliners- Probably Foxtrot's best kept secret. Upon first inspection the song seems too short to be of much worth, but in fact it is very interesting and unique. A song about the king Canute, the instrumental which takes up most of the song (from 1:45 to 4:56 with a very brief lyrical interlude to spice it up) is without a doubt very progressive and rather unpredictable. This song seems unmemorable, but is in fact extremely worthwhile. A good song to dip into on occasion.

-Horizons- Side 2 of the album starts with the very brief Horizons, an acoustic guitar piece by Hackett. On one level, it is quite pleasant to listen to. However this song feels totally out of place on this album, and leads me to wonder why they included it at all. Apparently Hackett himself was surprised that the band allowed him to include this on the album. This song, much like 'Clap' on The Yes Album, feels like it should have been included on a solo record.

-Supper's Ready- If you're like me and get excited when you see that a track's length is over 20 minutes, you will probably listen to this first. This track is definitely one of the pinnacles of progressive rock, with very little to fault it on. If I'm being fussy, I'd say it doesn't have quite as many odd time signatures as I'd like (although the famous 9/8 section is definitely enough to satisfy any hunger) and in my mind, the ratio of quiet parts to loud parts is a bit too high; they could have been more aggressive. As it stands though, this is one of the best examples of epic symphonic prog ever. The song is split into 7 sections, and these sections sound like individual songs by themselves, although with recurring themes. Do not expect to like this song on the first listen. I found that I only truly enjoyed this song after understanding all of the sections individually. Some of the parts grow on you quicker than others, like the comical 'Willow Farm' with hilarious lyrics and interesting vocal interplay. The 'Apocalypse in 9/8' section is also an amazing example of Tony Banks' keyboard wizardry. So much can be said about this song, and its legacy in progressive rock history, but I will leave it by saying that Supper's Ready is definitely Genesis' magnum opus, and one of the best progressive songs of all time.

And there you have it. If you think that Genesis were just some cheesy pop group from the 80s, you will have your opinions turned upside down by this album. It may not be 100% perfect, but to rate the album which sports 'Supper's Ready' along with classics like 'Watcher of the Skies' and 'Get 'Em Out By Friday' anything less than 5 stars would not do it justice. Required listening.

baz91 | 5/5 |


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