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

SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

4.64 | 4213 ratings

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The Dark Elf
3 stars A flawed gem from Genesis. Not a step up from 'Foxtrot', but more prolific and varied in regards to long-form compositional excellence (and a continuation of that trend from "Supper's Ready" on 'Foxtrot'), with masterpieces like "Dancing With the Moonlit Knight", "Firth of Fifth" and "The Cinema Show". The "Firth of Fifth" in particular is one of the band's greatest compositions, and the piano intro is stunning. Filled with clever analogies, allusions to mythology and superb musicianship, this triumvirate of songs marks the apex of Genesis' songwriting collaborations.

"I Know What I Like (In My Wardrobe)" and "After the Ordeal" are pretty standard Genesis fair, fair-to-middling tunes which clutter any number of their albums. 'More Fool Me' is a foreboding omen of later Genesis albums (sans Peter Gabriel) that have Phill Collins singing moony pop love songs, although the triteness of Collins sentimental journeys was still several albms away, and the song retains its homely appeal.

But the rambling wreck of "The Battle of Epping Forest" (which wastes almost 12 minutes and accounts for 20% of the total album time) is the only deterent in rating this album higher. The eccentric (some would say inane) composition represents the depressing trend that continued on 'The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway', wherein the second half of the album is marred by excessive nooodling about to no end in particular, with any good musical idea abbreviated as if Peter Gabriel were an absent-minded bee flitting about from flower to flower and forgetting the nectar. As another reviewer noted previously, if had been the length of the equally silly "Harold the Barrel" (at under 3 minutes), it would have been a forgivable flight of fancy, an eccentricity that those who enjoy Peter Gabriel would find acceptable. Unfortunately, it is a giant pink elephant squatting on an otherwise superior album.

The Dark Elf | 3/5 |

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