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Genesis - Foxtrot CD (album) cover

FOXTROT

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

4.61 | 2380 ratings

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Progosopher
5 stars Though this is my least favorite of the classic PG-era Genesis albums, I cannot give it anything less than five stars. The quality and impact of the music is unquestioned. Most of the songs do not grab me personally, and Hackett's presence is relatively subdued. There are few standout moments and few good solos. Rather, the album comes as a consistent whole; the songs represent a full band approach at almost all times. All the classic characteristics are here: intricate arpeggios, high drama, intelligent lyrics, great playing, etc. In place of solos are what I would call extensive instrumental passages. No single individual is prominent for long, but the sections always move along well with plenty of passion and feeling. Every song itself is a classic, not the least of which is Supper's Ready, one of the greatest of all prog epics. Sonically, it is much better than its predecessor, Nursery Cryme. Clearly, Genesis is progressing as a band, and this is good to hear.

For decades I had a cassette tape of this album, which a friend generously donated to me sans Get 'Em Out by Friday. The album was just too long. Indeed, it times out at over 51 minutes. No one could fault the band for not giving their fans their money's worth. The recording quality of that tape was not the best, but the music always was. Now I have a copy of the Definitive Edition Remaster. The sound is so much better of course, but I find it odd that I do not hear any new dimensions to the music. Everything I hear on this new version I also hear on my old tape, which to be honest is a little disappointing. Really, though, there is no cause for complaint. Foxtrot remains a great album, and the improved sound is definitely a step up.

The subjects of the songs are definitely not butterflies and bunny rabbits. Get 'Em Out is about forced eviction. Watcher of the Skies represents quite a mystical view, while Time Table questions the conceit of entire civilizations. Can-Utility and the Coastliners is about hybris. And what is Supper's Ready about? Many things. One characteristic of it is it contrast between the grand and the mundane. Its apocalyptic scope is inextricably connected with the intimate. I mean, after Apocalypse in 9/8 runs much of its course with lines like "666 is no longer alone," we get references to "Sweet rock and roll," and the utterly ironic, "And it's hey babe, with your guardian eyes so blue/Hey my baby don't you know our love is true." Nothing monumental means anything without some connection to the individual. All great stories are best told in terms of the people who occupy them, who make them happen. This is a theme that actually runs throughout the entire album. Supper's Ready is not only the climax of the entire album, it represents almost everything else the rest of the album is and then some. But don't listen to Foxtrot just for that one track. Listen to the rest of it as carefully and you will be well rewarded. Absolutely, unquestionably, beyond a shadow of a doubt, essential Prog. I think that should be clear.

Progosopher | 5/5 |

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