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Genesis - Foxtrot CD (album) cover

FOXTROT

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

4.61 | 2505 ratings

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Starette
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Don't let the three-star rating put you off, I do like this album but the rating comes more out of sheer disappointment than anything. In comparison with the surrounding Genesis albums of it's time, this one just doesn't have the same innovative melodies and composition- the type to strike one with awe. It comes as a bit of a surprise..a BAD surprise after what most other people have told me in their opinion ("Supper's Ready is the best song ever!" etc..) However this album does have it's strong points, despite its apparent lack of energy in the melody-section. The rhythms, the beats, the different time-signatures (and yes, I'm pretty much referring to the same thing here) in some certain songs, which I will highlight later, are probably the most inventive thing about this album.

Watcher of the Skies: Though the intro seems to go on a bit, this is a fun pop-song with a very 'atmospheric' beginning. The complex beat of the bass-line once we really get into the song is quite catching. The voice, melody and lyrics are 'happy feel-good' style ("From life alone to life as one, Think not now your journey's done.") Could this be the album in which they let their mind relax and soak in pop? However- one must admire the funky guitar and organ solos. The melody thumps and repeats like an over-used anthem. The song ends rather depressingly, in contrast with the overly optimistic tune of the whole thing, with Hackett's guitar-whine and then a very solid, banging chord.

Timetable: A really CUTE piano solo to start with- reminiscent of my own little sisters practising in the next room. Then Pater Gabriel sings and the piano changes to block chords. Sure this is a bit of a pop-song but it does have its good points, such as it's complex chordal progression and melody. Even the dynamics (loud to quiet) around the chorus give it a nice touch. The lyrics could be better.in the verse they aren't so bad but the chorus just seems heard before, many a time. (Eg: "Why, Why can we never be sure till we die or have killed for an answer?") Sounds like the kind of thing that I'd write if I were trying to hit some kind of sublime moment but just couldn't make it.

Get em out by Friday: This has a very catchy beginning but I think the organ running up the keyboard after each electric guitar strum is more annoying than enjoyable. Then the organ bangs chords reminiscent of 'Giant Hogweed' and the bass-work in the background is very snazzy. But Peter Gabriel's voice.could be better. He seems to be sadly lacking in strength. However acting is seen in the changing of his accents: the story being of tenants who are kicked out of their flat/apartment. "Oh no, this I can't believe. Oh Mary, they're asking us to leave." I love the flute in this. The story of the song matches the changing of tune as it depends of the changing of moods due to which character is represented by Peter Gabriel. Depression and Stress- the flute is my favourite tool to bring emotions out here. Probably my favourite line: 'This is an announcement from Genetic Control: "It is my sad duty to inform you of a four foot restriction on humanoid height." A sexy guitar solo from Hackett leads to a complete change in the tune and we're stuck in a gentle meditation.Flutes! Then back to thumping organ and previous melody The ending is ethereal but a bit too much like that of 'Watcher of the Skies' for my liking.

Can-Utility and the Coastliners: This has beautiful guitar-work at the start but I can never remember it when I think of the name of this song.which is bizarre, because the verse is just plain cute in the melody but when he sings "For from the north overcast ranks advance, fear of the storm accusing with rage and scorn." the melody becomes deeper and is gorgeous. Things get even better when Hackett strums and Collins drums pick-up and the mellotron builds up, altogether. Gabriel sings and we're lead into this great organ solo- gaining adrenaline again. Then the bass flicks like mad and a high organ (how typically early Genesis) dances away. then GUITAR! (Progitty-prog-prog indeed. It's great when the song changes so suddenly like this.) What's wrong with Peter Gabriel?! He's not at his best in this whereas the other musicians certainly are. A catharsis occurs at the end with all band members contributing: "See a little man with his face turning red, though his tale's often told, you can tell he's dead."

Horizons: This is a gentle guitar instrumental, good enough for putting the babies asleep to. Anyone heard a certain Irish folk-song called The Currah of Kildare? I used to sing that when I had a celtic harp (Alas- I don't anymore.) Anyway, I SWEAR Hackett heard that at least once and it came back to him in the composition of this. I say this even though it's music which is apparantly 'borrowed' from Bach or so Hackett said himself.

Supper's Ready: aHA! A twentythree-minute epic from Genesis that almost everyone seems to love and yet it's not what I expected. It's definitely a love-song at the start, and some say it's based on a certain event in Gabriel's first marriage in which his wife believed she was possessed. As is the case with twenty-minute epics, this is divided up into different sections. Lovers' Leap: "And it's Hey babe, your supper's waiting for you. Hey my baby, don't you know our love is true." My mind is divided on this one. I am a woman and I love Progressive rock. I get f***ed-off when people point out that prog is a very guy- thing so therefore I'm an odd creature. The fact remains that not all women are the same and I resent always being placed in a particular 'category', so to speak. I'm pointing this out here because this is a prog song and a very *blatant* love song. If you think of such other prog love-songs, such as 'Cinema Show' for example, the desirable object of the singer is not sung to so directly as here in Supper's Ready. As a woman, it's somewhat comforting to have this change- the reason being that women do tend to want just *some* romantic attention in a relationship.otherwise it's just not stable enough to them. (Somebody..save me.) But as a moderately devoted Genesis fan.this change just doesn't do it for me. If the subject matter is love then being blatant kills the feeling a bit- I prefer poetic subtlety: 'Cinema Show' takes the cake! The guitar changes at "It's been a long, long time. (spoken) Hasn't it?" Then they all sing, using their voices as instruments (and I mean "Aah!"s) and the keyboard joins in with the building up of the guitar- which is a precursor for 'Cinema Show' in what it does. The Guaranteed Eternal Sanctuary Man: "You, can you see he's fooled you all.." sounds rather 80s, don't you think? Collins picks up with an amazing beat on the drums and, all of a sudden, Peter Gabriel's voice is in much better form. Ikhnaton And Itsacon And Their Band of Merry Men: Children's voices! They're chanting.but whatever they're chanting.I do not know. And I HOPE you don't either- otherwise I believe I'm missing out on something essential here. An eerie chord plays.mixing with the little kiddie's voices so it sounds quite spooky, then (MY FAVOURITE!!) a flute and guitar duet play the starting tune with the keyboard to back them up. Gabriel sings with great animation "Wearing feelings on our faces while our faces took a rest, we walked across the fields to see the children of the West." and the organ dances away- building up adrenaline again. Genesis sing altogether "The fight's begun, they've been released, Killing foe for peace.bang, bang, BANG!" so again it's anthem-style singing, less authentic than the usual Genesis style but we all need a pub-style manly-man-man song once in a while. Hence 'Twilight Ale House'! Ooooh- an eargasmal (sorry- had to fit that word in here somewhere) fast-driven guitar from Hackett with Bank's keyboard in the back play a melody which is copied later after they sing! This gradually sinks down to delicate strumming. How Dare I Be So Beautiful?: Eeriness again with the synth playing slow chords, each with a slight crescendo, as Gabriel half-whispers and half-sings the melody. Probably the scariest lyrics are herd here (not that it's *easy* to hear them): "A young figure sits still by a pool, He's been stamped 'human bacon' by some butchery tool, (spoken) He is you." Once again , as is the case with Genesis' lyrics, Greek mythology is seen at this point- as he mentions Narcissus...then the immortal two words: "A FLOWER?" Willow Farm: smash, smash, Smash, SMASH "If you go down to Willow Farm." This is the bit that everyone loves to sings along to as it's so off-the-top. It's got fairytale conventions, history.general craziness. In my opinion- it's meant to be what comes out of the mind of a very imaginative, if not extremely deranged, child. "The frog was a prince, the prince was a brick, the brick was an egg, the egg was a bird." Now some English midget says "Fly away you sweet little thing, they're hard on your tail!" and WHO IS THIS ENGLISH MIDGET??? I have a strange feeling it's Tony Banks but I *could* be wrong. This section is a deep contrast with what we've heard so far. Then a whistle blows. ALL CHANGE!: Different singing solos from everyone- it's very clever actually so it must be admired. Apparently "Dad diddley office" "Mum diddley washing" and everyone's "full of ball." You'd think Willow Farm was trippy enough, but no. What does this mean? Some kind of satire on the typical nuclear family? Watch out for the up-down plucking of the guitar- which we first hear at the end of Willow Farm. Tell you one thing though- this bit definitely reminds me of the circus. A long guitar strum down and the keyboard retains its riff then and echoing electric guitar come out of nowhere like an alarm. Apocalypse In 9/8 (With Gabble Ratchet): Twinkling guitar and flute duet, but this is a different melody from what we heard before. It's lullaby-like and very gorgeous. It repeats about four times round then the guitar and drums pick-up while Peter Gabriel brings us back into a fantasy world: "With the guards of Magog, swarming around, The Pied Piper takes his children underground." The organ is probably at its peak here. Afterwards, the flute takes over. Then we find ourselves in a constant army-march beat, I guess you could call this the climax of the song. "666 is no longer alone, he's getting out the marrow in your back bone," A mellotron comes down and bells are heard! The two melodies from the start are heard again- the first being "And it's hey babe." As Sure as Eggs is Eggs: And the second being "Can't you feel our souls ignite?." However these tunes are much more smashing than the beginning, as is the case with the end of a rather long song. Don't get me wrong, this IS a good epic from Genesis but ,unlike The Battle of Epping Forest/ The Music Box/ Dancing with the Moonlit Knight, these different sections just don't melt into one another. Willow Farm is great but it's like a streak of red on white when matched with the rest of the song. To me, good prog is when a song has time-signature changes, melody-changes and etc. But if the theme changes.well.it can get a tad too pretentious for my liking. Especially if the different sections have titles that are a little *too* off the top. (As sure as Eggs is Eggs? Come ON Gabriel!!) All these changes in tone seem to suggest..what? Intimacy after a bad LSD trip?

1971= a damn good Genesis album. 1972= a damn experimental and NOT so good album: This one! 1973= a damn LEGENDARY Genesis album. In conclusion I'd have to say that this album has its strengths, and Phil Collins is definitely at his best- what with the awesome beats that we hear. The tune that really matches my desire is Can-Utility and the Coastliners. However, this album is lacking, definitely not in creativity, but in the intricate melodies. Their minds seemed to have melted in the generic pop-realm, yet oh-so slightly, when they put Foxtrot together..Foxtrot? Where on earth does 'Foxtrot' come from??? I can't say the name of a crappy old jazz dance attracts me that much. Genesis could do better! And they did. Oh they certainly did.when Selling England by the Pound came round the next year.:)

Starette | 3/5 |

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