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




Symphonic Prog

4.64 | 4354 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Well, we have about 80% of the site proclaiming this as one of the best, one of five or so quintessential prog records, one of the "deserted island" albums, so to speak. The other 15% doesn't like it too much, and there's people like me, who fall uncomfortably in between, recieving flak from both sides. This record, much like ITCOTCK, just doesn't impress me that much. Also like ITCOTCK, I find this to be amazing when it's on, and horrid when it's off. When ITCOTCK was off, it wasn't quite abysmal, besides the last 9 minutes of Moonchild. Simply mediocre. This, however, is absolutely abysmal when it's off, and much more of it is off than on than I'm confortable with.

I had a mini revelation the first time I heard Dancing With the Moonlit Knight. This song blew me away, and instantly, I saw what the fuss over Genesis was all about. Or so I thought. The rest of the album, besides Firth of Fifth and The Cinema Show, which both impressed me, did nothing for me. The Battle of Epping Forest was one of the most overdone songs I'd ever heard, and it still remains that way today.

Let's start with the bad: Four of eight tracks, actually. Aisle of Plenty is a waste of time, and More Fool Me and I know What I like are simply poppy love songs. As for the fourth, it's The Battle of Epping Forest, which is, as I said, one of the most ridiculously overdone pieces ever to grace the genre. 12 minutes of meandering wannabe-cute and funny songs with nary a memorable moment or melody to be seen. Gabrei'ls singing has never been particularily good in my opinion, but here he makes it even worse by fiddling with all kinds of stupid accents and dialects, and the output is atrocious. Already, half the album is skip-button worthy. Not a good sign.

As for the good, it certainly is good. The worst of the good tracks (if that makes sense) is After the Ordeal, featuring floaty instrumentals and wonderful touches here and there, and is overall a nice relaxing piece to listen to. Compare it to Lady of the Dancing Water off King Crimson's album Lizard. A really nice piece.

Another good one is Firth of Fifth, which is basically a kinda cheesy yet delightful example of the whole genre. It opens with a a nice, flowing piano part, then opens up into a very cheesy chorus section. At aorund 3:30, the flute comes in, and I love this part every time I hear it. It's a wonderful melody. The solo at around 6:00 minutes in is absolutely wonderful and complements the flute part quite nicely. At the end, the song is wrapped up in the cheesy main chorus again, which somehow works quite well to finish the song. The actual outro is a piano melody. Nice.

The Cinema Show starts good, then goes pretty good, then excellent, then pretty good. The soft part around 3 minutes is absolutely wonderful, and the jam from 6:00 to the end is also quite fun. I really dig the groove Collins has going here. The rest is kinda like Firth of Fifth's chorus line...cheesy, but acceptable.

My favorite piece is my revelation piece, though. Dancing With the Moonlit Knight has actually GOOD singing by Gabriel. The solo is fun, even though it drags a bit. The outro is great, and the whole piece just is definitely excellent. Not much I can think to say, really.

Well, since only four of the eight songs are acceptable to me, that means I should give this a 2.5/5. I'll round that off to a 3/5, as some moments in this album are excellent. However, the excellence is far too scattered. Oh, the production is also extremely incosistant, even for the 70s.

FishyMonkey | 3/5 |


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