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Genesis - Selling England By The Pound CD (album) cover

SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

4.63 | 2924 ratings

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Publius
5 stars Here's my two cents. This blows Close to the Edge out of the water! Come on, this is much more digestable, intereting prog music. And while some rear their heads at the fact that it's only around 90% prog, I think this is important in making a prog record. This album is intended to be listened to in one session, unlike the disjointed (yet still undeniably great) Close to the Edge. This is sort of a semi-concept album which doesn't stick to the theme all the way through the record (a lot like the later 'Duke' album). Dancing with the Moonlit Knight: I've said it before and I'll say it again. Genesis really knew how to open an album. And they do it just as well as they did with their previous albums with this excellent song. It really is sheer genius from everyone involved. Peter's lyrics are very cleverly written, using wordplays and references to British lifestyles (the whole quintessentially English thing is strongest here). Steve Hackett's wonderful energetic tapping is amazing and Tony Banks can't get enough of the good old Melltron Choir. An amazing prog song with some great solo spots. I Know What I Like: is a very very good single! Come on, you know you like it (and you like you know it...errr...) It has an excellent simple melody and a cool, fun bassline. It still retains the quaint English sound which we know and love. Fun and not taking itself too seriously, its a nice relief. Firth of Fifth: A staple prog rock track! One of the best ever, with an epic and I mean EPIC in the most epic sense of the word intro played on an acoustic grand piano. Listening to this track is a lot like listening to a piece of classical music (thus making it the pinnacle of symphonic prog). It does, however, have the worst lyrics on the album. They're disjointed and weak, often embarassing (cancer growths removed by skill, anyone?) but they don't detract from the musical beauty of the song. We do of course have the staple Steve Hackett solo which is without a doubt the most beautiful and fluid of his career. An amazingly slow, emotional study using a light fuzz with lots of bass at the neck pickup of his Les Paul is what we are rewarded with for getting thus far. Amazing beyond words. More Fool Me: Is a pleasant relief. This album follows a pattern: ABABABAB (not Abacab!) which is; epic, relief, epic, relief, epic relief, epic relief. I like this format, and the relief tracks are very pleasant. More Fool Me reminds me of the later 'Ripples' with Phil Collins' melancholy and remarkably ethereal voice singing out over a beautiful acoustic guitar track. Quite a haunting track when listened to properly. ie, sit down, turn it up and concentrate. The Battle of Epping Forest: Ahhhh, the controversy. Some hate it, some love it. The band themselves have a split view of it. A lot of people say Peter sings over all of the good bits, but I think that's the idea. Still, the musical side (which is very quirky and sometimes doesn't seem quite right) is very complex and multi-layered. It stretches to just under 12 minutes, making it the longest track on the album. Oh yeah, and I like it. I think its excellent and has many brilliant musical moments. The narrative style vocals are hilarious and embarassing at once. But this is a good thing! A song which can evoke many different emotions at once is quite an achievement. After The Ordeal: A very strange song. It sounds like chamber music to start with, and its layers develop and intertwine with each other to produce a very strangely enjoyable instrumental Hackett-inspired track. The Cinema Show: The absolute pinnacle of symphonic prog. Divided into two halves. the first half is a mellow, acoustic ballad with some fantastically dynamic injections of woodwind from Peter Gabriel and angelic electric guitar from Steve Hackett. Then it ups and changes into the best piece of prog music EVER WRITTEN. A showcase for Tony Banks' ARP Synthesizer (something of a knock-off of the minimoog, which developed character of its own), this part of the song weaves a beautiful picture with Phil Collins marvellously dynamic and professional drumming, Mike Rutherford's excellent rocky rhythm guitar (and eventually his cool bassline), and Tony Banks keyboard department including his ARP Pro, Mellotron choir and some Piano thrown in for good measure. This truly is the majesty of prog and cannot be denied. Aisle of Plenty: is the final 'breather' track. It reprises the theme of the opening track along with a relatively large amount of wordplay for such a short (1:30) song. A nice ending to the album. The best prog album to date. Unbeatable. Genesis rule prog. Yes don't. But they're still good

Cheers! Publius

Publius | 5/5 |

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