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Genesis - Foxtrot CD (album) cover

FOXTROT

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

4.61 | 2530 ratings

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Dayvenkirq
3 stars I tried. I swear I tried. I gave that album a year or two. Then I was listening to it while playing "World of Warcraft" (no matter how insane this may seem to you.) It worked for 'Musical Box' and 'The Return of the Giant Hogweed." It did not work for anything on "Foxtrot", and this is what I have come up with - a lousy three.

The first time I heard the intro to 'Watcher of the Skies', I thought: "That is a one freaking tight intro." I did not care for what followed it and gave the song four stars. But time went by and I became more mature about the matter of critical evaluation. I did not like what followed that intro. The main body of the song is so devoid of emotion and taste no matter how much Peter Gabriel would scream. The screaming just seems to be in the wrong place. I didn't like the way Peter sung those lines: "Co-onve-entio-ion chi-ildre-en, hu-uman's sake!" What is this? And I don't like his embarrassing sense of humor: "Fo-or no-ow the-e li-iza-ard shedded its tail; this is the e-e-e-end of man's long union with ea-ea-earth." It doesn't do anything for me, but it may do something for you. And I couldn't care any less for the "complexity" of the song (4/4 + 2/4 or 6/4 or whatever; I have trouble discerning alternating meters from a single truly weird meter.) Why? Because the song is not entertaining at all, as opposed to, say, 'The Battle of the Epping Forest', which has so many delicious melodies and ways of working with that 7/8 meter. Yes, that's another major problem with the opener of "Foxtrot" - it lacks good melodies. And the ending just doesn't move me at all. Nonetheless, it's not very bad. It's more like a three than a two.

'Time Table' is one of those many tracks that are historically insignificant. Nor does it work very well on the emotional level. That melancholy just doesn't do enough for me if that's what it is. The melodies are half-dead. At least the mood is there and the chorus is just a wee-bit convincing. But it's not very bad. Oh! Do you remember that intro to 'Firth of Fifth'? Mark the complexity of that thing. You can say just the same thing about the intro of 'Time Table.' One sounds like a recycled version of another, doesn't it?

'Get 'Em Out By Friday' is by far the worst offender on the entire record. The music is lousy because it's dead and I don't feel anything from it. Maybe the focus is on the lyrics? Maybe. Actually, it seems that the essence of this song lies in the lyrics. But the lyrics suck too. I don't know anything about real estate speculation, and the way Peter Gabriel is educating us in this matter is nothing short of boring and futile. Do I really have to struggle that hard to get the song? And it lasts for eight minutes. I find it such a torture.

'Can-Utility & The Coastliners.' The title sounds like a name for a match between two soccer teams or a contest between two bands, which it's not. The first third of it is cute, but boring and insignificant. The second third, however, is nothing but real dynamo. The last third is classic Genesis, with Tony Banks doing some nice noodling on his keys. But in general, the whole thing does not sound like a crowd-pleaser, even if it actually is. If you asked me what is my favorite part, than it's the last five seconds of it. Not because the song is over, but because I like the music in that time range.

'Horizons.' I don't know anyone who would argue that this instrumental sucks. It's very classical, in the style of Bach, although I like Steve's melodic sensibilities better than those of the "great." And Hackett's playing style is remarkable with those harmonics and the two-finger arpeggio-strumming technique. It's difficult to play, but the outcome is very promising, somewhat moody. I did not want to go overboard with a five, so as not to lie to myself about the quality of the composition. Four is enough. Maybe 4.5 will do.

Ahoy comes almost-everybody's favorite, the mastodonic 'Supper's Ready.' Gee, what can I say about a piece that lasts 23 freaking minutes long? It has a poor flow from one musical idea to another on some occasions, not to mention the fact that I'm used to having instrumentals rather than songs sown together. Also, some of its flaws are musical, some are lyrical, yet this considerable amount of flaws cannot push the track's overall grade of four back to three.

a) 'Lover's Leap' is a love song, and I'm allergic to love songs unless the music, including vocal delivery, is enamoring, which it is in this case. I also like pretentious and meaningless symbolism, believe it or not: "Six saintly shrouded men move across the lawn slowly. The seventh walks in front with a cross held high in hand. And it's . . . ". I really like the way Peter sung those lines. ***

b) 'Guranteed Eternal Sanctuary Man.' Granted my knowledge that this band was influenced by King Crimson, they obviously ripped off one of the latter's titles. How about '21st Century Schizoid Man'? Rings any bells? That's just silly. The music is OK.

c) 'Ikhnaton and Itsacon' is one of my personal favorites of this "suite." I like the guitar and the keyboards. Simply delicious and, on some occasions, dynamic! They really blow that fuse at 6:34. ***

d) 'How Dare I Be So Beautiful' is a really bad butcher that contains perhaps the words lyrics Peter has ever come up with. Usually I ignore the lyrics if the music is really good and grabs my focus. Unfortunately, this section is not the case here. But that is not to say that I don't like the music. I think I would really enjoy if Peter just didn't sing on that bit. **

e) "A flower?" Yeah, 'Willow Farm' isn't something to be taken seriously. So, sink your teeth into Peter Gabriel's idiosyncratic and healthy sense of humor. "The frog was a prince. The prince was a brick, the brick was an egg, the egg was a nose!" "[With a hilarious voice] And then we change you into a human being, huh!" Awesome. ****

f) Along comes another one of my favorites. I don't really know to which section the guitar-keys-and-flute-driven interlude really belongs, but who really cares. I really like it. It's better than the silly 'Coastliners'. As for the main body of 'Apocalypse in 9/8', it's nothing short of entertaining. It sometimes has some keyboard parts in 4/4 dubbed onto the relentless rhythm in 9/8, which is pretty clever. But none of it really matters if you mark the dynamo of the whole section. Man, how I wish Phil Collins' drums were much louder at the 17:14-17:15 time range! However, I do really like the way Tony Banks cleverly put together that chord progression for the triumphant breakdown of all things, though I do think it sounds better on piano than on the Mellotron. Also, I really do think that the band did a much better job on the relentless dynamo and repetition of the second half of 'Cinema Show' than on the 'Apocalypse'. Nonetheless, I like this section for Banks' competent keyboard noodling and, yes, for the relentless repetition and little dynamo that give this section a good drive. ****

g) The last section is a brief, but dynamic, rehashing of the first two sections. This is like the fifth time I'm saying this: don't mind the lyrics! Enjoy the vocal and the dense instrumental tension that closes the "suite." ****

To sum up, the whole thing is a mess as well as a crowd-pleaser, but only if that crowd is full of exclusively Genesis fans, mayhaps.

Ratings/comments (if you have to ask):

'Watcher of the Skies' - ***

'Time Table' - ***

'Get 'Em Out By Friday' - *

'Can-Utility & The Coastliners' - **** (a rather weak four, but good enough)

'Horizons' - ****

'Supper's Ready' - **** (I'm being generous here and give this song-composition a four for its overall grand spirit of entertainment that makes the track the best song on the album.)

Stamp: "I like it." I kid you not, I actually do like the album for the sufficient amount of its potential, even though it does sound like I've really butchered it.

Dayvenkirq | 3/5 |

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