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GENESIS

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

2.71 | 879 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Genesis' 1983 studio has me asking the question, are they trying to essentially restart their career? Most would think with a self-titled album that this would be the first Genesis album based on that rationale but in reality this was their eleventh studio album and their fourth as the three man lineup consisting of original members Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford and drummer/vocalist Phil Collins. Where Abacab had faults in its unispired and mediocre pieces, Genesis (the album) makes up for it with a stronger and more modern musical and lyrical sense that would take them straight into their next mega successful album in Invisible Touch. I guess it really all comes down to whether you can stand a pop album with progressive tendencies rather than a progressive album with pop tendencies.

The album opens with the harrowing and atmospheric synthesizers of the albums biggest hit, Mama. It's a pop number by and by but it's probably one of the best they did in the studio with Banks really hitting many perfect atmospheres and Collins' passionate and aggressive vocals come off nicely and despite it being hated by most Genesis fans I quite like it. That's All is another commercially oriented song (in fact, I heard it on the radio and inside a store I went to today, so it's still being played) and it takes off where songs like No Reply At All off of Abacab left all. The rather simplistic musicianship is coupled with a simple song structure but the song has an exceedingly catchy main melody courtesy of Tony Banks. Home By the Sea/Second Home By the Sea is definitely the most progressive thing on the album, with both songs being intertwined and connected through various themes. The first part starts promising with power chords hammered from Rutherford but quickly it becomes a keyboard oriented affair with minor emphasis on the guitar and bass. Collins' vocals are once again passionate and aggressive and yet they have a melodic edge as well. The second part is where things get groovy, with a sprawling instrumental work in the vein of Duke's Travels off of their 1980 album Duke. The majestic keyboards from Banks combine well with the crisp drumming from Collins and the consistent guitar work from Rutherford and blend into a masterful instrumental (although there are lyrics towards the very end) that when coupled with the first piece make a great 11 minute epic.

And that's where all the really good songs end, the rest of the album is a mixed bag of decent and mediocre pieces. Illegal Alien is often hailed as the worst Genesis song ever written along with Who Dunnit?, and I don't really see why to tell you the truth. Sure it isn't a great song but I don't think Genesis have ever written a song that I have out right hated. It's a bit of a boring piece that goes on a bit too long, but it's nothing that I can say I hate. Taking it all too Hard is a more mellow piece with some nice guitar arpeggios from Rutherford and some catchy drumming/percussion from Collins. It's the shortest piece on the album and it's not that bad actually, a nice counterpoint to the bland Illegal Alien to say the least. Just a Job to Do is a more upbeat piece musically, as there's a fast tempo and the drumming from Collins is great. Although Banks' keyboards here range from decent to almost inaudible (the guitars really come into their own on this piece), there is a sense of insistence in Collins' voice on this piece that redeems any faults. Silver Rainbow is one of my least favorite pieces on the album, don't ask me why. It's a bland piece musically that doesn't really go anywhere or really even evolve that much within it's relatively short timeframe. The same can be said about It's Gonna Get Better, which closes the album. Sure the introduction has some promise with a nice keyboard oriented melody line and the droning bass synthesizer notes, but I don't really feel it reaches any peak or climax and it meanders around the same theme for 5 minutes than show any true invention.

In the end, the self-titled Genesis album is a pretty good one. There are no songs I truly dislike, but there are some that I would have done a bit differently and don't really sit quite right with me. It's an improvement over Abacab, but I don't think it can even really compare with their previous albums. 80s Genesis is a completely different animal than 70s Genesis, so if you're willing to take a journey down this avenue of Genesis' career, along with Duke you may find some enjoyment out of this one, just beware of the many direct pop influences and references. 3/5.

Cygnus X-2 | 3/5 |

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