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4 stars One of the few Genesis singles my father purchased throughout the eighties. The thing you must know about my dear old dad is that he is very much like the guy from American Psycho. No no, he doesn't chop up hookers for the sheer fun of it. Nah, he just came onto Genesis when "Duke" and Phil's solo album, "Face Value", were making a big splash. (Which is also why we have the "Misunderstanding" 45' too.) However, unlike Patrick Bateman, my pa simply never heard of Genesis beforehand and quite liked a lot of music off "The Lamb ". Don't worry he didn't find it too artsy either.

But let's not get too off topic talking about trivial things such as our parents music tastes. (I'm kidding) "Mama" is a great late period Genesis epic that is pretty unfairly despised on PA. One of the creepiest songs the band ever produced, "Mama" is filled with a great aggressive vocal delivery courtesy of Collins, a unique interplay between the Rutherford and Banks' bass and keyboards, and one of the greatest uses of drum machines ever. The chugging, intensive rhythms helps set the base for the menacing atmosphere that begins to build when Phil starts to sing. And oh lord, Philly Cheese-steak's scary "HA HA"ing once kept me up all night as a pre-schooler after hearing it. Wow and to think I must have been the only kid on the planet who was afraid to go to bed because he was wetting himself over the thoughts of the menacing and all powerful Phil Collins. Great song though. It's definitely one of the few 80's Genesis songs that even Gabriel worshipers should check out sooner or later.

The B side of the single is actually a rarity and is fair game for completionists. The version of "It's Going to Get Better" on Genesis' self titled album is actually a shortened version due to time constraints. Now, I know most fans aren't really clamoring for a longer version of this particular song but in my opinion, the shorter version is weirdly edited. The "Genesis" version has only one verse! At least, this longer one makes some sense in comparison. Anyways, aside from it's rarity status, I kind of like the song. It's nothing substantial and a tad sappy but compensates it's flaws with a warm, relaxing atmosphere

Quite a worthy single to have simply for the rare track. I suppose that's all I can really say about two tracks other then buy it cheap.

Report this review (#293899)
Posted Monday, August 9, 2010 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
2 stars 'Mama' - Genesis (Single)

Having declared that the studio itself was now an instrument for the band, Genesis proves that point with this single. It is generally accepted that while the band may have been at their commercial peak during the 1980s, they had lost alot of the charm and appeal they once had when Peter Gabriel was fronting the group. While their self-titled album was an uninspired disaster in my books, 'Mama' was one of the few songs on that album that seemed to stand out from it's peers in terms of quality and attractiveness.

While certainly not matching up to a truly 'great' Genesis track by any stretch, 'Mama' is one of the better tracks from this era in the band's career. Here, Phil Collins' trademark drum technique can be heard; not necessarily in the way he plays, but in the way it is translated in the studio. The song (a martial, percussive anthem) is driven by the drum track; engineered to sound like nothing would be heard in nature. To some extent, those who are familiar with industrial music might hear something familiar with the sound here. Admittedly, the track does build up very well, going from a single rhythm into a somewhat epic finale. However, over the course of the seven minutes, the musical theme remains more or less the same, which leads to it being a track you won't necessarily want to put on repeat.

The b-side here 'It's Gonna Get Better' is more or less forgettable. There are interesting instrumental arrangements in sections, however the apparent 'chorus' of the song is not catchy or interesting in the slightest, defeating the purpose entirely.

Certainly not a slice of the band's career I would want to use to introduce someone to this group, but compared to alot of the other material Genesis did under the front of Phil Collins, this is the lesser of two evils.

Report this review (#294109)
Posted Wednesday, August 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars 2 song single from later-day Genesis. "Mama" and "It's Gonna Get Better". "Mama"- I always considered this to be a remake/copy/ clone whatever...of the Phil Collins tune "In the Air Tonight". It's not a terrible track, and may be considered one of their better works from the post-DUKE era of Genesis. 3 stars. Would be more except it last too long and wears out it's welcome after a few listens. "It's Gonna Get Better"- Phil Collins pop-Genesis. Though this is better than some of the other material from the same period. 1 star. Pretty much a wash. So, overall I would rate this release just 2 stars, and both songs are already available elsewhere so why bother?
Report this review (#300114)
Posted Wednesday, September 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Two tracks from the eponymous Genesis album (1983). First the flip side: 'It's Gonna Get Better' is a pop ballad and one of the most frogettable songs on the album, quite repetitive if I remember right. But 'Mama' is an extremely intensive song I would call a classic. Built on a heavy drum machine rhythm, it weaves a nightmarish atmosphere. Phil's frantic "HA-ha...ha... oooh" shouts are awesome. Also the doomy synths are unlike anything else Genesis have done. It still worked pretty well in their concerts this Millennium.

I'm not sure if the protagonist (the final lines are "no no, don't go! Mama mama don't go!") is meant to be a fetus in mother's womb, but that's the image I get. And it begs her not to go to the doctor to kill him. Frightening! Interesting to think that the same band (but with a very different line-up) did 'Knife' in 1970.

Report this review (#661736)
Posted Saturday, March 17, 2012 | Review Permalink
2 stars My review is for the 12" version of this single, which has the two extended versions of both songs.

Maybe it was in September or in October of 1983 that one cousin commented to me that Genesis had a new song played on the radio. A few days later I listened to that song, "Mama", on the radio. I was very surprised (and I am still surprised!) that a song like that, full of "dark" and "sinister" lyrical and musical themes could be released as a single. I really did not like the song, and I still don`t like it. It still sounds to me like music for an horror movie with all those musical atmospheres created by the keyboards, the guitars and even the drum machine and the real drums. And the vocals of Phil Collins are really a very good reflection of the content of the song. The extended version has an extended final section in comparison to the album version. A one star rating for this song.

The "B" side has the extended version of "It`s Gonna Get Better", a much better song than "Mama", for my taste, and it really is another sad song in that mostly "dark" self-titled album from 1983. The difference with "Mama" is that this song, despite having lyrics about loneliness, still reflects some hope. The extended version has an additional last verse which was not included in the album version of this song. This extended version was played during the tour for that album in 1983-84, which also added a very good lead guitar part played by Daryl Stuermer at the end of the song. Maybe the live versions are better than this extended studio version, but this studio version is good. A three stars rating for this extended version of this song.

An indication of the lack of inspiration that GENESIS as a band had for their self-titled album was the lack of extra songs not included in the album and to be released as "B" sides of singles. Even the "Calling All Stations" album (which in my opinion is another candidate for their "worst album ever") had some extra songs which were released as "B" sides of singles.

Report this review (#1147353)
Posted Thursday, March 13, 2014 | Review Permalink

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