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Genesis - We Can't Dance CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

2.66 | 1353 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
2 stars 'We Can't Dance' - Genesis (4/10)

Although a general consensus among prog fans is that 'Invisible Touch' was Genesis' lowest musical point, I have to say that I really enjoyed that album. Although it obviously touched nowhere near the same glory as the band's early output, it was by all intents an intelligently written and tastefully performed pop album by my standards. Especially when compared to the rather dreadful self-titled album, I never understood why 'Invisible Touch' was so brutally panned, but with its follow up 'We Can't Dance', I can somewhat see both sides of the story. While there is a small handful of good pop tracks on this 1991 album by Genesis, the album is an overly long, plodding mess of gentle ballads that really shows the line blurring between the band's output, and Phil Collins' solo material.

The first two songs on 'We Can't Dance' are both memorable pop tracks that I remember vaguely from my childhood. 'No Son Of Mine' starts out in perfect Phil Collins canon, and could very easily have fit on any of his solo albums, though while it doesn't give me the impression of a legitimate Genesis track, it is a very well written track. It begins slowly, but with the chorus, some rock is thrown in, and the melodies stay strong throughout; at times melancholic, but filled with hope, as much Collins material is. The song takes a surprisingly long time to build, but that is to its benefit; it is a less immediate track than I may have expected. 'Jesus He Knows Me' is a much poppier track, but still quite good and nicely upbeat, despite some ironically twisted lyrics about psychopathy and delusion.

Sadly, although 'We Can't Dance' starts off as a fairly good pop album, it goes downhill fast. I was hoping for 'Driving The Last Spike' to be a refreshing jolt from the pop, and maybe even a song that brings the album up an artistic notch. Genesis obviously tantalizes their listener with the prospect of a prog piece with this song's nearly ten minute length, but sadly it does not deliver. Although there is an interesting and promising theme of ghosts and people dying while building the railway (prog rock has a tendency to border on the morose), the song is a very ambient and rather harmless piece that feels like a ballad that got stretched out about six minutes too long. Besides the rather humorous but unpleasant grumbler 'I Can't Dance', the rest of the songs follow this sort of musical formula; being focused highly on Phil Collins' rhythms and Phil Collins' voice. Not too surprisingly, the album turns out much like a solo project by the band's drummer, although it is probably not as bad as some of the more puritanical proggers out there may testify it to be. The music here is generally very mellow, but the music is generally intelligently arranged, and there's still material here that is worth a few listens, although there is nothing on the album that leaves much of an impression.

'We Can't Dance' is not a horrible album, but the latter two thirds of the album are viciously dull, and the music seems to lack the energy that had me really like 'Invisible Touch'. Bordering on ambient music at times, this is still pop music we are talking about, but- to give the band some credit- there is a little more going on here than most of what might get tossed on the Top 40 radio, any day.

Conor Fynes | 2/5 |


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