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Genesis - Selling England by the Pound CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.64 | 4296 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars This is one of the most beloved albums in the Genesis canon, so surely there's no need to add another review?

Let me just point out that, in my opinion, this is virtually a perfect album. It sounds considerably cleaner and more sophisticated than its predecessor, FOXTROT, but not TOO clean (which must be the main drawback of TRICK OF THE TAIL). And although Peter Gabriel's puns sound embarrassing at times, SELLING ENGLAND is full of unforgettable lines, declaimed with just the right amount of theatricality, e.g.:

- There's a fat old lady outside the saloon!

- 'I do my double-show quick", said Mick the Prick, fresh out the nick.

- When poor, 'twas salvation from door to door, but now, with a pin-up guru every week, it's Love, Peace & Truth Incorporated for all who seek...

There must have been a few punks who got annoyed when former English 'public school' (i.e. private school) boys tried to sound like 'East End Heroes' (especially since a few years after the release of SELLING ENGLAND, Ian Dury and Madness were to delight the public with authentic Cockney accents) but I, for one, will happily carry Gabriel's lyrics with me to the grave.

The most mysterious track on this album must be 'Cinema Show/Aisle of Plenty' - especially that beautiful passage where twelve-string guitars are paired with wordless vocals. A true controversy recently raged on this site when one prog-lover complained that 'Cinema Show' was spoiled (for him) by Gabriel's irreverent mention of a 'chocolate surprise'. Oh well, perhaps it will help to bear in mind that 'The Cinema Show' is a light-hearted parody of the dour love-affair described in T.S. Eliot's 'The Waste Land' (complete with obligatory references to the blind seer Tiresias). I simply adore the way Gabriel enunciates the words: 'With head held high and floral tie'...

And what other rock band would have ended their masterpiece so eerily, combining references to 'deadly nightshade' with a menacing recitation of bargains in a local supermarket?

fuxi | 5/5 |


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