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Genesis - The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway CD (album) cover

THE LAMB LIES DOWN ON BROADWAY

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

4.31 | 3374 ratings

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Neo-Romantic
5 stars Given that this album has received a large number of detailed song-by-song reviews, I'll break from my established model here and merely state why this album as a whole is an indispensable entry and critical achievement within the Gabriel era Genesis canon. This was the third Genesis album I ever had the pleasure of hearing (the prior two being Foxtrot and Selling England by the Pound, respectively). It was immediately apparent to me that this was not only a huge departure from its predecessors, but a project largely directed by Gabriel. The fact that this was the last album he recorded with the band was in no way a surprise to me. It's almost as though he knew he was growing tired of being in Genesis and wanted one last chance to flex some creative muscle before his departure. This album was all that and more.

Conceptually, the story follows the main character Rael as he is forced into a strange world vastly different from his native place, New York City, and encounters and battles the sinister forces both in his new environment and within himself. As strange as the story may be, this is an exceptionally strong narrative. Reading the story ahead of time does help though, I will say. I didn't do so until before my third listen, and it really did make the album easier to track and brought new insight into each tune that made me ultimately enjoy them more. Hat-tip to penguindf12 for your review which serves as a wonderfully informative yet accessibly concise guide for the story. I strongly encourage any listeners to give it a look who are unfamiliar with or had a difficult time deciphering the narrative. Actually, even if you do feel you have a handle on the plot, I'd encourage you to look at it anyway. You never know what another listener's perspective can offer in illuminating this intricate story.

This album is exceptionally strong on all levels. Musically, each song and instrumental passage flows very well, segueing seamlessly into one another and balancing the introduction of new ideas with the recollection of familiar motives. The variety between each selection makes a strong justification for its overall length, and giving the listener something every now and them to remind them of where they've been prevents the legitimate concern of "can you sustain a concept for over 94 minutes without seeming like you're just making stuff up after a while?" from cropping up. And even though you I feel you need to experience the album in its entirety to fully appreciate each section, some of the more substantial songs themselves serve as benchmark selections from the band. "The Carpet Crawlers" is one of the most beautiful, calming songs in all of progressive rock that paradoxically still has a lot of energy and drive, and the images evoked by the narrative are simply stunning, augmented by the graceful instrumental work and Gabriel's most stunning vocal delivery in my opinion. As I already stated, I could rave about how much I love each track, assess its own unique merits and contributions to the album, and dissect each one's technical elements, but in the interest of not getting bogged down in a monolith of a review, I won't. What I will say, however, is that each one offers something special, and each listener will likely have their own favorite moments. Mine personally is "It" as of now, but only by a hare and that may change someday, as this is an ever-evolving album with a significance that increases and changes as I do and as I hear it more. But let me tell you, no mater what doubt you may have about the album while you're listening, stick it out to the end. You'll be rewarded with one of the absolute conclusions to a narrative album ever crafted. Possibly even the best. The energy brought by this song is beyond anything the band has ever done in my opinion.

Is this a difficult album to get in to? Honestly, it is. It's not for the impatient, the casual listener, or even the easily disturbed, as this is a very dark narrative, dealing with some very heavy issues that go beyond each song's lyrics. It's difficult to explain, but anybody feeling lost, up against circumstances beyond their control, faced with a decision of living in the past or taking a risk on something new and different, faced with having to make a sacrifice to escape your present circumstances for the possibility of a better future, or who has been in any of these situations before will undoubtedly resonate with the story at least to some degree. These are only a handful of the difficult realities expressed within these lyrics. If you make that abstract connection to your life (as I did), it will surely take on a profound new meaning and transform this from an interesting story to a triumph over adversity and an anthem of redemption. And even if you don't make that connection, I have no doubt you will still find reward in what each song and passage of this compelling tale has to offer.

One of my favorite aspects of Genesis has always been their ability to stimulate all my senses and enable me to conjure up such powerful images within my mind each time I listen to their albums, and this one takes that strength to new heights. I've never experienced a more concrete narrative in any album I've ever heard, and that transforms the listening experience into something so much more powerful and meaningful than I can put into words. "Only a magic that a name would stain." With great risk comes great reward, and in this case, Genesis gave sound validity to this sentiment. A true masterpiece in every way, and for that I reward this album 5 stars without hesitation.

Neo-Romantic | 5/5 |

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