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Genesis - Selling England By The Pound CD (album) cover

SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

4.64 | 4053 ratings

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Open-Mind
5 stars "Selling England By The Pound" by Genesis is one of the greatest masterpieces of the prog rock, that even the prog haters can deny it's uniqueness, and it's lyrical & musical power. While the Genesis fan club is always busy with the question "What is the best Genesis album?", the album have contained a mount of compliments from every possible way, and became a music milestone of modern progressive rock.

"Selling England" has two leaders: Peter Gabriel (lyrics) & Tony Banks (music). The other three - Collins, Hackett & Rutherford have contributed a lot to the final result: Steve Hackett added new guitar inserts, Mike Rutherford have enriched the acoustic flavor if the album, and Phil Collins even sang in one of the tracks (More Fool Me), but Peter Gabriel & Tony Banks are definitely the maestros of this orchestra. While Banks wrote here some of his best composings, Gabriel have given a big artistic capacity to the record with the smart & honed texts, that he built throughout the years. When the two learned to work together, the final piece have entered the world prog pantheon.

The first song in the album ("Dancing With The Moonlit Knight") is a Gabriellic lamentation on modern Britain, and the changes it passed in the 60's & the 70's. Gabriel, with his special voice, is using his high rhetorical abillity and his perfect english accent to criticize the turn of his country from a social welfare country to a capitalistic free-market country. The name of the album - "Selling England By The Pound" - is taken from one of the songs, when Gabriel took this line from the Labour party election campaign.

So we have smart lyrics & brittish texts on the one hand, but on the other - what's really good with "Selling England" is the fact that you can really be impressed from the album's quality without even understanding what it's really about. "Moonlit Knight" has some of Genesis' greatest moments: the musical structure is evolving in a progressive way, building heights and breaking them at the end - just like a simphonic poema or a suite; the record sounds incredible, aspecially in the "Remastered" version (which i've purchased some days ago). The great guitar work by Hackett emphasizes the Rock-N-Roll side by Genesis, but not forgoes the symphonic production, lead by Banks, a big fan of Bach.

A very important piece in the album is "Firth Of Fifth". (track no. 3) The piano solo act at the beginning can be written as one of the great achievements by him. It was so great, actually, that even Banks himself had difficulties of playing it live, and in some part he gave up. Although even Banks admitted the text of "Firth" it is very hard to understand (A poetic attempt to create a comparison between the flow of water in the river, to the flow of music, while dealing with the time dimension), the composing & the production are so accurate, that the text is almost marginal. The flute solo by Gabriel, escorted with a beautiful solo act by Hackett defines the greatness of "Firth" and early Genesis.

In conclusion, comparing to other Genesis albums, "SEBTP" is in high spot, mainly between 1 & 2. It is true that "Foxtrot" is a competitor, because of "Supper's Ready", but not all of the tracks there are special like these one. "Nursery Cryme" is also brilliant, without a doubt, but it's production can't really beat "Selling". "Selling England" is one of the best prog albums, that really have re-defined the genre and put high standarts, and it is unmissable till today. It is recommended to take a look at Gabriel's lyrics, and to enjoy the humor & irony of it, with the excellent music, rich polished productions that took the prog music to another level, and really influenced a generation of musicians. You can't get anymore Brittish & Prog than that. 5 stars.

Open-Mind | 5/5 |

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