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Genesis Genesis album cover
2.79 | 1438 ratings | 102 reviews | 7% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1983

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Mama (7:25)
2. That's All (4:23)
3. Home by the Sea (4:52)
4. Second Home by the Sea (6:20)
5. Illegal Alien (5:13)
6. Taking It All Too Hard (3:55)
7. Just a Job to Do (4:45)
8. Silver Rainbow (4:28)
9. It's Gonna Get Better (6:25)

Total Time 47:46

Line-up / Musicians

- Phil Collins / lead vocals, drums, percussion, trumpet (5)
- Mike Rutherford / guitars, bass, Linn LM1 drum machine (1), backing vocals
- Tony Banks / keyboards, backing vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Bill Smith

LP Charisma ‎- GEN LP 1 (1983, UK)

CD Virgin ‎- GEN CD1 (1983, UK)
CD Virgin ‎- GENCDY 11 (2007, Europe) Remastered by Tony Cousins, mixed by Nick Davis

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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GENESIS Genesis ratings distribution

(1438 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(7%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(20%)
Good, but non-essential (38%)
Collectors/fans only (24%)
Poor. Only for completionists (10%)

GENESIS Genesis reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
2 stars Side 1 gets three stars as the two Home By the Sea tracks do remind you of Duke and their earlier works, but do not get your hopes too high , it is only hinted at with lenghty instrumental passages. It is of course a bit cruel for them to remind us if it , since the other vinyl side is not anymore worthy than Invisible Touch or Abacrap. The opening track and monster hit Mama however is completely unexpected and unlikely pleasant as is the short track That's All supposedly based on the Beatles's Rocky Rackoon.

But side 2 is just as bad as ABACAB so just one star for an average of two stars for the whole album. Potentially the most irritant Genesis track ever is Illegal aliens and its horrendous MTV videoclip.

This album is also reffered to as "Shapes"can hold some interest to fans but they would have to be confirmed fans. Progressive contents are around 15% (IMHO) but higher than any other 80's & 90's Genesis album past Duke.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Built on sand?

With this album, Genesis pulled in the reins and reverted in part to the style their traditional fan base expected. "Home by the sea" ranks as one of their best, and most progressive tracks, with superb keyboards in particular from Tony Banks. Nominally two separate tracks, the second part being "Second home by the sea", it is in reality a 10 minute track which ranks alongside the band's better known classics.

The opening track, "Mama" has a menacing feel, a bit like a darker version Phil Collin's first solo track "In the air tonight". While the track was commercial enough to become a major hit single for the band, it retains sufficient credibility to stand alongside other Genesis singles such as "I know what I like", and "Follow you follow me".

The other track which I particularly enjoy is "Silver rainbow". While it has a fairly lightweight feel to it, the structure is slightly more complex than the pop songs Genesis had moved towards, with some excellent keyboard work around the choruses.

There are certainly a number of lighter tracks with leanings towards singles, but all in all, one of the better post Gabriel and Hackett era Genesis albums.

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This record is better than the previous one "Abacab". Compared to "Duke", the varied keyboards are more in the foreground and they really participate to the rythm. The guitar is very rythmic too, and there are electronic drums parts. The songs are catchy and very pop and accessible, and it is surprisingly well made. All the instruments are well balanced together and the songs are rather loaded. It is not progressive, although "Home By The See" is not a pop song. "Mama" and "That's All" were big hits in the 80's.
Review by daveconn
4 stars It's hard to begrudge the band making more commercial music when it sounds this good. GENESIS the album went triple platinum and produced some of the more memorable hits from 1983 and 1984: "Illegal Alien","That's All", "Mama", "Taking It All Too Hard". Sure, it's not far removed from Phil COLLINS' solo music (which some folks were getting sick of), but as a trio their sound is denser, richer. Credit Tony BANKS' keyboards for keeping the arrangements substantial, from the dark touches on "Mama" to the epic instrumental "Second Home By The Sea".

Personally, "Duke" is the last GENESIS album that I really connected with, but of the work that followed this is my favorite. True, "Illegal Alien" is just silly (which undermines whatever social message Phil may have had in mind) and "It's Gonna Get Better" is shallow idealism, but the band still shows some bite in "Silver Rainbow" (one of my favorite cuts on here) and "Just A Job To Do". Where "Invisible Touch" seemed bitter and "Abacab" eclectic, their eponymous album feels polished from beginning to end. With so much top-shelf material, a lovely ballad like "Taking It All Too Hard" (which recalls ".And Then There Were Three") doesn't have to carry the side, instead serving as a respite before an edgier cut like "Just A Job To Do".

Since the band had taken to crediting the whole group (all three of them) for songwriting, it's hard to know what exactly Mike RUTHEFORD contributes to the final product. His guitar work is muted on the album (as is Phil's drumming to some extent), with the vocals and BANKS' keyboards driving most of the music. This does give GENESIS a gauzier texture than "Abacab", returning to the "humid" sound of the band's first two albums as a trio. The difference here is how clean and precise the music is, which costs the album some humanity while placing it on the cutting edge of production value for its time. If any late-period GENESIS album is going to win over converts from the band's "classic" period, this is the one to do it.

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars Really I can't understand all the noise some fans make about Mama, it's a repetitive, boring and forgettable song. The screams at the end of this aberration are really annoying, almost as a shout from a wounded animal.

Illegal Alien is the worst piece of "music" Genesis released (well, maybe Who Dunnit? is even worst), the only decent songs are Home by the Sea and Second Home by the Sea, without being good or prog', this tracks are not as bad as the average of this album

The rest of the album doesn't deserve any comments, just another chance to play Phil Collins boring soft ballads with Genesis as session musicians.

If you're a prog fan, avoid it by all means if you're a die hard Genesis fan, better choose another album. I give 1 star because of the two songs previously mentioned and not 0 stars as I believe it deserves..

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It's gonna get better and mama are terrific songs which negate all criticism to the contrary. I love mama, Home by the Sea, Just a Job to do and It's gonna get Better. yeah genesis went more mainstream and commercial. So frigging what? All of Collin's solo's have been worth it bar Both Sides. I think this album exposes the frail Prog Rock tendencies of aspiring fans. Wake up...Prog was dying out at the time and Genesis milked it with creative wonder. I am glad for one my hangovers endured to make my memories worthwhile. Thanks Mama!
Review by Guillermo
1 stars The best songs in this album are "That`s all" and "It`s gonna get better". "Mama" and "Home by the sea/second home by the sea" are like soundtrack music for an horror movie. "Illegal alien" is offensive and it seems that it took 10 more years to Phil Collins (I don`t know if Rutherford and Banks are aware of social problems) to think about "Both Sides of the Story". "Silver Rainbow" has an interesting arrangement in the first verse only."Taking it all too hard" is a ballad, not too bad. "Just a Job to Do" has interesting drums. It seems that this album was more a contractual obligation that an album planned for real creativity. This is their worst album. They recorded a better album for 1986 ("Invisible Touch").
Review by slipperman
2 stars 2-and-a-half stars, if we're splitting hairs.

Beginning with a song that is alien in comparison to the rest this album, and indeed one that stands apart from any other Genesis song, 'Genesis' gets off to a bizarre start with "Mama". Dreary, mechanical, brooding and at times psychotic, "Mama" is an early climax on an album that suffers from a lack of cohesion and way too much filler. "That's All" rests on an almost country-rock bounce. It's simple and harmless, but it doesn't stick (in fact, it sucks). It's not helped by the weak synthetic drum sound, Tony Banks' feeble keyboard sounds, and the general streamlining that shaved off a lot of this once- great band's most enticing elements. Rounding off the first side is "Home By The Sea" and its coda, "Second Home By The Sea". In some ways this is classic Genesis, but only in terms of their post-'70s output. A poignant lyric is further lifted by Phil Collins' emotional delivery, and the composition is masterful. Flip the record over and you've got an uneven batch of tunes to grapple with. Up there with the worst of the worst Genesis, "Illegal Alien" is a dud, utterly awful stuff marked by tacky lyrics. It's bouncy, goofy, lighthearted, a total 180-degree turn from the frightening album opener. "Taking It All Too Hard" is the kind of stuff Genesis started coming up with all to easily, stuff that would dominate their next two albums. Throwaway FM-lite radio material, clearly nothing remarkable. Next is the infectious "Just A Job To Do". I know Genesis fans hear this one differently from person to person. I've always found it hard to dislike. There's some quality rhythmic syncopation from Collins and Michael Rutherford that helps propel this odd bit of white funk. "Silver Rainbow" is next. Its dark momentum and ghostly vocal melody meshes with the compressed synthetic '80s production to become a perplexing song at worst, and an '80s-era Genesis high point at best. Underrated and worth a reinvestigation if it didn't hit you the first time, it sadly doesn't develop as far as it should, repeating the ethereal chorus lazily until the fadeout. "It's Gonna Get Better" is an easy one to dislike, marked by dance-y momentum and new-wave-ish production ethics, but Banks' hypnotic keyboards give the desperate Genesis fan some scraps to hang onto. Interestingly, this one comes off much better live (check out the version of the 'Genesis Archives #2' box).

I wonder why they self-titled this album. It's hardly definitive Genesis, and it doesn't represent any kind of creative high-point in their career, so maybe the album title-like the poor artwork--is due to lack of imagination? As a follow-up to the promising reinvention of 'Abacab' it doesn't hold up. It's less of an "album" album and more a bunch of songs thrown together--some good, some awful. Unusual for a band who previously made huge journeys of their albums, but par-for-the-course for a band reaping commercial rewards and enjoying their newfound less-is-more approach.

Review by NetsNJFan
2 stars 1983's GENESIS is one of Genesis's weaker releases, and is in contention to be their worst album. It is plagued by uneven material. About half is good, while the rest is radio ready pop dribble, worse than their usual pop forays. It is clear, since 1981's ABACAB Collins' was taking a larger role in the song writing, as many of these songs are indistinguishable from the drummer's solo work. Oddly, this is guitarist Mike Rutherford's favorite album, showing not only Collins was to blame for this mush. One of this album's problems is it is given a shiny pop sheen by by producer David Hentschel (..Police, etc.), and this greatly weakens the better compositions, by watering them down for radio.

The album opens strongly with Mama, a very dark, haunting track, which mainly features Collins' drum machines, in a similar fashion to those he used on Peter Gabriel's SECURITY album. His maniacal vocals and laugh are also quite entertaining. This is a very good track, and at this point, it is the best fans could hope for from Genesis. Many consider Mama to be a bit repetitive, which it is, but this adds to the slowly building effect. The album goes downhill quickly from there. That's All is pure pop, and sounds nothing like Genesis. It was a major hit in both the UK and US. I detest the track but will admit it is catchy. Next we "take a trip into the other world" as Collins says on the live versions of the tracks Home by the Sea/Second Home by the Sea. Home by the Sea is pleasant Prog-pop with very good lyrics and mediocre music. It is executed well though. Second Home by the Sea is the scraps Genesis is throwing to their old fans, in the form of an instrumental. It simply isn't very exciting though. It sounds like a watered down version of Duke's Travels/Duke's End off of DUKE. So ends side one. Side two is much worse, featuring four bland pop numbers and one good pop number. Illegal Alien, along with Who Dunnit? From ABACAB is one of Genesis's dumbest songs. Many find its attempt at humor about illegal immigrants offensive. Taking it All To Hard is Collins' solo pop, with Genesis as studio musicians. This is the point when Genesis began crediting everyone for composition, so it is difficult to tell who wrote what, but this is pure Collins' rubbish. Just a Job to Do is also unremarkable pop, but was a moderate hit in England. Silver Rainbow is the only good track on this side, and ends much too soon. It is very dark, with heavy drums and oppressive music. The chorus is excellent, despite some annoying synthesizers. The album ends (thankfully) with It's Gonna Get Better, - more boring pop. Note: this album doesn't 'get better' with repeated listening, don't even try. This song comes off much better live, and can be found on the GENESIS ARCHIVE (Vol. II 1976-1992).

This is a boring album, and marks Genesis's complete break with progressive rock, and is their most commercial album. To be fair, this album is undeniably catchy (in an insidious way), and was the best pop of the 1980's. GENESIS is also their first platinum album, and was a #1 album in the UK and reached # 9 in the US. Genesis's creative bankruptcy is apparent in the lack of a real title for this album, calling it the eponymous GENESIS. Due to the exceptionally inconsistent material, this album earns 2.5 stars. This album is only recommended to Genesis completionists and fans of Phil Collins' solo work. (4 Stars as a 1980's pop album, 2 stars as a prog album).

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This album brings good memories for me as this was released at the same time when the ground breaking "So here I am once more .." thing by Marillion was proudly released. So what was it? Where is the connection? There was a very strong connection between this album by Genesis with Marillion's "Script for a Jester's Tear". Some people said that Marillion was heavily influenced by Genesis and people who just known Genesis only know Genesis from this latest release where they are very familiar with "Mama" or "Illegal Alien" which were radio hits at that time when I was in Bandung doing my industrial engineering study. The impact was enormous, you know. Some people who love the new album of Genesis from the radio wanted to have Marillion "Script" album as some references said that Marillion was influenced by Genesis. Some were disappointed because the two are different but some really like both for a variation. That what happened around my surroundings at that time.

Let's talk about this album. Yeah, it's not typical oldies of Genesis like "Selling England" or "Wind and Wuthering" but this album was for me as a reference whenever I wanted to promote the music of Genesis for those who never heard Genesis yet. Usually I went straight to track 3 "Home By The Sea" continued seamlessly to "Second Home By The Sea". 90% of my friends like it at first spin of my cassette (I had no CD at all at that time - too expensive for a poor student like me who went to campus by bicycle or walking). ANd after that usually I brought them to a Genesis cover band Cockpit live show at Gelora Saparua to broaden his listening experience. I then lent him a cassette of Selling England By The Pound. From this entry point, Genesis was becoming popular for my friends. Usually people love "Mama" because it has great and accessible keyboard work by Tony banks augmented with powerful drumming by Phil Collins.

I never consider this album as prog but I have to admit that this album is a very good straight forward pop rock music. My best favorite track is "Just A Job To Do". Why? I'm a workshop faciltator / trainer so whenever I run a workshop and after I give assignment by group for my audience I always play this song to energize the team. It's a very energetic music with medium-fast upbeat tempo and the lyrics are really good and suitable for work team assignment. The other track that I also like is "Home By The Sea - Second Home By The Sea" as I like Tony Banks' keyboard work as well as dazzling drum work by Phil Collins. "It's Gonna Get Better" is a pop song which has a very encouraging lyrics - and this track is another option for running workshop especially when the teams were facing stumbling block with their work / idea. "It's gonna get better ..." is a perfect lyric for the teams, really. "Illegal Alien" is also a good song with an upbeat tempo. I like it.

Definitely, this is not Genesis' best album but it's a very good one to have for a change. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars GENESIS disaster continues...!

Just because "Genesis" was slightly better than "Abacab" many rushed to pronounce the "come back" of GENESIS to their prog roots. But let's face the truth! Even if not so obviously a pop song, "Mama" is basically a recycling of the rhythm patterns from the Collins' solo singl "In the Air Tonight", which for that matter borrowed the drum sound from the phenomenal Peter Gabriel's third album of 1980. "That's All" is a nice, unpretentious song and for me probably the best pop song GENESIS ever produced and that's all! "Home by the Sea" indeed carries certain long instrumental passages reminiscent of the "good old" GENESIS, but is highly overrated especially the second part and becomes boring.

The real horror begins with "Illegal Alien" and stays till the end. Not only this song is musically awful with those terrible synthetic sounds, it is thematically quite annoying and even "politically uncorrect" if you wish. And they even dared to produce a video (where the trio acted like Mexicans in a failed "humorous" set) and hit the charts with this garbage! Like the title of one song says, the whole post-1980 GENESIS career was nothing else but "just a job to do", making easy money by producing worthless music.

Had this album stopped with "Second Home by the Sea" I would rate it 2,5 stars, alas the remaining staff urges me to caution anyone wondering what to do with "Genesis": STAY AWAY for your own mental sanity!

Review by Progbear
2 stars Department of diminishing returns. There are still saving graces here, but it's getting ever more difficult to find them through the encroaching musical crabgrass.

"Mama" is interesting in that it's pretty obviously an attempt by the band at emulating Gabriel's solo style. "Silver Rainbow" and the lovely "It's Gonna Get Better" are fine, and the main song part of "Home By The Sea" is downright excellent. But "Second Home By The Sea" is a nightmare, spoiled by plastic-sounding synths and Collins' seemingly unstoppable quest to make his drum kit sound like a drum machine. The rest of the album is the worst Genesis music yet produced, reaching its undeniable nadir with the downright idiotic "Illegal Alien".

So, it if you can get it cheap, but only after you have their earlier, better albums. And don't say I didn't warn you.

Review by Zitro
2 stars Genesis doing pop. Are they good?

They are not bad. However, why would you want a pop album in a progressive rock collection?

the first side of the album is pretty good. Mama starts the album with its industrial feel, and electronic drums (which sounds powerful). The keyboard riff gives a creepy mood and its bizarre laughs going "HaHAA ... oowwww" are very interesting. That's all is a decent pop number with a catchly riff. However, the riff also sounds a bit cheesy and is overused (even on the weak keyboard solo). Down By The Sea starts as a very good pop song with great melodies, and ends with a decent instrumental. However, the instrumental is very weak by Genesis standards.

The second side is very disappointing. Songs like Illegal Alien really can make you wonder if this is the same band that composed Cinema Show. The melodies are terrible, and the instrumentation is silly. The other songs are unremarkable ballads or pop songs. The only exception is Silver Rainbow which may be the best track of the album. The song itself is not great, but its choruses are what make the song (like in Snowbound). The choruses really shine thanks to their lovely keyboard stabs and outstanding vocal harmonies. As a result, Silver Rainbow is extremely catchy!

Side 1 Summary: A mixture of pop, instrumentals, and experimentation. 2.5 stars Side 2 Summary: A great song plus 4 bad songs. 1.5 stars

Highlights: Silver Rainbow, Mama, Home By The Sea Let Downs: Illegal Alien

My Grade: D

Review by Chicapah
1 stars When the magnificent Duke came out I forgave these guys for the tepid "And then there were three..." album. Unfortunately, the two albums following this mess did not vindicate them. Somewhere in the MTV revolution that was boiling over in the early 1980s a serpent invaded Genesis' Garden of Eden and its name was commercialism. Not that there's anything inherently wrong with that but there's a question of integrity involved in the concept and Phil, Mike and Tony lost theirs on this one and never regained it in my ears. On first hearing, "Mama" is promising in its approach but, tragically, that mediocre offering is as good as it gets for the rest of the way through. I've read where some think "Home by the Sea" is decent prog but we're talking about Genesis here and there's no way I can consider it anything more than a song that goes absolutely nowhere for over 11 minutes. "That's All" "Illegal Alien" "Taking it all too hard" and "Just a job to do" got lots of airplay but it might as well have been Starship as far as I'm concerned. Toward the end of the milktoast "Silver Rainbow" you hear Phil singing something about not knowing if he's "coming or going" and I think that might have been a better title for this poor collection of songs. And even the cover art with its obvious lack of imagination stinks to high heaven! I dearly love Genesis but this one is a total disgrace.
Review by Thulëatan
1 stars From 1983's 'Genesis' onwards, it becomes indefensible to label one of the ultimate bands of the 70s as progressive rock any longer. With this album the trio of Phil Collins, Tony Banks, and Mike Rutherford present little more than shallow pop (i.e. simple and one-dimensional) music not all that far removed from Collins' typical solo work, and even then it is barely listenable pop music.

The intricate textures of old prog are gone, and this is a cleaner but hollow and less friendly quality of performance and production. The recently pioneered (by Phil) 'gated' drum machine is the defining sound of the album and does occasionally add a unique dose of force, but at other times can be quite lifeless and overly artificial. Lyrically, many tracks take on the subject matter of romance and relationships, something the music world didn't really need more of, especially from musicians capable of much more - 'That's All' and 'Taking It All Too Hard' are truly unremarkable, generic songs. 'Mama', a poor attempt at an image of dark and depraved sensual hunger, is just about bearable in its consistency, that is until Phil breaks out into the upper limits of his vocal range and in trying to sing hard just sounds strained and insincere. Even worse, there is 'Illegal Alien', a pointless laugh at the status of an immigrant with Phil singing in full Mexican character - cringeworthy. 'Just A Job To Do' is clearly an effort to make a whole song out of one guitar riff Mike Rutherford had, the result being an utterly incoherent, impotent frankenstein of half-baked ideas, and no discernable meaning to the lyrics. 'It's Gonna Get Better' smacks of the same problem, and while it aims to be an observation on the homeless, the stagnant 'funky' rhythm and Phil's obnoxious falsetto offer neither sympathy nor hope - the track title is self-fulfilling, though, since Genesis could hardly sound any worse than this.

For me, 'Genesis' earns one star for the vaguely progressive leanings of 'Home By The Sea/Second Home By The Sea', with its creepy and almost passionate portrait of an old house haunted by memories that wish to preserve themselves, but even this attempt is flawed by the inappropriate upbeat feel and the incongruity of the dramatic instrumental section. Banks also succeeds in conjuring up some beautifully atmospheric synth sounds here and there, such as at the start of 'Silver Rainbow' and 'It's Gonna Get Better', though these moments feature only briefly before being insulted and overrun by the awful bulk of those tracks. There's precious little to redeem this album, to make it stand out at all from the sea of standard trash.

More than just bad, this is among the worst recordings made by one-time kings, which is quite a feat alongside nightmares like Yes' '90125' or Mike Oldfield's 'Earth Moving'. Their making the album title eponymous can be taken as a firm re-establishing of the direction of the band Genesis, and it is a direction they best travel alone. The good news is that the CD makes a fine coaster (the vinyl, an even better frisbee). Absolutely for collectors only.

Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Genesis' 1983 studio has me asking the question, are they trying to essentially restart their career? Most would think with a self-titled album that this would be the first Genesis album based on that rationale but in reality this was their eleventh studio album and their fourth as the three man lineup consisting of original members Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford and drummer/vocalist Phil Collins. Where Abacab had faults in its unispired and mediocre pieces, Genesis (the album) makes up for it with a stronger and more modern musical and lyrical sense that would take them straight into their next mega successful album in Invisible Touch. I guess it really all comes down to whether you can stand a pop album with progressive tendencies rather than a progressive album with pop tendencies.

The album opens with the harrowing and atmospheric synthesizers of the albums biggest hit, Mama. It's a pop number by and by but it's probably one of the best they did in the studio with Banks really hitting many perfect atmospheres and Collins' passionate and aggressive vocals come off nicely and despite it being hated by most Genesis fans I quite like it. That's All is another commercially oriented song (in fact, I heard it on the radio and inside a store I went to today, so it's still being played) and it takes off where songs like No Reply At All off of Abacab left all. The rather simplistic musicianship is coupled with a simple song structure but the song has an exceedingly catchy main melody courtesy of Tony Banks. Home By the Sea/Second Home By the Sea is definitely the most progressive thing on the album, with both songs being intertwined and connected through various themes. The first part starts promising with power chords hammered from Rutherford but quickly it becomes a keyboard oriented affair with minor emphasis on the guitar and bass. Collins' vocals are once again passionate and aggressive and yet they have a melodic edge as well. The second part is where things get groovy, with a sprawling instrumental work in the vein of Duke's Travels off of their 1980 album Duke. The majestic keyboards from Banks combine well with the crisp drumming from Collins and the consistent guitar work from Rutherford and blend into a masterful instrumental (although there are lyrics towards the very end) that when coupled with the first piece make a great 11 minute epic.

And that's where all the really good songs end, the rest of the album is a mixed bag of decent and mediocre pieces. Illegal Alien is often hailed as the worst Genesis song ever written along with Who Dunnit?, and I don't really see why to tell you the truth. Sure it isn't a great song but I don't think Genesis have ever written a song that I have out right hated. It's a bit of a boring piece that goes on a bit too long, but it's nothing that I can say I hate. Taking it all too Hard is a more mellow piece with some nice guitar arpeggios from Rutherford and some catchy drumming/percussion from Collins. It's the shortest piece on the album and it's not that bad actually, a nice counterpoint to the bland Illegal Alien to say the least. Just a Job to Do is a more upbeat piece musically, as there's a fast tempo and the drumming from Collins is great. Although Banks' keyboards here range from decent to almost inaudible (the guitars really come into their own on this piece), there is a sense of insistence in Collins' voice on this piece that redeems any faults. Silver Rainbow is one of my least favorite pieces on the album, don't ask me why. It's a bland piece musically that doesn't really go anywhere or really even evolve that much within it's relatively short timeframe. The same can be said about It's Gonna Get Better, which closes the album. Sure the introduction has some promise with a nice keyboard oriented melody line and the droning bass synthesizer notes, but I don't really feel it reaches any peak or climax and it meanders around the same theme for 5 minutes than show any true invention.

In the end, the self-titled Genesis album is a pretty good one. There are no songs I truly dislike, but there are some that I would have done a bit differently and don't really sit quite right with me. It's an improvement over Abacab, but I don't think it can even really compare with their previous albums. 80s Genesis is a completely different animal than 70s Genesis, so if you're willing to take a journey down this avenue of Genesis' career, along with Duke you may find some enjoyment out of this one, just beware of the many direct pop influences and references. 3/5.

Review by Cristi
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover / Prog Metal Teams
3 stars The Genesis pop-rock adventure continues. I'll start by admittting that I am quite fond of this album because Mama and Home By the Sea were the first songs I'd ever heard from Genesis back in '88 and I was impressed. Well, I was a teenager then but still to this day, I enjoy these two songs a lot.

Genesis 1983 album is indeed an improvement compared to 1981 Abacab; I don't think I'm making a mistake by saying that the pop songs of Genesis sound much better than the ones on Abacab. And Genesis is a very "catchy" album. Many people called this album "clever pop"; I partially agree, but compared to other 80s pop releases, Genesis albums are far superior IMHO (that's why I call 80s Genesis albums "pop-rock").

Let's see what went well and what went wrong with Genesis 1983: the opener Mama is one of the greatest post-Duke songs, I've always liked Tony Banks keyboards on this one;That's All is a pop track but very enjoyable and catchy (both keyboards and guitar sound quite nice). Home by the Sea and Second Home by the Sea are the highlights of the album; one of my favourite Genesis (trio) songs - it's proggy and the instrumental part is impressive indeed (IMO). Now here comes my problem: the poppy Illegal Alien - it's the song I like least on this album, it's even worse than Invisible Touch (song). Things get a little bit better with Taking It All too Hard, an enjoyable nice ballad and Just a Job to Do - not my favourite but a good pop-rock song. Silver Rainbow is another song I like a lot - again I love the keyboards here. Same situation with the closing track It's Gonna Get Better - nice keyboards. Tony Banks has never ceased to amaze me. It's the only reason I listen to the 80s albums (and 90s) once in a while.

The 1983 Genesis album may not be essential to your prog-rock collection, but still deserves a chance because it's a great pop-rock album. Anyway, the two parts Home By the Sea song is one good reason one should give this album a try - prog-rock fans or not.

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars After such a disastrous album ("Abacab") I really did not expect a lot from this one. I must honestly admit that this album is not really bad. Nothing to say that has not yet being said about "Mama". It is my fave track on this album. "That's All" is quite poppy and in line with what Genesis has produced during these days. The suite "Home by the Sea - Second Home by the Sea" is not bad to listen to although it lacks in melodious moments (like "Firth of Fifht" for instance- where are you Steve ?). It has a long intrumental section but without any feeling nor emotion. It sounds as if the band felt obliged to deliver an "epic" (but failing to do so). "Illegal Alien" & "Just a Job to Do" are the weakest tracks. What's next (from "Taking It All Too Hard" to "It's Gonna Get Better") is not interesting at all. I would only hope that the latter title would be premonitory of better things to come. But this hope won't be realized. This effort will again reach Nr. 1 in the UK (third album in a row to do so) and Nr. 9 in the US. Two stars.
Review by Eclipse
4 stars Also known as Shapes, this GENESIS' release is slightly better than Abacab, since it maintains the pop trend in a wise way, with catchy songs containing interesting melodies and ideas.

It starts with the amazing "Mama", a dark song with dramatic vocals and a very atmospheric instrumental work, with a machine-sound that follows all the lenght of the track. This song is really nice played live, as Phil makes some amusing "faces" during the "ha ha" parts, which looks pretty funny. The next track, "That's All", is very catchy and a good example of how pop music should be. But the highlight is, of course, the two parts of "Home By The Sea". This song makes you grasp for air at its ending, as it is one of the most energetic and interesting epics done by the band. That long instrumental section (part two) is mesmerizing and careful to not be so mechanical sounding, despite the electronic drums used. It is definetely the album's climax, and one of the most underrated experiments by the band. "Illegal Alien", while weaker, is somehow catchy. I once found it offensive and irritating, but the song grew on me with time and i enjoy it now. I don't like the ending part of it, looks like a "pop party" with the vocals so happy, repeating the song's title, which is a strong mistake found on pop music, but that can be forgiven. The ballad "Taking It All Too Hard" is quite beautiful and shows a good vocal work by Phil. The guy definetely works well for singing pop music, even though he sounds a bit like Gabriel here (well, both have similar voices anyway). "Just A Job To Do" is catchy and energetic. The "bang bang bang" parts are very nice, and is another good example of how pop music should be. "Silver Rainbow" is very good, it has a nice intro and it is a short progressive, maybe, number. It is surely not as commercial as the two songs that came before, and has a nice rhythm section. It looks like a sequel to "Home By The Sea". The weak point is that it gets a bit repetitive, but this little detail doesn't destroy it. The last one, "It's Gonna Get Better" has an even nicer intro, and some very soft vocals along with nice instrumental work in the background. It is quite a catchy tune, with an atmospheric keyboard sound along it, which is well done by Mr Banks.

Well, this may not be half as impressive as the albums before Duke, but it is still very good, and i don't care if it is pop, or pop with some prog moments. What matters is that the music here is well done, the guys have put some thought on it, and i hope people start giving more attention to these infamous pop albums GENESIS did on the new decade. They are enjoyable and not to be forgotten. Great work by the guys.

Review by The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars After a poppy yet somewhat entertaining album like ABACAB, Genesis regrouped again to release the album with no name, better known as GENESIS for some fans, "SHAPES" to others, because of the various shapes drawn in the cover (which is pretty ugly, by the way). Did the band make a U-turn back into the progressive-rock business, or did it stay in the pop-radio-oriented course? Well, the answer is they didn't switch roads, they chose to remain in the same path.

But there were some changes. The first one: the use of electronic drums was becoming the norm, not an exception; the second: the studio itself had become a new instrument, a new tool to produce the final sound of Genesis' music. As in ABACAB, the guitar work is weak and the keyboards are used more with the typical 80's "synth" sound than with piano or mellotron sound.

Mama (7.5/10), a somewhat dark, atmospheric song that starts interesting enough, but gets a little repetitive as it develops.

That's All (7.5/10), a pleasant song. Very poppy, but the melody is very pretty.

Home By The Sea (8.5/10), this is a very good song, with good ideas, some thematic invention, some good singing by Phil Collins; it lacks really good instrumental parts a la old Genesis', but that doesn't take away from the fact that this is the best song in the album; near the end the synth takes over and it merges into the next track.

Second Home By The Sea (7.5/10), I've never been a fan of electronic drums, and especially when they are used to play the same pattern... I should praise the fact that this track is almost entirely instrumental, but there really isn't much in the way of themes or great melodies or solos, only a lot of synth and predictable guitar chords. Not bad, but not great. When the vocals return near the end, their reappearance is more than welcome.

Illegal Alien (0/10) I can't believe this exists. First, we have to mention the worst lyrics this side of... well, this side of everything I think. What were they thinking? Did they think the lyrics were funny? Ironic? A sarcastic yet deep comment about being an illegal alien? No, they are just stupid, and if one tries hard to feel it, actually insulting. Second: it features the worst accent ever by Collins. It may be a joke, I know but the accent is just the most annoying thing to ever reach my ears. Third, and final, the music itself: not even decent pop, not even decent rock, not even anything; I'm sure my cat can take a bass and a guitar and play something less childish and amateur that this song. Atrocious. Worst track in GENESIS' history.

Taking It All Too Hard (6.5/10), after the previous song, any mediocre track would sound like a classical masterpiece. It's not really up to that level or anything close, but it's a pretty little melodic tune that won't appeal to hardcore-prog lovers but as a pop song it's quite god.

Just A Job To Do (7/10), this is a decent song, nothing extraordinaire but enjoyable. Nothing progressive. Silver Rainbow (7/10), A minor track, it neither hurts or makes the album.

It's Gonna Get Better (7.5/10) A good closer for the album, with an ambiguous feeling due to the selection of chords in the verse.

Overall, a mediocre-to-good album that in ProgArchives rigid rating system would have to get a 3, instead of the 2.5 it would really deserve. Good as a rock-pop record, poor as a progressive-rock album. In the end, the music is enjoyable, and that's what really matters.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This record has the ability to take me back in time to the early eighties. A time that was not good to the prog genre but it was good for me personally. I had left home in my early twenties and found freedom for the first time. And music played such a big part of my life back then as it does now. I never did own this album, but 4 of the songs I knew quite well from the radio. I had a friend who used to listen to this album, so I heard it a few times at his place.

I used to joke (about ten years ago) that this album was magic, the way it could take me back to this great time in my life simply by putting it on and listening to it. "It's Gonna Get Better" the final track is a good example of this. Those melancholic synths just take me back. This is a hopeful and meaningful song. I always got a kick out of "Silver Rainbow" which is really about being in love. As Phil says "You won't know if your coming or going". "Just A Job To Do" is a good uptempo song. "Taking It All Too Hard" is a melancholic song with words like "Old days are gone, they are better left alone, but I still miss you, I keep it to myself". Sort of how I feel about those days sometimes. "Illegal Alien" reveals the funny side of Mr.Collins.

"Home By The Sea" has some meaningful lyrics that are so heart rending. It's about old people who go to live (die) at this home by the sea. As they remember the way it used to be "Dreaming of the time we were free so many years ago". And wanting to talk to anyone who will listen "Sit down, sit down, as we re-live our lives in what we tell you".The "Second Home By The Sea" is mostly instrumental with lyrics late. "That's All" is a light, airy tune. "Mama" is an amazing song with an almost industrial sounding beat and theatrical vocals. Great synths as well in this ominous sounding tune.

I can appreciate why GENESIS fans dislike this afterall I feel the same way about the albums that came out before this and after this in "Abacab" and "Invisible Touch".This one though is way too meaningful for me to dismiss or rate simply as good.

Review by progaardvark
COLLABORATOR Crossover/Symphonic/RPI Teams
2 stars This self-titled 1983 album shows a dramatic shift in the Genesis sound, partly due to production and partly due to using more digital synths and electronic drums. The songwriting is more on par with the pop rock material Genesis had been experimenting with on the three previous albums. Thus, Genesis turns into a kind of radio-friendly rock band with prog tendencies.

Genesis still has its moments, although they are appearing to be rarer with each new release. Mama must be the darkest song the band had ever made under Phil Collins. It is one of the few songs where a drum machine really fits well and doesn't ruin the song (Duchess from Duke is another). Home by the Sea is a two part suite, although not complicated, shows a nod to their progressive roots. However, I find the electronic drums on part two to be nerve-wracking after repeated listens. Many of us who remember the 1980s probably thought electronic drums sounded kind of cool back then as they sounded like nothing ever heard before. Unfortunately for many us who remember them, music that used them has not aged well at all. And there's a lot of them on this album.

I used to really like this album when I was younger, but today it sounds more dated than the Genesis of the pre-Collins era. Two stars. For collectors/fans only.

Review by The Doctor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars As this was one of three albums that led me into the world of progressive rock (the other two being Abacab and 90125), this album has always had a bit of a special place in my heart. Yet, at the same time, it is definitely one of their least consistent albums ever. The only one which might beat it is WCD. But that's another story. Since this is one of the three albums which led me to progressive rock, I figured what better place to start reviewing albums than here. I give this album three stars, but that doesn't really give the whole picture. If I were only rating side one, it would get 4 stars, and I would consider it essential for any Genesis fan. If I were rating side two, the rating would probably be 1 1/2 stars. Just a little above "for completionists only." The songs are as follows:

Mama - A drum machine pattern and haunting keyboard melody starts what is to be one of Genesis' most intense songs ever, and one of their best songs, IMO. The haunting keyboard melody continues throughout the song, Collins is at his most menacing and gives an evil sounding laugh, which according to the band owes its origins to a Grandmaster Flash song. The drums kick in at just the right moment to bring the song to a stunning climax.

That's All - If you don't know this song, you either weren't alive in 1983, were in a coma, or you were living on Pluto. I think this song even reached number 4 on Mars. Yes, it's a pop song, but a fun song nonetheless. It has a jaunty piano rhythm, which to me is a little reminiscent of the song Trick of the Tail. Of course, the lyrics are a bit more straightforward, but the song to me retains a playful quality that the former song had. And it provides a break after the intensity of Mama.

Home by the Sea/Second Home by the Sea - The epic track on the album, and another one of the group's finer songs. It is split into two parts on the album, and they used to play the first part alone on the radio, but really this song must be heard as a whole to be fully appreciated. A tale of a thief getting caught in a haunted house is the theme for the lyrics, a bit of a return to some of their older lyrical themes, and an extended instrumental "jam" that is rocking completes the piece. Tony's keyboards are as always in fine form on this song.

Now to side two:

Illegal Alien - Um. Is this the same band that recorded side one? Maybe my album is defective and there's a different band playing on side 2. This hope was sadly dispelled once I got it on cd and it had the same songs after Home by the Sea. There isn't much I can say about this song that probably hasn't already been said. Fail.

Taking It All Too Hard - Mike's first set of lyrics on the album and it's a definite improvement over the previous dross, but is just a basic generic fm radio song. Nothing horrible, but nothing special either.

Just A Job To Do - Didn't Queen do this very same song just a few years earlier to much greater effect? Not to imply that Mssrs. Banks, Collins and Rutherford are the Vanilla Ice of the prog world, but the very first time I heard the opening to the song I thought they were doing a cover of Another One Bites the Dust. No, it's not a ripoff of the song, but it has that same feel. Not bad lyrics from Mike though about a hitman. I just wish the music had been a little more original.

Silver Rainbow - Tony Banks once said that Firth of Fifth was the worst set of lyrics he had ever been involved with. I don't think that's true, not only because I happen to like the lyrics to Firth of Fifth, but because this has to be the worst set of lyrics he ever wrote. Tony, man, you're my favorite keyboardist, a great composer, and I love most of your lyrics too. What happened here? There's just something a little disturbing about a man in his early 30's writing a song about losing your virginity. Good music though and a return to something that sounds a little more like the Genesis we all know and love. Maybe Mike or Phil should have written the lyrics though.

It's Gonna Get Better - If this was a promise that the next album would be better than side 2, sadly that promise was not kept. However, this song imo is the best of the lot on side 2. A strange theme starts off the song, courtesy of some stringed instruments played backwards through one of Tony's machines. Then a rather Motown feel permeates the song, and Phil sings with a bit of a soul flavor. Not bad. Not great, but it is head and shoulders above most of the rest of side 2.

My recommendation is to get the album if you don't have it, listen to side 1 and skip side 2, except for maybe the last song.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
3 stars Guilty! I like this album a lot. This is good pop music with some prog overtones here and there. Besides, Home By the Sea is a very powerful song that would fit in any of their more progressive CDs. By the time it was released I was ready to accept this trio as a whole new band. Genesis always had a knack for writing good, pop oriented music, no matter how complex they were. The band never missed the melodic sense during their entire career, which I found to be a good thing after all. If they´re going to turn into a pop band, at least they did produce good pop songs. The same cannot be said of many other prog acts during the 80´s (Camel´s output of the period comes to mind, but there were many others who also failed miserably at that time).

Anyway, this is not for the hardcore proghead. But if you like simple, melodic songs, with some inventive arrangments and done by skillful players, go for it. Phill Collins singing is at his best. Although not all the songs here really work, the majority does. And, to me, Home By The Sea is worth the price of the album alone

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars It got better!

After the disastrous Abacab album, could Genesis bounce back? Well, they certainly didn't ever return to the lofty peaks they reached in the 70's. But this self-titled album was surely an improvement over Abacab and also a much stronger album than the subsequent Invisible Touch.

Home By The Sea/Second Home By The Sea is indeed an excellent and quite progressive song that quickly (and rightly) became a live favourite. Mama too is quite good and better than anything from Abacab. Silver Rainbow is enjoyable too with a nice melody and nice keyboard sounds. An album with only three very good songs might not seem like a good deal, but Home By The Sea/Second Home By The Sea offers 11 minutes of the most progressive music Genesis did during the 80's. Mama runs for close to seven minutes and some of the other songs are quite acceptable.

There are, however, some weak and annoying moments here too. Illegal Alien is one of them and constituted the worst of the lot. Still, this album is overall better than both the previous and the subsequent one and deserves a higher rating for the better moments.

Recommended, but not an essential release for all Prog fans

Review by poslednijat_colobar
2 stars It is good to hear any music again after awful Abacab.The self-titled album is good enough for listening. It contains fully electronic sound with progressive element. It is weaker than first two albums for Genesis as trio, but it's a nice step forward from the latest album - Abacab. However the situation here is not very optimistic, too. The album is an easy-earning money album with no fine musicianship and nothing special, even nothing very good and memorable moment. Most of the songs are almost clear pop music, which is a genre extremely different to my philosophy of music. Because of all that my rating is 2 stars.
Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Genesis" is the eponymously titled 12th full-length studio album by UK pop/rock act Genesis. The album was released through Charima Records (UK)/Atlantic Records (US) in October 1983. It´s the successor to "Abacab" from 1981 although the two studio albums were bridged by the "Three Sides Live" live album from 1982. Unlike the previous releases, where each member of the band would enter the studio with fully developed songwriting ideas, all 9 tracks on the 45:59 minutes long album were written by all three members of the band while in the studio. It was a deliberate attempt to make all three members feel part of the process and to strengthen their identity as a unified band. All members had either successful solo careers or side-projects at this point in their careers, so it was important for them to work on this album project like a band. Hence the eponymous album title.

"Genesis" is an eclectic album which displays both the accessible pop sensitive side of Genesis and the more sophisticated/playful pop/rock side of the band. Examples of the latter style are found in "Mama", "Home by the Sea", and "Second Home by the Sea", while tracks like "Taking It All Too Hard" and "It's Gonna Get Better" represent the former style. Common for all tracks featured on the 8 track, 45:59 minutes long album are that they are well written and catchy. Even the humourous and quite silly "Illegal Alien", is a well written song.

The album features a professional, clear, and detailed sound production, which suits the material perfectly. While "Abacab (1981)" was a bit rough around the edges considering it was an 80s release, the sound production on this album takes Genesis fully into the 80s. Smooth, powerful, and successfully combining the organic with the more digital sounding 80s synths, it´s a sound which works really well.

Genesis sound like they are inspired and in great shape, and while it´s no surprise at this point in their career, it still deserves to be told, that they are brilliant musicians and composers. Phil Collins vocal performance on "Mama" ranks among his strongest and the vocal melody on "Home by the Sea" is exceptionally well written and performed (one of those iconic music moments which immediately transports me back to the 80s), just to mention a few of the standout moments on the album. So upon conclusion "Genesis" is a very well crafted pop/rock album with a sense for sophistication and creative ideas. A combination which Genesis master well. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

Review by Tom Ozric
3 stars Genesis Self-Titled - 1983 - artistic or commercial ??? Same as asking the question 'to be or not to be ??' This release isn't half bad, nor is it an exceptional expression of early 80's Progressive music. What our Symphonic friends have displayed here is the fact that they can keep up with the demands of the music bizz and contemporary trends by sacrificing inspiration over aspiration. Collins and Co. seem to be catering for their newly established Pop-Rock fan-base (of which there were many to compliment their sales demographics), rather than pleasing ' ye olde faithfuls' (of which there were few by this stage ... the cash-cow would've turned into a bull....) Sure it's something of a winner on the charts, with mega- hits 'That's All', 'Illegal Alien' and 'Mama', of which only the semi-lengthy 'Mama' has any vague link to their past, with the slow build-up and haunting Keyboard work that is truly (Tony) Banksian. The track is actually a quality piece of music - quite the cut above most radio oriented drek at the time. Collins really puts on a chillingly powerful vocal, some of his best singing ever IMO. 'That's All' is a focused and simple tune, which, at least, features an organ sounding synth solo followed by a guitar solo. Pure Pop, but not a tune one is likely to forget, thanks to the highly melodic and catchy nature of the piece. 'Illegal Alien' has Phil putting on the accent of someone of Mexican decent, quite a daggy idea, to be honest. A slightly ethereal interlude is all the interest the song can muster. Elsewhere, most Proggers respect the 'Home By The Sea' suite, with its instrumental consideration and unusual lyric subject - apparently about ghosts - Collins letting loose on his Electric Drum-Kit, crunching guitars and Fretless Bass from Mike Rutherford, and varied, atmospheric Keys from Banks. A definate high-point of the album. Three 'take-it- or-leave-it' tracks in 'Taking It All Too Hard' (almost M.O.R. Collins solo material), 'Just A Job To Do' (pure commercial Pop music) and Silver Rainbow (a somewhat unusual track which I just don't appreciate) and the album closer 'It's Gonna Get Better', which again puts Banks in the fore-front with his tasteful Keyboard work and features some cleverly arranged rhythms. I must admit that this is one of the first Genesis albums I heard back in '86, courtesy of my sister, and it bought to my attention the existence of their vast back- catalogue, therefore I feel a generous score of 3 is justly deserved, good, but far from an essential purchase....... what ?? ....... of course Nursery Cryme is better !!!
Review by lazland
2 stars As readers of my Genesis LP reviews will know, I am generally quite sympathetic to Collins era Genesis, and I have given five stars to some, especially Duke which I still think is a masterpiece. However, I can honestly only award two stars to this, my least favourite Genesis album, and it pains me to do so.

Banks once said that the second side was the band's weakest moment, and he is absolutely right, because if I were reviewing the first side only, I would award five stars without any hesitation.

Mama is a great single, with some genuinely dark moments backed by menacing keyboards and a thundering drum intro to the beginning of the final sequence. It has obvious Exorcist connotations, and continued the fine sequence of progressive pop singles the band were making.

Home by the Sea, and the Second.... are simply stunning prog pieces. The atmosphere created by Banks' swirling keyboards and then his main solo in the middle backed by Rutherford playing tightly with Collins huge drum machine sequence are a joy to listen to. There is not a dull moment on this first side, and listening to it for the first time, I was convinced that we had a major progressive landmark in the still relatively new decade.

Then they spoiled it by recording side two, quite the worst listening experience of my life.

I don't mind commercial music, as long as it's good commercial music, but Illegal Alien is absolutely dreadful, almost as bad as Whodunnit on the previous LP. It deserves the removal of two stars in itself, a pointless piece of whimsey dressed up as social comment - it was neither, of course.

The rest of the side, I find just rather bland. Silver Rainbow has some very pleasant moments with progressive elements, and It's gonna Get Better is a good pop song, if rather unremarkable. The damage, however, had been well and truly done by the time you got to this stage. I don't think I have listened to the second side for about ten years before putting it on tonight ahead of this review - it will be at least another ten years before I bother again.

They undoubtedly alienated many people with this LP. I am rather surprised that it gains more stars than its predecessor in the reviews thus far.

They had a lot of ground to make up with the next one.

Review by TGM: Orb
3 stars Genesis, s/t, 1983

The self-titled revival of Genesis in the 80s features something a bit surprising - Phil Collins as an assertive vocalist (well, 81's In The Air Tonight sort of had that, but here, it's on a whole new level). He's aggressive, biting, rounded and capable of a range of surprisingly vicious vocals. Complementing this is a lot of great writing, some kicking drum machine programming (I mean, Home By The Sea, Mama... it's great stuff if you're happy to drop the must-be-a-drummer-behind-the-kit attitude), Tony Banks taking a more tasteful, understated part on the synths, as well as more than adequate guitar and bass support from Mike Rutherford. Yes, you must admit, it's not a 70s Genesis record, but it's not meant to be - it's a damn good art rock/art pop album, and much more daring than it's given credit for.

Just take the opening Mama, a moody drum machine repeating the same manic line as some bleak, despondent keys from Banks bring out the atmosphere, then suddenly, the new Collins comes in with a desperate, pleading, and furious vocal and Mike (Rutherford seems too formal for the jaunting guitar coming along with this one) kicks in. Maddened, sickly laughs, the thunderous entrance of the gated drums, the slowly developed (well, one-sided) dialogue, are all done perfectly and Collins manages to bring out negativity in a sympathetic way with the force. Can you really call anything this dark, serious and visceral 'pop'? I wouldn't say so.

That's All features a catchy, clear piano part comparable to Time Table or Harold The Barrel, followed by a slightly funky bass and guitar and a killer vocal from Collins, with the characteristic edge on his voice, now, as well as some very rounded and memorable clean phrases. He seems to be back on the kit for lots of this one, pulling out some killer fills in all the right places, and the general vibe is just on. I really like this one, but hey... (and the lyrics are, in my opinion, some of the truest put to paper).

Home By The Sea (first part of a sneaky ten minute suite) opens with the low, sharp guitar thrum before the drums kick in and a mechanical 'home by the sea' opens the song, before Banks pulls out on a vibraphone-like keyboard sound some melodies as clear and pretty as anything off A Trick Of The Tail. It's well-structured, with the memorable vocal hooks coming up several times, includes some very curious drum sounds and a story which wouldn't have been out of place on England or Nursery Cryme, again bringing out the moral ambiguity which has been a characteristic and long-standing feature of Genesis lyrics, and, all-in-all, is a hugely successful merging of the progressive rock which Genesis were coming out of and the melodic pop they were going into.

Second Home By The Sea is more of an instrumental jam piece, reminiscent in some ways of the instrumental numbers off Wind And Wuthering, albeit a bit more structured, and with some fiendishly catchy guitar work and the general feel of story-telling, never losing my interest, and with one of my favourite ever bits of Banks playing (when he brings up the vocal melody again with that scrailing sound in the background), as well as a clean and suave guitar solo. Again, fantastic stuff.

Illegal Alien needs to be listened to with the right spirit. The social message of it is somewhat overshadowed by the generally hilarious 'gringo' vocals and what-political-correctness? attitude. Consequently, first time I heard it, I was filled with rage and hate, after that, I calmed down, listened to the music, and really¸ it's alright. Trite pop chorus, which I'm sure you'll all balk at, a curious-sounding string-synth, a fairly cool talky interlude thing under a descending brass-synth and a bit of cool Collins drumming as well as a sort of steel-drum-like (my intuition says that's a keyboard's effort at a tymp, maybe, or alternatively my keyboard's just crazy?) sound floating around in the mix somewhere, as well as the neat backing-less take of the chorus. Those are perhaps the best bits, and, I have to say, though it's not my favourite song ever, now I've given it a bit of time to listen properly, it's a well-constructed pop song and I like it a bit if I'm in the right mood.

Taking It All Too Hard is maybe the least distinctive thing on here, though it's not at all bad. A nice Collins vocal, a clean, effective drum part and some bleak, minimal keys, but it feels simply resentful and sad, and comes off as a bit light in comparison with the psychological trip of Mama or the I-AM-TRULY-PISSED fire of In The Air Tonight. The little sha-la-la thing at the end of the vocal lines is very nice. It's not a bad song at all, it's just not stunning.

Just A Job To Do is another surprise, upbeat, thumping and brimming with energy, taking on the perspective of a hitman in a fairly bland style. A killer riff from Rutherford fires the piece with general energy, and a combination of Collins yelling BANG BANG BANG (sounds really cheesy in theory, comes across alright, but my cheese sense is sketchy these days) with an accompanying thud-thud-thud on the drums works more or less right. The brass synth effect is maybe more a gimmick than a really necessary thing, but it does make the song distinctive, and it's very impressively played, and neatly follows the grooving bass build-up before the last verse. Except for the slightly bland guitar solo, great stuff.

The awkward sexual advances of Silver Rainbow, are somewhat matched by the not-quite-yet rhythm section (Mike is on especially good form, here), with the entertaining synth part, and another solid Collins vocal. It's generally a good song, though it goes on a bit longer than it needs to, but (and I get too excited about these) it ends with a bass solo, so I'm happy. It's Gonna Get Better is a calmer number, with a more quiet and yet neat Collins vocal (along the lines of the stuff on Peter Gabriel II or Face Value - their voices are quite similar when they're singing more softly), as well as a whirling atmosphere contributed by Banks, some carefully disguised melodies, a nice opportunity for Mike's bass-work to shine, and a calm conclusion to the album.

I have to admit, this is my first real venture into post-Hackett Genesis, and I like it. The first four numbers are fantastic, with a lot of the trademarks of 70s Genesis (morally ambiguous lyrics, both edgy and accessible music, great melodies) while being in an entirely new style, and the succeeding lot all have noticeable up points and are generally decent, listenable tunes, Collins sounds superb on this one, the drum programming is used in an interesting way, and it's possibly better structured and better produced than any of their classics. Maybe not something for the purists, but nonetheless, a great album. Four stars from me. Oh, and thanks to the excellent Spotify for indulging my curiosity when I wasn't quite ready to part with cash for an album - this the first review I've written solely from it. A hard copy should be coming up on my next amazon-binge.

Rating: Four Stars Favourite Song: probably Home By The Sea just clinching it over Mama

Edit: dropped to a three with harsher ratings... acknowledging really that the second side is a step down on the first, which'd be the sort of stuff I'd rate as comfortable 4-star material, by and large... so, 3 seemed more right.

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars This is an indulgent pop album, but what can one expect from a record that's artwork consists of the shapes of a popular toddler's toy as well as being the self-titled album?

"Mama" Not only do the electronic drums wear on, and is the instrumentation bare, but Phil Collins's dark laughing and growling is almost unbearable. His singing is good, and is what anybody can expect from him, but this track is almost an embarrassment to even listen to.

"That's All" This is a popular Collins-era Genesis song with a fun pop-melody. It scored some radio airplay (and continues to do so), but is nothing great.

"Home by the Sea" At last, there's some fuller music, but overall, Collins dominates his band mates (this is a pop album, after all). It's a somewhat better track than "Mama," though.

"Second Home by the Sea" The previous track flows right into this one, which features heavier drumming and some good keyboards. This is as progressive as this album gets, as this relatively lengthy song does have some decent instrumental moments.

"Illegal Alien" After some silly electronic noises come even sillier sounds. Collins's accent in this song is not just terrible, it's fairly insulting.

"Taking it All Too Hard" Here's another somewhat tropical-sounding song (as was the previous ridiculous track), but it's a bit darker.

"Just a Job to Do" A fast-paced one with some lame lyrics, this is another radio hit. It's upbeat, and somewhat enjoyable, but nothing really interesting.

"Silver Rainbow" Here is a song that doesn't know if it's coming or going. It's utterly forgettable.

"It's Gonna Get Better" Well, it hasn't yet. This is a soft pop song with Collins's falsetto vocals that should demonstrate that Genesis became very poor very quickly at the onset of the 1980s.

Review by Sinusoid
2 stars The first half of GENESIS actually is a fair collection of art-pop tunes with only ''That's All'' being lame. The two ''Home By the Sea'' parts are interesting pop based tunes, but ''Second Home By the Sea'' is a thing of pop beauty as it actually is quite mesmerizing despite the tacky sounding synths of the 80's. Reminds of unused music from the Sonic the Hedgehog games of the mid 90's. ''Mama'' is strangely demented yet the climbing factor helps make it enjoyable despite Phil's near-wretched vocals at the end.

But, there's another half to the album, and it's all forgettable pop music. ''It's Gonna Get Better'' might be the most ironic track name as the album never did that, nor will the follow-up INVISIBLE TOUCH. Lame ballads and cheap 80's pop tunes that sound like filler encompass this half. Fails to capitalise on what could've been a decent artsy pop album with a little bit of prog thrown in.

Review by Conor Fynes
1 stars 'Genesis' - Genesis (2/10)

Having given this a few half-hearted listens, I really wonder why people give such flak to Genesis' suceeding album 'Invisible Touch.' That album - while not truly being progressive - still had some catchy, intelligently written tracks, experimental instrumental work ('The Brazillian') and an epic of sorts to boot ('Domino.') I can listen to 'Invisible Touch' and appreciate it. This album, despite apparently being more tolerable by general consensus, is far worse, and possibly one of the worst albums I own in my collection.

Firstly on a positive note, it's not as if this album is totally without merit, it's just not meritable enough to be worth a listen. It's clear that there are points on the album that the band really tried to climb to heights of past glory (like the 10 minute track 'Home By The Sea') but unlike the epic on 'Invisible Touch' (which I consider a fantastic track) 'Home By The Sea' fails to generate any real interest for me. It's very bland, although unfortunately enough, it's one of the most musically sincere, non-offensive moments of the album.

'That's All' is probably the most well-known track on this album. The style of production on the album really seems to get to me here, as the mixing on the drums seems as if it's trying to drown out everything else out. The songwriting itself for this particular track is not bad at all, but it's not a song I would really give more than a few listens, besides the occasional absent-minded listen on the radio.

'Mama' also seems a bit interesting at the beginning, but it drags on far too long, without enough musical meat to keep it's engine running smoothly.

Onto the 'worse' side of things, we have a whole multitude of mediocrity. In fact, there's only one 'bad' song that I'm even going to bother mentioning. Genesis stands as being one of the greatest prog rock bands of all time, and there is one song on this album that has to be one of the worst songs I've ever heard in my life, but also terribly memorable and catchy, if only for it's awful pallour.

That song is 'Illegal Alien.'

As well as being infectiously catchy, it's one of the most horrid, offensive pop songs ever written. In essence, in the span of a few minutes, Phil Collins manages to insult the Mexican/Latino race in every way imaginable. He takes the stereotype of the 'lazy mexican' to heart, and writes a song about it, going as far as including in his lyrics; an offer for a 'sexual favour' from the narrator's sister, to help him across the border. To top things off, Phil Collins coats this offense with a fake Mexican accent; as if the lyrics weren't enough.

There's alot of mediocrity on this album, but if only for 'Illegal Alien,' it has to be one of the most horrid albums I've ever listened to.

Review by Roland113
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars In My Not So Humble Opinion:

Genesis' eponymous album isn't the proggiest of albums but it's a solid album and works well as a gateway drug.

So the year is nineteen ninety three and I was visiting my Dad. Dad asked me if I wanted to go see a laser show. Well shoot, what eleven year old kid wouldn't want to go see a laser show with their Dad, especially the 'cool musician Dad'? We went to see Laser Genesis and I was mesmerized. To this day I remember the feeling of dread and awe that I had when the giant laser head started laughing along with Phil Collins in Mama. I was hooked from that instant. Within a week, I bought the vinyl album with my hard earned paper route money. This is significant in that it was the first album that I had ever purchased with my own money. Up until that point in life, my money had gone to baseball cards. Soon after, with enough pestering, my Dad bought me my first keyboard (an Arp String Ensemble for those that care) and my passion for music had begun.

Twenty-six years later (holy heck, where did the time go?) this album still has a soft spot in my heart, though it's lost a little of it's luster because, well, let's face it; many of Genesis' albums are much better. Even so, I've purchased this album a total of four times now, the vinyl album, the cassette, the original CD and of course the extra extended remastered version released last year. As much as we give Genesis grief for going pop at this point in their career, "Mama" starts this album off the album with a stunning display of crossover worthy of Gazpacho. The drama begins with the slow gated drums and Tony Banks' ominous chords. Slowly Phil Collins builds the tension until the fateful scream, "But it's getting so hard." If that didn't leave a mark, the laughing immediately following give me a sense of drama worthy of Mr. Gabriel.

"That's All" is your basic blues tune, significant only as it was the song that I drug into my piano teacher in ninth grade as the song I wanted to learn.

"Home By the Sea" is a fantastic song; surprisingly enough, this and it's successor received a surprising amount of airplay on the local Pittsburgh rock station. The first half is a rocking song about a haunted house, a home by the sea if you will. "Second Home By the Sea" is a long form solo by Mr. Banks for the first half of the song. Pop or not, Mr. Banks can still construct a solo in which every note is in the right place; every patch is perfect for the song. At about the four minute mark, the song truly becomes spinetingling. The rhythm pounded out by Mr. Collins is augmented by a wire screeching sound effect by Mr. Banks that brings a full wall of sound bearing down on the listener like a chaotic freight train hurtling straight at you. In the midst of this, Mike Rutherford plays, what I think, are his most beautiful notes as he begins to pull the band out of the chaos and into the outro. Best song on the album. My only complaint is the drum sounds. I really prefer the sound of real drums over the cutting edge electronics of the eighties.

Admittedly, the second side of the album drops down a little from the first side. "Illegal Alien" is one of the more despised songs of Genesis' discography, up there with "whodunit" in some polls. Personally, I don't think it's all that bad. It's a poppy single, appropriate for the times. The humor in this song is a precursor for future releases.

"Taking It All Too Hard" is one of their more palatable ballads. "Just a Job to Do" is a light hearted rocker about assassination, complete with a nice, but repetitive bass line by Mr. Rutherford.

"Silver Rainbow" is a pretty good song though it suffers from the same drum sound as "Second Home By the Sea." Oh, and the lyrics leave a little to be desired at times, . . . "If you're sitting there beside her, and a bear comes in the room," yeah, cause that happens a lot. Just the other day, I was sitting there, talking to my wife, and in fact, a bear did come into the room. It was stuffed and being carried by my two year old. Come on guys, you couldn't come up with anything better than 'a bear walks in the room'? At least go with a horse, you should be able to get a joke out of that?a horse walks into the room and the bartender asks him, 'Why the long face?' Bears! Ok, I'm done now.

"It's Gonna Get Better" is a pretty good ballad, and ends the album nicely . . . without any bears.

All in all, Genesis' self titled album was an amazing album to an eleven year old kid that didn't understand sex, drugs and adopting your musical style to become popular and actually make enough money to retire comfortably. Now I at least understand two of the three (never got into drugs) and appreciate the album for what it is. Nostalgia brings this album up to three bears . . . I mean stars.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This is bad album. Not that I'm zealous fan of their classic period and hate everything that came later, but with expectations to have Mama as their biggest hit (only variation comes in 3:20 and lasts towards the end) from this album, it fails. Mentioned latter half is good, but not so good. Drum machine is really not my cup of tea and by my opinion, it kills music. Time will come when we'll have vocal-machines and we all will be doomed. Then, we'll lay praises on "only" drum machines, but till that time, I'll stay in refuse position towards it. I can continue through this album to its bitter end, but I won't, as it's useless for both you and me.

2(+), few scattered good ideas, big deal of pop (and even worse, 80's pop), nothing especially ugly for my taste, so I'll hold worst rating. Phil Collins still reminds me Peter Gabriel to some extent (and I liked him), so I like Phil's voice too. He's not bad singer, but it still can't save this album.

Review by J-Man
1 stars You May Go Crying to Mama After Hearing This Disaster!

Unfortunately, the downfall of Genesis continues with this 1983, self-titled disaster. At this point, the only inspiration that the band had left was the large cash-ins they would get for making this commercial and uninspired pop music. Genesis (often nicknamed Mama) is possibly the worst album that Genesis has ever created, although some of the other 3-man albums are pretty close. I will never be able to comprehend how Genesis went from creating some of the finest albums on the face of the earth to creating an irritating failure like this.

Abacab gave us a taste of disaster, but Genesis gives us entire meal of disastrous and trivial pop music. Even the best songs (Home By The Sea and Second Home By The Sea) are very weak. It's such a shame that this album is so terrible, because I do immensely enjoy And Then There Were Three and Duke. I'm afraid to say that any Genesis albums after that severely miss the mark.

If you're unfamiliar with what Genesis sounds like at this point, it's simply 80's pop music and nothing more. There are occasional prog leanings, but they are scarce and unsatisfactory. I can always respect a good pop album from The Beatles, Boston, or U2, but Genesis is far from reaching that level of high-quality pop music. This is just a trivial and boring album with no variation, along with terrible 80's production qualities. The production isn't a big deal, though. I'm sure I wouldn't like this album even if it sounded professionally produced.

This album consists of 9 songs, all of which are very weak. The Home By The Sea suite is decent, but it's nothing worthwhile. Songs like Mama, Illegal Alien, and That's All make me want to puke after the first few seconds. It amazes me that this is the same band that made Cinema Show and Supper's Ready! All of the songs are simple verse-chorus-verse structures, with little to no variation. There are a few exceptions, but this is about as simple as pop music can get.

The musicianship, like everything else, is a disappointment. Tony Banks plays the lead instrument on most of this album, yet he does nothing special throughout the entire course of the playing time. Phil Collins' drumming is far too simple and predictable. His vocals can be good at times, but they are too overproduced and the melodies are too straightforward. Mike Rutherford doesn't do anything noteworthy either.


Genesis is a terrible album, and just shows what a tough decade the 80's were for any prog fan. I don't give out 1 star reviews out often, but I couldn't give this album any more than that. I basically save my 1 star reviews for albums like this! This album is best avoided, unless you're an 80's pop fanatic. This is probably the worst Genesis album.

1 star.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars This is my favorite Genesis album post-Steve HACKETT. Phil and Tony are really clicking throughout this album with their experiments with computer and keyboard technologies, and Mike's guitar work is finally fitting and effective.

The industrial sound of the percussion loop in the opening song, "Mama" (6:37) (9/10), coupled with Tony's eerie synth and Phil's crazed vocal are amazing. Amazing. I even bought and played to death the 12" EP version.

2. "That's All" (4:26) (8/10) is catchy old-fashioned feel pop with Phil at his vocal best. (Great lyrics, too.)

3. "Home by the Sea" (5:07) (8/10) has an awesome ominous feel musically and a wonderful vocal melody throughout. But it is also a tease--for the best is yet to come--in the form of the next song,

4. "Second Home by the Sea" (6:07) (9/10) is a fairly plodding instrumental with some great performances and melodic solos by Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford--and of course, capped off by the great return vocal of Phil Collins.

5. "Illegal Alien" (5:15) (4/10) I hope to never hear again for the rest of my life.

6. "Taking It All Too Hard" (3:58) (7/10) has some truly gorgeous keyboard work--and Phil, too, when he's doing his soft, delicate voice.

7. "Just a Job to Do" (4:48) (6/10) I didn't even remember the existence of this song. As I listen to it now, I understand why.

8. "Silver Rainbow" (4:30) (8/10) has an awesome beginning and then it kicks into a pounding straight time with some nice guitar and bass work from Rutherford. The chorus is the final disappointment.

9. "It's Gonna Get Better" (5:14) (8/10) is a pretty soul-imitative pop song--except for the "reverse" solo at 3:00. The chorus that follows immediately after the weird solo is pretty good, too. Great keyboard chord progressions from there out.

An album in which I was finally able to let go of my expectations for the "old" Genesis and allow them to move into the techno-pop 80s. While not an "excellent addition to a PROG rock music collection" it is a pretty darn good album. 3.5 stars rated down for loss of progginess.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Thanks to Spotify I can now finally listen to all these late-Genesis albums without having to buy them. The first post-Wind And Wuthering pick for me was the self-titled 1983 release basically because I've already heard both Mama and Home By The Sea and considered them to be great Genesis tunes. Still, nothing could prepare me for the journey in front of me!

The two (or three, depending on how you count it) tracks I did know already didn't disappoint me. Mama was actually just as good as the live performances that I've heard up to this point, while Home By The Sea was good but not on par with the live versions. Unfortunately it was pretty much a downhill slide from here on since I found many of the remaining tracks quite hideous.

I've previous seen the Illegal Alien video and although the combination of terrible video and music actually makes it so bad that it's good, the audio-only version doesn't work at all! I have previously been warned that the second part of this album is no where near the first and that was a very true statement. The only track that I managed to enjoy there was Silver Rainbow, but even that track takes quite some time to get going.

I have no idea why the band decided to release a self-titled album this far into their career since it was far from a reboot of any sort. Well at least I'm only paying my Spotify-premium fee and don't have to shell out hard earned cash on this mediocre release.

***** star songs: Mama (7:25)

**** star songs: That's All (4:23) Home By The Sea (4:52) Second Home By The Sea (6:20) Silver Rainbow (4:28)

*** star songs: Taking It All Too Hard (3:55) It's Gonna Get Better (6:25)

** star songs: Just A Job To Do (4:45)

* star songs: Illegal Alien (5:13)

Review by colorofmoney91
1 stars Since the last few albums, Genesis have decided that their modern sound mostly appealed to the pop crowd, which they seemed to be okay with. This self-titled album is still entirely pop music, but shows a slight strengthening in songwriting ability, which is something that the previously had lost. "Mama" was a big hit, and is only progressive in that it gradually gets louder throughout. The album cover and the music within always gave me a slightly goth-pop feel, and some of the music here is slightly darker than their previous albums. There is really nothing here in the way of progressive rock, and I would only suggest this to fans of pop-rock with heavy synth properties.
Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Moulded into mainstream commercialism sap.

Genesis release another pop ballad album with some detestable songs to coincide with the 'Invisible Crutch' and 'Abacrap' albums. On this offering you are looking down the barrel of syrupy pop excess where the musos are nothing more than session musicians and Collins annoys like nothing else particularly on the infectious and horrible Illegal Alien. The songs were designed to lock into your skull and force you to go out and buy the single to make the band rich and the management. This it did of course and the radio was saturated with Collins voice and it drove nails into the prog history; all but dumped only to be replaced by inane trash such as Taking It All Too Hard, Just A Job To Do, and It's Gonna Get Better.

Illegal Alien deserves a place as one of the most detestable Genesis tracks complete with a pathetic attempt at humour with Collins' racist Mexican accent and equally offensive lyrics. The filmclip is memorable for all the wrong reasons, as is the melody. It is so annoying but the melody will stick to you like stink on a skunk; you cannot wash it off but you will be dying to do so.

There is one redeeming moment in the form of Home By The Sea that segues immediately into the powerful melodies of Second Home By The Sea with some incredible dark tones and a wonderful structure. That's All is okay or perhaps I have been desensitised to it as it has permeated the radio waves as much as Invisible Touch forcing my brain to put up with the synth-soaked horn sound and electronic drums that spews 80s mediocrity. I don't mind Mama either, as it has some chilling atmospheres similar to In The Air Tonite, the best of Collin's solo career, but it doesn't save the album from yet another 2 star rating during this turbulent 80s era.

The front cover, by the way, is a picture of a toy sold door to door from the Avon lady, shaped numbered blocks that toddlers poked into similar shaped holes in a ball. Perhaps this is ironic because Genesis were simply going by the numbers, poking music into moulded holes to appease the masses; they were no longer out of the box musically, they were being moulded and shaped into just another throwaway sound ? and what a waste of talent!

Review by stefro
3 stars Now a full-blown hit-making machine thanks to the success of 1980's 'Duke' and it's rush-released follow-up 'Abacab', Genesis' eleventh studio effort finds the group inching even further away from their progressive rock roots. Instead, we have slick, bright, technologically-enhanced pop-rock from the remaining trio of Tony Banks(keyboards, vocals), Mike Rutherford(guitar, bass) and Phil Collins(drums, vocals). However, even though 1981's 'Abacab' proved something of a damp squibdespite the presence of a clutch of fine pop pieces - 'Keep It Dark', 'Man On The Corner' and the lengthy title-track spring to mind - this self-titled effort is actually something of an improvement. Featuring the trio's heaviest track so far in the shape of the pulsating, highly-charged and frankly rather mysterious opening gambit 'Mama', this is a surprisingly dark album peppered with occasional lighter moments. Utilising the same gated-drum reverb effect that was cunningly employed on both the creepy Peter Gabriel track 'Intruder' and Collins own 1981 mega-hit 'In The Air Tonight' after the duo stumbled across the effect during the sessions for Gabriel's third self-titled album from 1980(otherwise known by fans as 'Melt' or '3') 'Mama' is a truly intense six-minute opus that sounds quite unlike anything else the three-man version of Genesis have ever produced. What the song is actually about lyrics-wise is anyone's guess - some reckon the 'Mama' of the title is a prostitute(?) - but somehow it doesn't matter, such is the dynamic tone of the six-minute piece. The same ominous tone, albeit in a pacier guise, is also used to less enthralling effect on the still strangely enigmatic two-part suite 'Home By The Sea', a composition which hints ever so slightly back to their prog roots, but sadly mainstream-courting pop convention seems to conquer during the albums weaker and softer second side. Closing track 'It's Gonna Get Better' strains hard to give us a upbeat finale, with Rutherford's catchy guitar flexing an attractive melody, yet it isn't too long before Banks glutinous keyboards quickly coat everything in a glowing, sentimental mush, turning a catchy song about redemption into a pass-the-sickbag slice of sentimental gloop. The corking 'Mama' aside, this is very much a mainstream rock album featuring top-notch production values, but little soul. Enjoyable then, and after 'Duke' probably the defining statement from the three-man line-up, but in truth this is hardly essential unless you're a proper Genesis nut. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012
Review by b_olariu
2 stars Selftitled album from 1983 is to my ears a mediocre album and is the most unintresting and boring album Genesis ever done, weaker then Abacab and weaker then Invisible touch or We can't dance. This is almost a pop album with mediocre song writting and not a trace what they were doing few years back. The best from here is for sure Home by the sea/second home by the sea, is a fairly decent piece(s) where we find that they still make good music, but the rest is forgettable at best, including Mama, that every one praise here, to me is a total waste. So, 2 stars maybe 2.5 because of the mentioned Home by the sea, the rest is no more Genesis is some ordinary band that try to survive in those times.
Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Let us relive our lives in what we tell you"

Looking over many of the scathing reviews by our fine den of distinguished progressive music sages, it was John Mellotron Storm's review that resonated with me. So I'm going to briefly wax nostalgic as well. As with John this largely loathed collection by Genesis zaps me instantly back to the fall of 1983, wandering the institutional hallways of the brick fortress where they tried to fill my head with academic tripe. For the most part it was social survival, clock watching, D and D, and trying to balance days of great fun with hours of frightening anxieties. The security of home life was quickly giving way to a world I didn't really want to enter and one that I find more appalling every day. But back then there were many cute girls, few of them interested in my social circle naturally, and yet so much laughter. Despite our social fears, despite being bullied before "bullying" was a thing, we had the last laugh in terms of our friendships and our time. We caught the very tail end of the world when it was still pretty cool and made the most of it.

Anyway, as mentioned by the Doctor, unless you were in a coma that fall you were hearing "That's All" on the radio. The album never much appealed to me at the time as I was mostly into hard rock then. It's been decades since I've heard the album with any regularity and I find now it is a joy to hear again. While we ridiculed it then, though not to the level of being a parking-lot album, I now love the strong pop melodies throughout and find them nicely shaded with Genesis art rock window dressing. I think it is one of the stronger 80s releases to come from the 70s prog biggies. Consistent, colorful, and with some standout tracks. Side one is really good and side two is good enough, my personal fave being the beautifully detailed "Home by the Sea" duo. Listen to the moving lyrics about the end of life, the urgency to pass on something, reflection. Obviously the dated percussion can ruffle "prog" feathers but I enjoy this as much as than anything they did post "Wind and Wuthering". "Mama" kills as well with great atmospherics by Tony and a biting guitar solo which fades much too soon.

I think what made this release is that they were writing as a group again rather than coming in with finished songs. This approach in this case led to an album that overall feels "fresh" while achieving the new kind of success they were chasing. Every song is engaging and pleasing despite the fact we are all required to take a pledge to hate 80s Genesis while activating membership at PA. There's a sense of optimism in the Shapes album and it feels like an earnest effort. The cover art is perfect for the album as well, attention to detail throughout. It's easy to be cynical about 80s Genesis but this album goes down much easier all these years later, an easy listen, quality pop craftsmanship, and for me stoking hazy memories of suburban kids in a Mr. S's history class. I can judge pop albums pretty easily by how I feel when I contemplate playing them--some I know will bore me to tears, some I get excited to hear again. This one falls into the latter camp. It's not quite 4 stars straight up but its better than 3, and like John I feel compelled to round up on this one.

Review by rdtprog
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Heavy / RPI / Symphonic Prog Team
2 stars From the word of Tony Banks himself, in this period of time, the band was running out of ideas. The first cut "Mama" was a song from Mike and an improvisation developed by all the members where you can hear Phil being inspired by the band Grandmaster Flash for his scary voice part, It's an effective debut and one of the most popular songs of the band at that time. "Home by the Sea" is the progressive rock track of the album, the most interesting song. "That's All" as some Beatles influence and is a big step back from the 2 songs mentioned above. For the rest album, the band continues to explore some electronic drum effect started with the album "Duke" on songs that are not memorable at all while "Silver Rainbow" has its moments. So it "doesn't get any better"... in the second part of the album just like the band had "Just a job to do..." If it wasn't for the surround sound of Nick Davies and for the extra features of 1 hour of rehearsal footage I wouldn't buy this album. Only for the biggest Genesis fan.
Review by Warthur
4 stars As with anything post-Abacab, you shouldn't really come here expecting lush symphonic prog of the sort Genesis turned out in their golden era - but at this stage their new pop approach was still very much coloured by art rock textures. The duo of Home By the Sea and Second Home By the Sea is not only the sort of song which the material on Duke tended to point to, but is also flat out creepy; sure, maybe they were selling out at this point, but they're selling out in a decidedly odd fashion! I can do without the comedy accents on Illegal Alien but otherwise this is a solid art- pop album which should be approached with that in mind.

If you like 1980s pop rock, it's a decent album - if you're just here for the prog, though, you should pass this up and tackle Marillion's Script For a Jester's Tear instead, seeing how it came out in the same year and was much more committed to keeping the prog flame alive than Genesis were at this point.

Review by Hercules
2 stars An old (very old) friend recently gave me his vinyl collection, which included all the Genesis albums, so I took the opportunity to listen to all those albums after Wind and Wuthering which I don't own. Looking at the reviews on here, I wasn't expecting perfection, but hey - this is Genesis, the band that made a run of 7 albums from Trespass onwards which are all at least very good and, in some cases truly excellent. And 3 of the 5 core members who made most of those albums are still there. And they self-titled it, which you wouldn't think of doing if the album was a turkey, would you? So I didn't expect it to be that bad. Well it is that bad. In fact, it's pretty dreadful. Mama is a nasty discordant mess, with Phil Collins doing his angry shouty style of vocals - indeed he does this on most tracks and it's wearing. That's All is just twee and completely forgettable. The whole second side is just awful: there's not a track which I can remember much about or would bother to listen to again; Illegal Alien may have been a big hit but it's just irritating. The last track is ironic - It's Going To Get Better: well it did indeed; the album ended and that the run out groove is probably the best bit. The drum sound throughout is horrible sounding synthesised The only redeeming features are Home by the Sea and Second Home by the Sea, which give just an inkling as to what Genesis were once capable of, being more extended, more interesting and far more carefully composed than the rest. Those 2 tracks save it from the ignominy of getting the 1 star the rest of the album deserves. That this went multi-platinum and hit no1 on the UK charts when their earlier masterpieces didn't is baffling. Avoid like the plague.

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2 stars #6 Review Originally done in 11/9/2017 Completely re-done in 9/8/2020 The tour was called "Mama", the album? Just "Genesis", after all, why would you call an album "Mama" but at the same time, what other name could've given you to this album? That speaks a lot for this album already. What' ... (read more)

Report this review (#1820719) | Posted by FalconBleck | Thursday, November 9, 2017 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The eagle soars over the heads of the citizens below. They exclaim in surprise, pointing at it with awe. It unfolds it's wings to take a majestic dive. A gunshot rattles through the sounds of the day, and the eagle nose dives to the ground. The man wielding the gun walks over to the now dead bird ... (read more)

Report this review (#1344091) | Posted by aglasshouse | Saturday, January 10, 2015 | Review Permanlink

3 stars My wife and children and I are members of a church, and we are believers. We teach Sunday school and serve Communion. However, I would not be surprised to be called a heretic. I firmly believe that Genesis is just as good without Gabriel as with him! I also think this album has a lot of goo ... (read more)

Report this review (#1178846) | Posted by thwok | Saturday, May 24, 2014 | Review Permanlink

2 stars A better effort than the previous album to my view. "Mama" - I love this track - it is a very powerful piece of music that speaks out against abortion to my mind. "That's All" - very Beatle-esque pop track. This is just ok. "Home by the Sea" - I like this track. It steers away from the ... (read more)

Report this review (#946865) | Posted by sukmytoe | Saturday, April 20, 2013 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I gave "Abacab" four stars because I truthfully feel that the contempt leveled at it is somewhat unfounded. I don't hate the "shapes" album either, but it's just not as good. "Abacab" truthfully probably deserved three stars, so you can see where I'm going with this. The major problem for me on ... (read more)

Report this review (#935370) | Posted by Mr. Gone | Tuesday, March 26, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Genesis: Deliver only hints of Prog on this release.  So the question you may be asking yourself, is this album a major disappointment? My answer is 'not entirely.' As we know, Genesis have adopted an entirely new approach to their overall sound as a band by really stressing pop influences with, ... (read more)

Report this review (#840722) | Posted by progbethyname | Friday, October 19, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Genesis continues the pop disaster but this album is in the right way. After the disaster that was Abacab, they released this which was pop but had more memorable songs. This prouves that even in their pop times, they can release a decent pop album. But there is a main problem. The best songs are ... (read more)

Report this review (#743431) | Posted by geneyesontle | Monday, April 23, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I enjoy reading reviews on this website primarily because I like studying the writing styles of others regarding progressive music, and it brings together an unusually large amount of people and egos and styles and tastes and likes and dislikes to the same arena. Without a doubt, reading the ... (read more)

Report this review (#568583) | Posted by Suedevanshoe | Wednesday, November 16, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I hate when people complain about Genesis making pop music. You try making pop music, ain't so easy and probably a bunch of fans discovered them through the pop years and went back like me. This is one of my favorite Genesis albums top to bottom great pop great prog and has a lot of artsy crea ... (read more)

Report this review (#534729) | Posted by criticdrummer94 | Tuesday, September 27, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The "Shapes" album as some fans call it (because of the front cover artwork) is a very strong one. Genesis' 80's evolution was in full swing here, opening with the powerful "Mama". The drum machine creates a great atmosphere with some eerie keyboard sounds and very powerful vocals. It's an odd ... (read more)

Report this review (#478634) | Posted by Frankie Flowers | Friday, July 8, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars When I think of atmosphere, one of the first songs that comes to mind is "Mama." Imagine Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight" with even an even more dramatic build and a more mechanical and complex drum machine pattern, and of course Tony Banks' characteristic keyboard sounds, with Mike Rutherf ... (read more)

Report this review (#460783) | Posted by 7headedchicken | Monday, June 13, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I like most things Genesis have done, except most of Abacab (especially Who Dunnit, which I hated so much I have created a CD which omits that track). That being said, my take on Genesis (or Shapes), is that it's a very good record, it's just not what some people wanted. It may be part of th ... (read more)

Report this review (#416141) | Posted by system11 | Tuesday, March 15, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The opening track Mama (6:49) from this eponymous Genesis album, also known as "shapes", had moderate air play in Australia, which was unusual for what is a longer song. The progressions are quite interesting to listen to. 4 stars That's All. 3 stars. Good but not particularly interesting. ... (read more)

Report this review (#351494) | Posted by KeepItDark | Monday, December 13, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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