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After the release of the advance single Both Sides Of The Story Phil Collins has now (08/11/1993) released his fifth studio album after four years…


In 1991 and 1992 he put all his efforts into the Genesis album and the tour before he then promoted his film Frauds. He has spent this summer in the studio and gave his own musical ideas free reign. The outcome is Both Sides and was recorded in only six weeks.

To be more precise, he recorded all the instruments and the vocals in his 12-track demo room in his home, and only put on the finishing touches (i.e. mixing, drums etcetera) at The Farm. It was certainly not easy to create a successor to But Seriously that was equal or better, but Phil Collins has completed another masterpiece with this new album (with a play time of 67:18). It is available on CD, MC and 2LP.

Unlike previous albums Both Sides was produced by Phil alone. Only sound engineer Paul Gomershall (who also worked on Serious Hits Live) and his assistant Mark Robinson (known from We Can’t Dance) assisted him. Another departure is the fact that Phil plays all the instruments including guitar and bass himself for the first time and so did not have Leland Sklar, Daryl Stuermer and others who played on previous albums and tours on the album.

Mr Collins both expresses his feelings and private problems and addresses political issues in these eleven songs. Both Sides is a sober album, less powerfully produced than anything Phil has done so far – even compared to Face Value on which he came to terms with the divorce from his first wife Andrea. This most personal of his albums has an underlying mood. Says Phil: “In the end I had 17 songs, and kicked out all those that did not fit that mood. As far as performance is concerned this has more heart and soul than anything I have done before.” *)

Personal songs are prevalent on Both Sides more than on previous albums. This seems to indicate personal problems about which Phil does not want to talk – he points at his songs: “Midlife crisis? It probably also has to do with that. But on top of this something profound has happened in my personal life. I won’t say anything else about it.” About the influence of his emotions on his songs he adds: “I have reached this point. Very intimate, very private songs seem to flow easily. I suddenly felt I had a lot to say.” Everybody should make up their own minds about Phil’s emotional situation. It seems to the reviewer that Phil, as he said in an interview, has gone through a very tough phase comparable with his first divorce in the late 70s. We can only hope for him to recover, though some of his most beautiful songs came from these situations.


Die Songs

Both Sides Of The Story
The first single that was released from the album deals with the various forms of injustice in this world. Phil justifies the demeanour of black people and also indicts oppressing races for not addressing the problem of racism. It is the most aggressive song on the album. The social criticism reminds one of the first single released from the previous album, Another Day In Paradise.


Can't Turn Back The Years

The shortest song on the album, yet the most meaningful. You cannot turn back the time, so you have to learn from it. The part cannot be repressed, there will always be something that reminds you.


Everyday

Phil begins this song with a piano solo. In an emotional voice he stresses the importance of a partner. Love can make you achieve things you never thought were possible. He tries to explain the phenomenon of love and does an impressive job.


I've Forgotten Everything

Drums are the beginning of this song before Phil begins to sing to them. Love can pass so that one hardly remembers the time together. Once you are reminded you wonder why there is nothing left.


We're Sons Of Our Fathers

A country guitar takes us back in time. Family values have much eroded in recent years. Phil mentions that today’s youth go their own way and have become more disrespectful. A very interesting song that brings together many instruments.


Can't Find My Way

It is difficult to find the right way for oneself. You bethink yourself and ponder on the meaning of life. You try your best and in the end this seems to be the right way. This is one of the slowest songs on the album.


Survivors

This song resembles Both Sides Of The Story. Forgiveness is a good thing; never wanting to hurt the other and forgiving each other helps us to survive in this world. Phil sings very high in some parts of the songs and supports the musical elements impressively. It is a fast song, and the chorus provided the right kick.


We Fly So Close

The longest song on the album begins with the guitar before Phil begins to sing. It is about the loneliness amongst people. Sometimes two people are very close to each other, yet they do not realize that. This is equally true for everyday life and for things that can change your life.


There's A Place For Us

Almost the slowest song on the album. Somewhere there is a place and a time where one can live as a couple. Phil sings about the desire for tenderness and being together. He removes any doubts about the relationship by saying that there is a time and a place for it if you really try. A very perceptive song.


We Wait And We Wonder

The next to longest song on the album begins with bagpipes. It is about the terror in Northern Ireland. One watches, waits, and wonders that nothing changes because everybody insists on their being right.


Please Come Out Tonight

Phil expresses the desire for being together, for just having someone to lean on. Feelings, he says, are more important than any words that could be said about this.


by Claudia Moll (lyrics) and Andreas Bonder (music)
translated by Martin Klinkhardt
first published in German in it magazine #9 (December 1993)
*) Please note that the “quotations” are actually re-translations. Though the general sense has been retained the actual wording may well have been different.

Phil Collins


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