Absolute Peak of Genesis?

  • I love it all! From ‘When the Sour Turns to Sweet’ to ‘One Man’s Fool’. It’s all good! As I said the other day, there are some songs that just don’t do it for me, but I’ll still listen to their entire discography without hesitation.

    Or indeed, from 'The Silent Sun' to 'Run Out of Time'!


    (BTW am I right in thinking that the Not About Us single was the final release by Genesis as an ongoing band? I like the idea that 'Run Out of Time' is the "last" Genesis track, with regard to the lyrics. Did they know, or guess?)

  • Periodically we go through this discussion about Genesis "going pop/selling out". A lot of good points have been made above and I want to echo some of that and add a few points.


    Genesis has always tried to write songs that would be popular. As mentioned, The Silent Sun is a pretty blatant attempt at a single in the style of its era. Happy the Man and IKWIL are examples from the early 70s. However their attempts at pop didn't really connect with a larger audience until probably Follow You, Follow Me. And then they just kept connecting more and more successfully. At the same time they also kept creating more challenging songs that were not going to be played on pop radio.


    I think it is actually quite hard to write a pop song that really becomes a big hit. There are always people trying to write pop hits and most fail to be successful. Writing a simple song might sometimes be simple, but writing a simple song that lots of people like is not so simple. And it is a particular talent to do this repeatedly.


    And I'll say again that writing music to make money does not have to compromise the quality of the music. Some of the greatest music of all time was written to order, on commission with specific expectations. Many of the songs that stand the test of time were written very deliberately to be hits. The quality of the music has more to do with the artist than whether or not there was an objective to make money.

  • I think it is actually quite hard to write a pop song that really becomes a big hit. There are always people trying to write pop hits and most fail to be successful. Writing a simple song might sometimes be simple, but writing a simple song that lots of people like is not so simple. And it is a particular talent to do this repeated

    Very true, some revered artists couldn't write a hit to save their lives. Peter can, he needed it and did it, quite brilliantly imo, then he made again clear, it was not what he was interested in.

    Steve isn't interested and plainly can't, no matter what. Tony tried and it's really not his thing, it must eat him up inside that, with the exception of Steve, every member of the band had more commercial success than him.

    I like pop, if I'm driving and Dancing Queen comes up or even Wake me up before you go-go, I turn up the volume and sing along with gusto. Now, I never bought those singles or the albums, it was not what I was interested in. Genesis, like many other artists, didn't sellout, they simply went along, the music scene in the second half of the 80s was about that, selling records which doesn't mean that in the 70s they loathed the idea of selling more but they were all, including the record companies a bit more idealistic or naive, if you will. Genesis wouldn't have made it in the 80s, no record company would have ever indulged them and waited for them.

    I was OK with the new course, the idea of it, the execution left me sometimes perplexed. Keep it Dark, to name one, is pop and it's great, it's inventive, quirky, original. I find stuff like I can't dance, Invisible Touch, into deep and a few others plainly tacky.

    That said, I simply don't buy the ''evolution'' rationale, they so often fed to the press and the fans.

    Edited once, last by Fabrizio ().

  • That's interesting. I mean, do you genuinely find it very funny? As touched on in the Illegal Alien discussion (which I suspect might shortly land me in some bother, but hey) I think PG 'did humour' better than the others later did but even then none of their output actually strikes me as funny. There are some mildly amusing names in Battle and as I've droned on about before I love The Reverend segment, it's one of my favourite PG-era pieces. But none it is especially funny or makes me laugh or even smile, well written as it is. That said, I don't tend to look to music for humour anyway. Few musicians are any good at it and Genesis certainly weren't, especially post-PG.


    Art Vandaley I don't think your Genesis preferences make you a "nerd" or even necessarily put you in a minority.

    Hey BD. Yes. I actually do find TBOEF very humorous. It could just be the British humor I find amazing, or the voices that Peter does. As a former history teacher I also find it weirdly amusing that he says the line, you ain’t seen nothing like it, not since the Civil War. He’s comparing a wimpy gentleman’s bout, to a horrific war in which north of 600,000 soldiers were slaughtered. Like they are even close in comparison. As far as their overall humor, Genesis was actually known for incorporating humor in their songs. I do find my self smiling through some of their songs and even chuckling. I don’t necessarily look for it, but humor is definitely there.

  • 100% likewise. There are tracks here and there that have never caught fire for me, but it's a small handful. Yes, that's right Battle of Epping Frigging Forest, I'm looking at you and willing you to reveal yourself to me.

    Yep, I hear ya regarding Battle of Epping Forest. It never has really resonated for me, especially compared to the rest of the tracks on SEBTP. If I recall correctly Mike Rutherford has mentioned it as a song that was too busy and the jams never really came together.

  • Maybe it's a drummer thing, but I've always enjoyed listening to The Battle Of Epping Forest because it is such a blast to play. Phil was really on fire on the whole of Selling England By The Pound, but this one in particular is such a well crafted part.

  • Very true, some revered artists couldn't write a hit to save their lives. Peter can, he needed it and did it, quite brilliantly imo, then he made again clear, it was not what he was interested in.

    Steve isn't interested and plainly can't, no matter what. Tony tried and it's really not his thing, it must eat him up inside that, with the exception of Steve, every member of the band had more commercial success than him.

    I like pop, if I'm driving and Dancing Queen comes up or even Wake me up before you go-go, I turn up the volume and sing along with gusto. Now, I never bought those singles or the albums, it was not what I was interested in. Genesis, like many other artists, didn't sellout, they simply went along, the music scene in the second half of the 80s was about that, selling records which doesn't mean that in the 70s they loathed the idea of selling more but they were all, including the record companies a bit more idealistic or naive, if you will. Genesis wouldn't have made it in the 80s, no record company would have ever indulged them and waited for them.

    I was OK with the new course, the idea of it, the execution left me sometimes perplexed. Keep it Dark, to name one, is pop and it's great, it's inventive, quirky, original. I find stuff like I can't dance, Invisible Touch, into deep and a few others plainly tacky.

    That said, I simply don't buy the ''evolution'' rationale, they so often fed to the press and the fans.

    Er......? Steve has sold several hit albums, and one (admittedly very minor) hit single. So he's beaten Tony too.

    Ian


    Works with chess - Not with life

  • Er......? Steve has sold several hit albums, and one (admittedly very minor) hit single. So he's beaten Tony too.

    Hit albums? I guess we don't share the same concept of ''hit''. Are we talking Face Value or So magnitude? Because those are hits. I might be mistaken but I don't think that Steve came ever nowhere near to Mike and the Mechanics. As for Tony, I really don't know, I don't have the figures so you might be right but I again, I really have no idea. I am still convinced though Steve couldn't write a hit to save his life.

    Edited once, last by Fabrizio ().

  • Hit albums? I guess we don't share the same concept of ''hit''. Are we talking Face Value or So magnitude? Because those are hits. I might be mistaken but I don't think that Steve came ever nowhere near to Mike and the Mechanics. As for Tony, I really don't know, I don't have the figures so you might be right but I again, I really have no idea. I am still convinced though Steve couldn't write a hit to save his life.


    He had several solo top 20 or 40 albums, and GTR reached #11 on Billboard charts.

  • He had several solo top 20 or 40 albums, and GTR reached #11 on Billboard charts.

    Again, Tony aside, we are hardly in Peter's, Phil's or Mike's league. A hit is, I believe a #1, or at least in the top ten, isn't it? I really ought to go and check how Tony did with his albums but, I don' think it's really important, we already know two things: he wasn't as successful as the other three and, at least he had Genesis where he was, let's say substantial.

    Edited once, last by Fabrizio ().

  • I suppose the definition of a hit varies from person to person, and there are several lists or varying sizes for them. USA Billboard goes to 200, for example. But Top 20 or 40 would be considered a "minor hit" at least. I think the only album of Tony's to chart were A Curious Feeling (21) and The Fugitive was 53 or something. So in that regard, Steve did a lot better.

  • I think the only album of Tony's to chart were A Curious Feeling (21) and The Fugitive was 53 or something. So in that regard, Steve did a lot better.

    Yes,, in that regard he did. I guess Tony can take solace in the fact that to this day, Steve is still out there performing his songs.

    Edited once, last by Fabrizio ().

  • Hit albums? I guess we don't share the same concept of ''hit''. Are we talking Face Value or So magnitude? Because those are hits. I might be mistaken but I don't think that Steve came ever nowhere near to Mike and the Mechanics. As for Tony, I really don't know, I don't have the figures so you might be right but I again, I really have no idea. I am still convinced though Steve couldn't write a hit to save his life.

    Well, several top 30 albums would be hit enough for me. The Uk charts are available and searchable online. Tony had one album, I think

    Ian


    Works with chess - Not with life

  • Well, several top 30 albums would be hit enough for me. The Uk charts are available and searchable online. Tony had one album, I think

    Right, those albums took the world by storm, joking aside though when it comes to Tony and Steve, I think the fairest assessment of their solo careers would not be who's been more successful, because frankly neither was, rather who's been the least unsuccessful and I guess Steve wins there.

  • Right, those albums took the world by storm, joking aside though when it comes to Tony and Steve, I think the fairest assessment of their solo careers would not be who's been more successful, because frankly neither was, rather who's been the least unsuccessful and I guess Steve wins there.

    This is an astounding level of pedantry. "No, he wasn't more successful, he was less unsuccessful"?

  • Again, Tony aside, we are hardly in Peter's, Phil's or Mike's league. A hit is, I believe a #1, or at least in the top ten, isn't it? I really ought to go and check how Tony did with his albums but, I don' think it's really important, we already know two things: he wasn't as successful as the other three and, at least he had Genesis where he was, let's say substantial.

    I genuinely believe you might be the ONLY person in the world who thinks that. Most people would consider a hit to be anything top 40 in the UK at least, top 100 in the US I'd guess.

    Ian


    Works with chess - Not with life

  • Right, those albums took the world by storm, joking aside though when it comes to Tony and Steve, I think the fairest assessment of their solo careers would not be who's been more successful, because frankly neither was, rather who's been the least unsuccessful and I guess Steve wins there.

    Well, if you were joking, it'd be fine, but you're not, are you? Not the first time you've painted yourself into a corner with pointless, dogmatic bullshit that is clearly ONLY for effect on the forum.


    I'm pretty sure you yourself have, in the past, used the argument that chart success does not great music define, yet, here you are, trying to make that point, so I assume you prefer Madonna, or Michael Buble to Genesis, cos I suspect they have had more "charty" careers.


    We've had spats before, and you've always tried the "I'm a nice guy really" argument, sometimes even in PM's. But sadly, experience has taught me otherwise. And in case you think I seem to have a very short fuse at the moment, you'd be right, cos there are too many troublemakers on the board of late, and not enough moderation.

    Ian


    Works with chess - Not with life

  • I genuinely believe you might be the ONLY person in the world who thinks that. Most people would consider a hit to be anything top 40 in the UK at least, top 100 in the US I'd guess.

    It might be, I guess a hit is something known to the general audience, played on the radio. We all know Steve and Tony here, we are more or less aware of their output, would you say it applies to the general audience at large?

  • Almost no point haggling over what constitutes a 'hit'. Regardless of whether there's any kind of official definition it means different things to different people. Some will regard it as something they've frequently heard on the radio, or attaining a certain chart level, or an album that exceeded a certain chart life and/or reached one of the silver/gold/platinum designations. In the UK, the Guiness organisation who issued chart records list books defined a hit single as one that spent at least one week on the official top 75. Even one week at number 75, that was a hit.


    By most broad definitions Hackett's albums and singles place him above Banks in terms of chart success. Each have penned very catchy solo songs, some of which were singles, that under different circumstances could have been hits by most definitions but obviously weren't. Profile, brand, promotion, radio play, whatever factors there were meant they didn't reach that special milepost. Both have proved themselves skilled writers so it shows how hard the business of hit songs, however you define it, can be.

    Abandon all reason