TotW 05/01/2023 - 05/07/2023: GENESIS - Me And Sarah Jane

    • Official Post

    Your rating for "Me And Sarah Jane" by GENESIS 28

    1. 15 points - outstanding (9) 32%
    2. 14 points - very good (8) 29%
    3. 13 points - very good - (3) 11%
    4. 12 points - good + (3) 11%
    5. 11 points - good (2) 7%
    6. 10 points - good - (1) 4%
    7. 09 points - satisfactory + (0) 0%
    8. 08 points - satisfactory (0) 0%
    9. 07 points - satisfactory - (0) 0%
    10. 06 points - sufficient + (0) 0%
    11. 05 points - sufficient (0) 0%
    12. 04 points - sufficient - (1) 4%
    13. 03 points - poor + (1) 4%
    14. 02 points - poor (0) 0%
    15. 01 points - poor - (0) 0%
    16. 00 points - abysmal (0) 0%

    We invite you to share interesting facts and tidbits about this track. Let's look at the track in the context of the band's / the artist's history, at the music, the songwriting and all other aspects that are relevant for this track. Please do stick to the discussion of the track above. Comparisons to other tracks are okay, but remember that the other track you may be keen to talk about has or will have its own Track Of The Week thread. If you spot a mistake or if you can close a gap in the fact sheet above please feel free to contact martinus or Christian about it; we will gladly add and improve!

    GENESIS - Me And Sarah Jane
    Year: 1981
    Album: Abacab
    Working title: ?
    Credits: Banks
    Lyrics: Yes
    Length: 6:00
    Musicians: Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford
    Played live: 1981, 1982
    Cover versions: ?

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    Notes: The controversial Abacab album was the last to feature individual compositions. With Me And Sarah Jane, Tony Banks contributed a song that on the one hand bears his clear signature, and on the other hand also differs from the others. But here, too, the band's new favourite toy, the drum machine, is not stingy....




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  • I really like this track, the slightly discombobulated dreamy feeling in the opening bits, then the staccato, schizophrenic bit with Phil's yelped vocals and shuffling beat, the oblique lyrics, the trippy bridge and it finishes strong. Each part is well executed and evocative, and the juxtaposition of them makes for a very satisfying mid-length song that I enjoy coming back to. A solid 14.

  • This is in my top 10 Genesis songs and is a standout on (what's usually) my 2nd favourite Genesis album. For me it's one of Banks's best works. It's a skilful illustration of how well they managed their change of style and sound. It has the tight spacey feel of the album as a whole but also shows their prog DNA in its smoothly flowing multi-section form. I make it nine distinct parts:

    1 - the dreamy (as thewatcher put it) intro

    2 - pack on my back which is a lovely 'step-up'

    3 - the brief instrumental segment

    4 - all by yourself with its deceptively complex synth line which took me some time to 'tune in' to

    5 - the and now I'm standing on a corner reggae-tinged part, which sounds something of a Fugitive /This Is Love precursor, then the dramatic escalation - does that count as a segment in its own right?

    6 - searching for a clue (apparently Tracey's on the sand you know - where did she come from?!)

    7 - the first I'm flying breakdown part which indeed has a sort of floaty airborne aeriel-view feel

    8 - the exultant penultimate 'title segment' which is one of my favourite Genesis moments. Rutherford's work on this bit is especially good.

    9 - the quiet bookending conclusion

    Nine parts, beautifully moved through in 6 minutes and each part warranting a song in itself in other contexts - I can imagine other bands wondering that such striking segments could be so quickly dispensed with as parts of a song rather than developed into whole songs in their own right.

    Also agreed re the pleasingly opaque lyrics. I particularly like "I invent a name" which suggests everything subsequently happens in the person's head, including apparently something very climactic.

    Abandon all reason

  • Backdrifter breaks down the song a lot better than I could, but I'll go ahead and toss in my own similar (and much shorter) assessment: I always found it interesting how the song moves in linear fashion through various sections, never returning to any part after leaving it, except at the very end.

    “When the waitress asked if I wanted my pizza cut into four or eight slices, I said, ‘Four. I don’t think I can eat eight.’” -- Yogi Berra

    A soldier survived mustard gas in combat, and then pepper spray from the police. He's now a seasoned veteran.

  • It is the last "linear" song Genesis ever did, isn't it?

    I also found this the only listenable song when I heard Abacab for the first time. The album grew on me later on but Me and Sarah Jane really sticks out, like a misplaced song but what a beautiful one. It would have been a perfect fit on Duke.

  • ... Me and Sarah Jane really sticks out, like a misplaced song but what a beautiful one. It would have been a perfect fit on Duke.

    To my ears, MASJ has this Caribbean or reggae groove which is totally uncharacteristic of Genesis but fits in perfectly on an album with such diversity as Abacab.

  • I couldn’t add much more to what has already been said by others, especially Backdrifter’s excellent analysis. It’s outstanding, one of the very best of the three man, or any era. They didn’t do much that equals this afterwards. Such variety in what feels like a very coherent track. The band at one of their many peaks.

  • I always found it interesting how the song moves in linear fashion through various sections, never returning to any part after leaving it, except at the very end.

    Yes and even that end bit isn't a direct repeat of the opening. In that sense of always moving on through multiple parts and never returning to a part, it reminds me of You Never Give Me Your Money.

    Me and Sarah Jane really sticks out, like a misplaced song but what a beautiful one. It would have been a perfect fit on Duke.

    While I don't wholly share those views, they're interesting. In being a longer song that has something of their earlier feel, it's joined by Dodo/Lurker and has the overall feel of the album in general in having a more taut character than their then-previous/recent work. In that sense I personally don't think it would sit comfortably on Duke despite having some of the same piano-led nature of many songs on that album. Banks's similar-length Duke tracks Heathaze and Cul de Sac retain the lushness and grandiosity of previous work while M&SJ already, one album later, feels very different to me and all the better for it.

    Abandon all reason

  • This is one of only a few Genesis songs I can't get into as much as I've tried. I'm not sure why, but it just doesn't make my play lists. I love 99% of the stuff Tony writes, but this is in that 1% I guess.

  • Although I get why people love this track, it has never worked for me. The bits seemed stitched together without creating a greater coherent whole. Each bit feels like an underdeveloped idea. So it is one of the few I typically skip on this album.

  • In the vein of "those little bits you notice", I love the guitar in the opening bit, which is so wistful and remote - it almost feels like it's trying to reach out to the rest of the music to make something whole, and the glitchy bit that goes in the background. I can't tell which of them is responsible for that, it sounds like a palm-muted guitar.

  • 14/15

    One of their outstanding tracks from their later Period (or maybe second half?). Probably also the one track where you can easily say it's Tony's. After that it wasn't until Calling all stations I could find a typical Tony track again.

  • One of my all-time favorite Genesis songs! Great analysis by Backdrifter :) It really is amazing just how much sonic ground this track covers in a short time, yet it feels so natural as it flows from one section to the next.

  • I love this song. Along with Dodo it was my favorite on Abacab. As others have pointed out, it is absolutely amazing how many different feels and grooves Tony packed into a 6 minute song. I remember the first time I listened to the album and heard Me and Sarah Jane thinking "This is like nothing I've ever heard before." Up until that point the only other Genesis album I owned was ATTWT, which quite honestly I was not terribly fond of. Me and Sarah Jane and Dodo inspired me to dive deeper into the Genesis catalog. 10 months later I was singling along to Supper's Ready at the Merriweather Post show on the Encore Tour.