Rank the instrumentalists' first/only vocal albums

  • At various times between 1978 and 1983, each of the major non-lead-singing G-men basically said, "Hey, I'm going to try singing lead on a whole album."


    If you've heard all four of the resulting albums, how would you rank them? (Taking into account all factors, not just the singing.) Here is my ranking:


    1. Tony - THE FUGITIVE

    The first solo albums by Tony & Mike (A CURIOUS FEELING and SMALLCREEP'S DAY) seem like they would often be compared to each other; each was fairly lengthy, fairly progressive, and used a guest vocalist throughout. In the same way, comparisons between THE FUGITIVE and ACTING VERY STRANGE also seem inevitable. While I prefer SMALLCREEP'S over CURIOUS to a definite extent, FUGITIVE positively blows ACTING away in my opinion. Tony's singing is somewhat stronger than Mike's, but it's the quality of the actual songs that makes the difference for me. One of my favorite Genesis-related solo albums.


    2. Ant - WISE AFTER THE EVENT

    Ant's albums don't get much more ambitious or progressive-rock-oriented than this one. To me, though, the quality of both the songs and the singing is a little uneven. In particular, Ant's little "creaking" effect damages some of the best songs here. He would do much better singing later on, especially on INVISIBLE MEN.


    3. Steve - CURED

    Steve is, of course, the only one of the four who went on to sing multiple vocal albums. On CURED he was just getting started and didn't quite seem to know what he was doing yet; in particular, he focuses a bit too much on the upper part of his range. Even at this point, though, he was the most confident-sounding of the four. Unfortunately CURED is brought down by drum machines and rather weak pop songwriting.


    4. Mike - ACTING VERY STRANGE

    What can I say? Not only are the songs mostly nothing special to begin with, but poor Mike doesn't manage even one passable lead vocal here. (I'd say he comes closest on "A Day To Remember.") His album even used backing vocalists, unlike the other three. At least he eventually gave us a passable vocal on "Making A Big Mistake." Too bad he didn't sound more like that on ACTING.

    It often takes more wisdom to unlearn what's wrong than to learn what's right.

    Edited once, last by DecomposingMan ().

  • Steve just edges it to no 1 for me, yes, his singing is not great, but there are enough (just) good moments, and the single, Hope I don't wake, is a fine effort all round.


    2nd, for me, is Mike. Yes, the vocals are "an acquired taste", but the arrangements are good and the songs are strong.


    3rd is Tony, I'm not convinced his vocals are better than Mike's for the most part, but the songs are variable, and the arrangements at times are bland. He's a good musician, but, like Freddie or Brian in Queen, he needs others to get the best out of him.


    Ant's album I don't know, so can't rank it.

    Ian


    Works with chess - Not with life

  • To my tastes, Tony and Ant pull off the vocals substantially better than the other two.

    Wise After The Event is far and away my favourite of the four albums. It’s the only one of this bunch that would probably be in my Top 10 or top dozen G-men solo albums.

    The Fugitive is a decently balanced album - one which doesn’t seem to suffer from the highs and lows of some of Tony's subsequent releases, IMO.

    Cured isn’t horrible but I think any of its redeeming qualities are brought crashing down by the studio-enhanced vocals and the cheesy-sounding drum machine.

    Speaking of redeeming qualities, I do like Mike’s vocals on “Hideaway” – it is the only song on AVS that I actually do like. The rest of album for me is intolerable.


    My ranking:

    1. Wise After The Event – Anthony Phillips

    2. The Fugitive – Tony Banks


    3. Cured – Steve Hackett

    4. Acting Very Strange – Mike Rutherford

  • Speaking of redeeming qualities, I do like Mike’s vocals on “Hideaway” – it is the only song on AVS that I actually do like.

    That was also the only song Mike himself felt "really worked" on the album. Personally, I think he pulls off the verses fairly well, but not the choruses for the most part.


    P.S.: I'll admit that my fondness for THE FUGITIVE is based on the original version without the 2 bonus tracks. They don't contribute to the high rating I give it, but they're also not enough to bring it down to 2nd place.

    It often takes more wisdom to unlearn what's wrong than to learn what's right.

    Edited once, last by DecomposingMan ().

  • ...

    P.S.: I'll admit that my fondness for THE FUGITIVE is based on the original version without the 2 bonus tracks. They don't contribute to the high rating I give it, but they're also not enough to bring it down to 2nd place.

    I always felt there was something very Genesis-esque about "K2," one of the two bonus tracks.

    It is probably my second-favourite song on the album, behind "Man of Spells."

  • I know I am terribly biased, but:


    1. Acting Very Strange. Mike's voice isn't the best, but I still like it, and I find the songs to be catchy and enjoyable. Mike's already showing how good he is at writing a pop song.


    2. The Fugitive. I like the kind of funky vibe, and his Al Stewart-esque vocals. It's richer than Mike's, but it has more songs that I skip.


    3. Wise After the Event/Cured tie. I find both albums charming, but I prefer the music on Ant's, and the vocals on Steve's, but only by very small margins.

  • [Mike's] album even used backing vocalists, unlike the other three.

    Slight correction: I looked at the credits on Ant's album, and it has Rupert Hine credited with backing vocals. That surprised me because all the vocals seem to sound like Ant. So Rupert must be well-hidden in the midst of Ant's own backing vocals, unlike Mike's very up-front supporting singers.

    It often takes more wisdom to unlearn what's wrong than to learn what's right.

  • I would say the only one worth commenting on is Tony. Not only does he make a decent fist of carrying a whole album as a vocalist but, since then, he has sang at least one song on each of his albums. His voice seems a cross between John Lennon and Neil Tenant and is quite appealing.

  • since then, he has sang at least one song on each of his albums

    Actually, he made 4 more non-orchestral albums after that but only sang 2 more songs, one on BANKSTATEMENT and one on STILL. And both vocals are better than anything on FUGITIVE.

    It often takes more wisdom to unlearn what's wrong than to learn what's right.