TotW 09/22/2018 - 09/28/2018: GENESIS - Squonk

  • What do you think about "Squonk"? 18

    1. 12 points - good + (5) 28%
    2. 14 points - very good (4) 22%
    3. 15 points - outstanding! (3) 17%
    4. 13 points - very good - (3) 17%
    5. 11 points - good (2) 11%
    6. 06 points - sufficient + (1) 6%
    7. 10 points - good - (0) 0%
    8. 09 points - satisfactory + (0) 0%
    9. 08 points - satisfactory (0) 0%
    10. 07 points - satisfactory - (0) 0%
    11. 05 points - sufficient (0) 0%
    12. 04 points - sufficient - (0) 0%
    13. 03 points - poor + (0) 0%
    14. 03 points - poor (0) 0%
    15. 01 point - poor + (0) 0%
    16. 00 points - abysmal (0) 0%

    GENESIS - Squonk

    Year: 1976

    Album: A Trick Of The Tail [album review]

    Working title: Indians

    Credits: Banks, Rutherford

    Lyrics: Yes

    Length: 06:30

    Musicians: Phil Collins, Tony Banks, Steve Hackett, Mike Rutherford

    Played Live: 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1983/84 (parts of it in a medley)

    mp3 downloads: iTunes

    Cover versions: none


    Notes: Squonk was the starting gun for post-Gabriel Genesis. It was the first song Collins sang in the studio because he simply sang it better than all the candidates the band tried out. A Led-Zeppelin-esque "heaviness" had frequently been noticed in the song. It was played live mainly in the 1970s.




    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!

    ...cried a voice in the crowd.


    Edited once, last by martinus: Squonk was also played on the Duke tour in 1980. (Thanks you, backdrifter) ().

  • No wonder nobody else could sing this, the verses are like spoken lyrics set to random notes, really a tough one if you're trying to show a new band you can sing their new songs.

  • 14 points from me. A real classic. What always grabs me, is the drumming. Incredibly powerful. One of Phil`s highlights as a drummer.

    First we learned to walk on water.

    Then we tried something harder.

    - Red Seven -

  • One of the best tracks on arguably their best album. Almost a genre on it's own.

    Ian


    There is a church bell

    That rings on the hour

    Filling the streets

    Stopping the world awhile

  • Nearly Outstanding. And in comparison to other tracks of the band it's quite unique. It's a shame they didn't do that live in later years, 2007 for example. Maybe it would have worked with Ray Wilson in 1998?


    14 Points

  • Interesting how you all rate this song as outstanding. I gave 12 points, it's a good song but imho the "worst" on A Trick Of The Tail, meaning as good as it is, all the other songs on that album still surpass it.

  • Interesting how you all rate this song as outstanding. I gave 12 points, it's a good song but imho the "worst" on A Trick Of The Tail, meaning as good as it is, all the other songs on that album still surpass it.

    I have the same feeling, but it was a track that grew over time. It's better than the title track, but the rest of the album is simply something else.

  • I always find it interesting how opinions can vary even within the fan-base of a single band, though I suppose with Genesis it's expected in that there are different 'versions' of them.


    Squonk is good, I like it but while I don't think it's outstanding I'm quite baffled that anyone would find it nowhere near as good as, say, MMM and RA&B, which for me are the two problem tracks that prevent this being the classic album that it is for so many fans.


    This is a track that loses something in the Seconds Out version. As I remember it from the BBC recordings, the Duke Tour rendition was a much better live version. It must have been an exhausting song to sing.

    Abandon all reason

  • The story of Squonk is based on the descriptions of a curious animal called the squonk that have been passed on since the early 19th century in Pennsylvania. After 350 years in which the bearers of the indigenous North American folk legends were cast out, exploited, killed and generally treated in similarly friendly ways, people develop a desire for a "local legend", and out comes the squonk. Such are the blessings of Western culture.

    Back to the topic: Squonks are said to be extremely shy, extremely ugly, and can dissolve into a puddle of water in extreme danger. The song is about a hunter who captures a squonk with a trick and carries it home in his bag. In the end the bag has some water damage. (My guess is his fellow hunters would have shared a grin: "A squonk, yeah right. You just haven't trained your dachshund properly, that's where that comes from").


    The song alludes to the nursery rhyme of Humpty Dumpty, but I think it is an allusion for allusion's sake (Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, / Humpty Dumpty had a great fall, / All the King's horses and all the King's men, / Couldn't put Humpty together again.The parallel is, of course, that neither creature can be put together again.


    The lyrics allude to another fairy-tale, the Ugly Duckling by Hans-Christian Andersen. Those who are more familiar with English fairy-tales and nursery rhymes will probably be able to find more allusions, but I will leave it at that. Squonk just is not one of the Genesis songs I enjoy. In fact, it prompts me to press "next". It is too affected and it has this unpleasant odour of "Oh yes, let's write a song with a funny story."

    It appears that Squonk was the first song Genesis wrote after Peter Gabriel had left. There are first songs. There are best songs. Most rarely does a song belong to both groups.


    6 points.

    ...cried a voice in the crowd.


  • It is too affected and it has this unpleasant odour of "Oh yes, let's write a song with a funny story."

    I do find some of their story songs quite cringey. But as I said in another thread, I tend not to focus much on lyrics anyway. Just as well, as I have little interest in hearing people sing about the activities of wolves, cats, mice and squonks.

    Abandon all reason

  • A TRICK OF THE TAIL is an outstanding album, arguably the group's best. In the wake of Peter's departure the remaining four really showed what they could do.


    There's hardly a song on it that I can imagine being sung by Peter, or by anyone else other than Phil.


    "Squonk" may not be the best that the album has to offer, but I've always liked it -- especially the way it comes crashing in after "Entangled."


    I have to say, Phil's lead vocal on "Squonk" does sound a bit unpracticed, as one might expect since it's his first shot at being Genesis' new lead singer.

    Monsieur Neddy wears spectacles in bed, that he may see dreams more clearly.

    -- "Dream Gerrard," Traffic

  • Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, / Humpty Dumpty had a great fall, / All the King's horses and all the King's men, / Couldn't put Humpty together again.

    Their mistake was, of course, letting the horses have the first go. :)

    Ian


    There is a church bell

    That rings on the hour

    Filling the streets

    Stopping the world awhile

  • I would give it around 12 points. I have never cared much for the lyrics/story, which I found a bit too cute-sy. Musically I like the straightforwardness and aggression of the main verses and choruses. A bit weaker are the link back to the chorus ("Mirror mirror on the wall..."), the bridge ("All and all you are a very dying race..."), and the outro, all of which seem a bit insipid in contrast. There are few studio versions that I prefer over the live versions, but I do prefer the studio version as the sound is much crisper and more powerful.

  • I do find some of their story songs quite cringey. But as I said in another thread, I tend not to focus much on lyrics anyway.

    I pay attention to lyrics (as I said at probably great length in the Fountain of Salmacis TotW, but it is always the music that comes first. With Squonk, it's the music and the lyrics that I, frankly, do not enjoy that much.

    ...cried a voice in the crowd.


  • A very good one, musically atypical for Genesis and I think it was one the first attempts to be more ''powerful''. I like the drums but Phil was never really satisfied with them, I can see why, he was trying to channel Bonzo and he didn't quite get it right. I personally love the lyrics, they work on several levels. Phil does a fine job vocally but perhaps the song was a bit too big for him back then. He was clean, crisp and professional but I feel more could have been done with it and later live versions convinced me of that even more. A solid 12 for me.