Selling England By The Pound - 45th Anniversary

  • Again, I have to disagree with yet another harsh dismissal of After the Ordeal. But yes I know loads of fans dislike it so anyway, there it is.


    Personally I think SEBTP is far superior to Foxtrot and much more consistent, with Battle being the only weak point for me.

    Agreed on all but Battle, which I like, More Fool Me is the weak spot for me.

    Ian


    There is a church bell

    That rings on the hour

    Filling the streets

    Stopping the world awhile

  • Agreed on all but Battle, which I like, More Fool Me is the weak spot for me.

    I've always liked MFM. Side 1 is one of the best sequences they ever did, four completely different tracks, slotted together brilliantly well. One of the many reasons I love this band is that few others, if any, would've been capable of programming a side like that. And MFM kind of sums it up for me - two absolutely stonking but very different prog epics and a catchy quirky single, rounded off by a delicate acoustic ballad. It's a bit incongruous, unexpected, but that's why I love it. I completely get why many here dislike it and feel it's out of place but obviously I don't share that view.


    To just qualify my dismissal of Battle: I like some of the wordplay and PG's vocal dexterity and I absolutely love The Reverend. I actually think it's one of the best things they did of that era. I also admire the front to stop the song and insert a distinct segment musically seemingly unrelated to what's gone before, telling a story within the story, then smoothly take us back to the main theme. It stands out quite starkly. But the track as a whole doesn't hang together.

    Abandon all reason

  • I've always liked MFM. Side 1 is one of the best sequences they ever did, four completely different tracks, slotted together brilliantly well. One of the many reasons I love this band is that few others, if any, would've been capable of programming a side like that. And MFM kind of sums it up for me - two absolutely stonking but very different prog epics and a catchy quirky single, rounded off by a delicate acoustic ballad. It's a bit incongruous, unexpected, but that's why I love it. I completely get why many here dislike it and feel it's out of place but obviously I don't share that view.


    To just qualify my dismissal of Battle: I like some of the wordplay and PG's vocal dexterity and I absolutely love The Reverend. I actually think it's one of the best things they did of that era. I also admire the front to stop the song and insert a distinct segment musically seemingly unrelated to what's gone before, telling a story within the story, then smoothly take us back to the main theme. It stands out quite starkly. But the track as a whole doesn't hang together.

    I really dislike Battle, and can't articulate why as well as you did. It definitely doesn't hang together well but there's something very tedious about it for me, which is massively different to how I feel about pretty much any other long genesis song. It feels very forced to my ears, both music and lyrics including the vocal delivery. Even songs like burning rope that I'm not gone on have some passage or chord change that excite me but Battle is just that.... A battle that the song loses every time.


    It also knocks the album right down my list because it's such a big clunky presence in the middle. Firth of fifth is otherworldly, and after the ordeal is beautiful in the same vein as hairless heart (and a warm place by nine inch nails!), so I find it a shame there isn't a better 12 minute long track in place of Battle on there.

  • Personally, I love BoEP; It's messy, over the top and extremely busy but there's so much brilliance in it here and there that it has become very pleasant to listen to it. I agree with Phil that it should have probably been an instrumental, nor does it help that it isn't Peter's best vocal line, particularly the verses, the lyrics though are brilliant and funny. The instrumental bridges after the 'picnic' bits are a thing of beauty and the coda too, Yes, they went a bit over the top but it was an ambitious band, trying to pack a lot of creativity and different ideas into a single song. Listening to that record and now remembering it, even in its least celebrated moments, what lingers with me, apart from the beauty, is the incredible creativity of the band. They were trying really hard and personally I like that.

    Edited once, last by Fabrizio ().

  • SEBTP would be a perfect album without MFM, a twee portent of horrendous but lucrative wagons of pap to come.


    The album's still perfect AFAIC: even the most wonderful land has its muddy spots, after all :P


    I never understood the dislike some have of After the Ordeal : it's a wonderfully melodic and uplifting little instrumental, and an apt and relaxing coda to Epping Forest. Could it be that people only heard it with Tony's backhanded dig (making a point of not liking his own playing on it) in mind?

  • erm - no!

    More Fool Me is a nice interlude on that record. Quite often tracks like this make an album special.

    Never mind, Lazlor never wastes a chance to disparagingly mention their more lucrative later work - I'm just surprised that 'trust funds' and 'legacy' didn't get included.


    I completely agree with you about MFM and its place on the album. It adds to the rich mix of material. I also agree with Lazlor about Ordeal, I've never seen the problem with it but accept that for whatever reason it attracts a lot of dislike.

    Abandon all reason

  • erm - no!

    More Fool Me is a nice interlude on that record. Quite often tracks like this make an album special.

    But not always ;)


    Backdrifter, 'lucrative' isn't necessarily a bad thingand they did need to make a living, after all. I certainly don't begrudge them that.


    I just can't abide the sickly sweet stuff (post-Hackett Genesis+Collins solo career) they chose to peddle to that end and which was prefigured by MFM :|

  • But not always ;)


    Backdrifter, 'lucrative' isn't necessarily a bad thingand they did need to make a living, after all. I certainly don't begrudge them that.


    I just can't abide the sickly sweet stuff (post-Hackett Genesis+Collins solo career) they chose to peddle to that end and which was prefigured by MFM :|

    OK thanks for clarifying you don't begrudge them their earnings - you've previously sounded like you did, but I'm sure you were being mischievous.


    Interesting you think MFM is a prelude to later "sickly sweet" stuff. I don't get that at all, I find it a nicely sparse number contrasting with its surroundings in a good way, and underlines how brilliantly diverse they were. I think they did some pretty gag-inducingly twee rubbish before Hackett left though - Robbery, Your Own and Mouse's - though their lowest lows were reached just after with Snowbound and Scenes 🤢


    I totally get your dislike of elements of the trio era but I think you allow that to far too sweepingly dismiss that entire phase, and the genuinely good stuff they and (less so for me) Collins produced at that time. But I accept you obviously disagree, it's just a shame you (appear to) uniformly condemn 78 onwards.

    Abandon all reason

  • I never understood the dislike some have of After the Ordeal : it's a wonderfully melodic and uplifting little instrumental, and an apt and relaxing coda to Epping Forest. Could it be that people only heard it with Tony's backhanded dig (making a point of not liking his own playing on it) in mind?

    I can't speak for others but Tony's opinion doesn't dictate what I like or less. Ordeal imho is really lightweight, not something I have to skip but also not something to write home about. Apparently nobody within the band liked it, Tony wasn't the only one but they couldn't find a compromise, specifically on the instrumental of the Cinema Show , so it made the final cut.

  • I just can't abide the sickly sweet stuff (post-Hackett Genesis+Collins solo career) they chose to peddle to that end and which was prefigured by MFM :|

    While we seem to share the same taste regarding the excess of saccharine, I have a hard time comparing MfM with stuff they did later. I don't think they wrote it, recorded it and released it under the illusion and with the intention that it would become a big hit, like they did with , say, Into deep or Hold on my heart which proved them right and Never a time which proved them wrong. All of them quite horrendous BTW. It's just a little, harmless thing they wrote I guess, without second thoughts, just for fun.

  • "More Fool Me" and "After the Ordeal" aren't great songs, and the album would probably work without them. (It would even still be a fairly long album.) But they do make for nice breathers between the long, epic numbers. ATO, in particular, strikes me as being a perfect follow up to "Epping Forest," both in mood and in title.


    Before I heard the album, I kind of expected "More Fool Me (Vocals Phil)" -- as it was listed on the cover -- to be more of a full-band piece. Actually, when it comes down to it, neither of Phil's full lead vocals in the Gabriel era are really "Genesis" songs; they're both just Phil and a guitar player.

    Such are the times we live in, that talking about what's really going on will make you sound crazy.

  • While we seem to share the same taste regarding the excess of saccharine, I have a hard time comparing MfM with stuff they did later. I don't think they wrote it, recorded it and released it under the illusion and with the intention that it would become a big hit, like they did with , say, Into deep or Hold on my heart which proved them right and Never a time which proved them wrong. All of them quite horrendous BTW. It's just a little, harmless thing they wrote I guess, without second thoughts, just for fun.

    I'm probably being er... retroactively unfair.


    The song's quite nice, and the chorus's melody is even better. I guess what I object to is the fact that it's just that: a song – that over-milked beast that everybody and their dog have been suckling on for the last 3000 years.


    Let's be clear about one thing: I'm never saying that the Remnant's music is actually quite bad – okay, it often is, but the point lies elsewhere: the more or less natural process through which they ended up ruling MTV (remember it?) was one of devolution inasmuch as what was for all INTENSIVE (LOL) purposes an EXTRAORDINARY band finally turned into a purveyor of perfectly average pop tunes.

  • Again, I have to disagree with yet another harsh dismissal of After the Ordeal. But yes I know loads of fans dislike it so anyway, there it is.


    Personally I think SEBTP is far superior to Foxtrot and much more consistent, with Battle being the only weak point for me.

    Somehow, I don't feel those two albums belong in the same world. Foxtrot is more dystopian, while SEBTP might be a Lewis Carroll soundtrack. But I love 'em with a passion, including Battle, even though I'd really like to find a vocals-free version of it (same goes for the whole of the Lamb album).


    Seriously, guys – yes, The Battle of Epping Forest is packed to the brim with sarcastic words and gorgeous LesPaul/synth lines - so what? Are you gonna tell me that after all this time, you haven't found your way through its wonderful sonic thickets? :)


    I know some of you feel I've been trolling (can't help it – I'm French :S), but really: is it so difficult to realise that the first few albums were game-changing – exceptional works in all respects, while the later output still lags far behind Nik Kershaw's concurrent output (which I happen to love)?

  • Somehow, I don't feel those two albums belong in the same world. Foxtrot is more dystopian, while SEBTP might be a Lewis Carroll soundtrack. But I love 'em with a passion, including Battle, even though I'd really like to find a vocals-free version of it (same goes for the whole of the Lamb album).


    Seriously, guys – yes, The Battle of Epping Forest is packed to the brim with sarcastic words and gorgeous LesPaul/synth lines - so what? Are you gonna tell me that after all this time, you haven't found your way through its wonderful sonic thickets? :)


    I know some of you feel I've been trolling (can't help it – I'm French :S), but really: is it so difficult to realise that the first few albums were game-changing – exceptional works in all respects, while the later output still lags far behind Nik Kershaw's concurrent output (which I happen to love)?

    TBoEF is a song I could never get into. On paper the words are very clever and Peter does have fun with his vocal characterizations. And there are lots of great musical bits. But for me the song lacks cohesion. It feels like a bunch of stitched together bits and has far too many bits. Complexity doesn't work for me if the whole isn't greater than the sum of the parts.