TotW 1/21/2019 - 1/27/2019: GENESIS - I Can't Dance

  • What do you think about "I Can't Dance"? 16

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    GENESIS - I Can't Dance
    Year: 1991
    Album: We Can't Dance [review]
    Working title: Blue Jeans / Heavy A Flat
    Credits: Banks, Collins, Rutherford
    Lyrics: Yes
    Length: 4:01
    Musicians: Banks, Collins, Rutherford
    Played Live: 1992, 1998, 2000, 2007
    mp3 downloads:
    Cover versions: none

    Notes: The title song (well almost) of Genesis' last album with Phil Collins is the odd one out on the record. As if the band had remembered what made the Abacab album unique, they have riffs, tinkle around on the keyboards and sing completely different from the way they sing on the rest of the album. Then they went on to create a hilarious video for the song. The concept worked, and I Can't Dance became the second world-wide hit single from the album. Genesis were suddenly "cool" with the youth, and the song spawned very different but very strong opinions in the fans. Even here, 28 years later. Or does it?

    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.


  • Oh yes I can't wait to see what this scores.


    It's okay, I don't mind it, it's got quite a nice feel. I didn't like it quite so much as a show-closer or encore, it doesn't have the 'heft' to function in that way, no matter how much they extended it and did their comedy walk.


    Re the intro above, did this make Genesis "cool with the youth"?


    The video is watchable enough, but not hilarious.

    Abandon all reason

  • I love it, have always loved it, and think it's outstanding. I love the riff & the way Phil used to mime playing harmonica. It is not for everyone. That's fair enough.

  • I love the riff & the way Phil used to mime playing harmonica.

    And when it was performed with Ray, he'd really play the harmonica -- the only time that instrument was used with Genesis, as far as I know.

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

    -- "Dream Gerrard," Traffic

  • For a light bit of silliness, I find this song quite enjoyable. The main riff is catchy, Tony has fun with percussion sounds, and the lyric is nicely self-effacing. However this is one of the few Genesis songs that I prefer the studio version over the live version. The studio version is quite tight sound-wise and the humour isn't overplayed. Live it becomes lumbering musically and the humour is pushed too hard, so it stops being funny.

  • Really? How interesting! Would have loved to have seen that!

    It can be heard on the (clearly unauthorized) LIVE IN POLAND album. And probably some bootlegs I don't know about.

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

    -- "Dream Gerrard," Traffic

  • Genesis all of the sudden had to prove they could be ''fun''.

    This wasn't all of a sudden. Even if you don't include stuff like Harold The Barrel and Gabriel's cringey "cosmic lawnmower" routine on stage, or even the miniature Phil in the Trick video, before the ICD video we'd long had the band larking about on Tiswas, and doing videos such as Keep It Dark, Illegal Alien, Land of Confusion, Anything She Does, and PC's general blokey jokey stage persona when it sank to occasional lows. In another thread I said I liked it when we had glimpses of a Genesis that had a darker edge, as with some of The Lamb. The opposite of this was their twee side, not just in certain songs but also in their notion of what was fun or funny. I don't mind Who Dunnit but when they did it live and donned silly hats and glasses etc.... *shudder* It's the equivalent of those people who show up at parties wearing a hat with an arrow through it, or a hand with a hammer.


    In a more general sense I like and applaud and join with your placing of "fun" in quotes. I really dislike that concept of FUN as implied by phrases like "It's just a bit of fun." It's usually something imposed on others by people who have a regimented idea of fun that in their minds is to be obeyed by all around them or they will be dismissed as "boring", ironically as they are usually among the most boring people on the planet. They are Fun Fascists. They will be the ones saying in a hectoring voice, as of a teacher addressing infants, "Okay everyone, we're going to play a game."


    Anyway, ahem - as you were.

    Abandon all reason

  • This wasn't all of a sudden. Even if you don't include stuff like Harold The Barrel and Gabriel's cringey "cosmic lawnmower" routine on stage, or even the miniature Phil in the Trick video, before the ICD video we'd long had the band larking about on Tiswas, and doing videos such as Keep It Dark, Illegal Alien, Land of Confusion, Anything She Does, and PC's general blokey jokey stage persona when it sank to occasional lows. In another thread I said I liked it when we had glimpses of a Genesis that had a darker edge, as with some of The Lamb. The opposite of this was their twee side, not just in certain songs but also in their notion of what was fun or funny. I don't mind Who Dunnit but when they did it live and donned silly hats and glasses etc.... *shudder* It's the equivalent of those people who show up at parties wearing a hat with an arrow through it, or a hand with a hammer.


    In a more general sense I like and applaud and join with your placing of "fun" in quotes. I really dislike that concept of FUN as implied by phrases like "It's just a bit of fun." It's usually something imposed on others by people who have a regimented idea of fun that in their minds is to be obeyed by all around them or they will be dismissed as "boring", ironically as they are usually among the most boring people on the planet. They are Fun Fascists. They will be the ones saying in a hectoring voice, as of a teacher addressing infants, "Okay everyone, we're going to play a game."


    Anyway, ahem - as you were.

    They always had their brand of humor, sometimes good, sometimes not so much, what I meant is that suddenly they didn't want to be perceived as heavy-handed and too serious and tried to inject a bit of fun in their music, video, the lyrics: Misunderstanding, Illegal Alien, Whodunnit, ICD come to mind but there are others. This kind of humor was radically different from the one they had before: ''blokey'' is a good word, I would say homely and sometimes even tasteless. There are many reasons why I like Genesis, one of which is they were strictly about the music, in the beginning they would all sit down when playing live, even the guitarist, not exactly a great stage presence, their stage outfits were impossible jumpers. The music was good though, so were the lyrics, I find something like Counting Out time funny and that was enough for me. Then they feel they have to do something like the Walk to change the perception people have of them and I truly wouldn't mind….If I liked the music but that kind of lame humor on top of lame songs is a bit too much for me to take. It is probably just me but personally I don't need hawaiian shirts in the videos and silly hats. Just keep writing good music.

    Edited once, last by Fabrizio ().

  • Kind of a unique song for the band with the power guitar riff driving the song. Abacab comes to mind as similar in that respect, but can't think of a lot of others. That said, I don't really like it all that much but I remember ICD being the most powerful moment of the WCD shows I saw which has always struck me as strange. Maybe it was the crowd energy or the fun-ness of hearing the song with other fans. Can't explain it. Gave it a 6. It was better than a lot of the stuff on the album, but not really a high point for the band IMHO.

  • By the time it came out it felt a bit like the "who Dunnit" from We Can't Dance.

    Taking a closer look, it was simply a brilliant idea. It's for sure not their best song, but it was different, it was also a bit brave to put that out as second single, but they surely made a point with it. 10 points from me for that