And Then There Were Three - Thoughts?

  • Just had a re-listen to the whole remastered version of the album.

    I had always considered this a bit poppy and also the absence of Steve pervaded my thoughts as I always listened in the past.

    Today, I appreciated the songwriting, lyrics and many references to the old Genesis sound still there in the background.

    Standout tracks:

    Undertow - would love to hear Peter Gabriel sing this.

    Snowbound - Crafty lyrics disguising a bittersweet song from Mike.

    Many Too Many - Classic Genesis - they can still pull it off, even if there's only three of them.

    Follow You, Follow Me - Genesis do a love song and yet still manage to include a prog keyboard solo!

    Burning Rope - great tune, possibly even better live?

    Deep In The Motherlode - great lyrics.

    It's taken me many years to come round to this album. It was originally given to me almost forty years ago in school by a chap who sat next to me as he knew I liked Genesis.

    I was heavily into the Stagnation,Musical Box, Hogweed, Lamb, Suppers ready era and I took the tape home expectantly. Compared to the earlier stuff it disappointed me, but today all these years later, listening to it in isolation and without comparison I am enjoying it!

    "She looks at me and gently smiles, as if she knew I'd ask her all the time..."

  • And Then There Were Three was a solid transitional album but the loss of Steve Hackett is felt throughout. The songs sound a bit unfinished to me; almost like they were b-sides from prior sessions.

  • Even though the songs are shorter, I hear a lot of elements that are reminiscent of previous Genesis albums. And that’s why I have always regarded it as the tail end of the so-called classic era that began with Trespass.

    ATTW3 was my introduction to Genesis and to this day I thoroughly enjoy listening to this album from beginning to end.

    However, I can understand why those who were followers prior to 1978 might have been disappointed with an album of uncharacteristically shorter songs, especially on the heels of Steve Hackett’s departure.

  • It has two of my absolute favourite Genesis tracks, Down & Out and Many Too Many. And the worst track they ever did, Scenes From A Night's Dream. Snowbound is pretty bad too. That best and worst combination sums up what an uneven mess this album is for me.

    I do like Undertow but as with Burning Rope the lyric is Banks at his most embarrassingly overblown.

    Follow You Follow Me is good. That completes the 4 tracks I ever bother with on this album.

    Definitely a transitional album and while I don't like it as a whole piece of work, if it enabled them to move on to the two infinitely better albums to follow then it served its purpose.

    Abandon all reason

  • It's one of three albums in their career that stand alone for me (the other two being the first album and the last) insofar as it doesn't seem to belong to any specific era. Soundwise, it's a bit like W&W, very mellow (same producer, same studio) and obviously the shorter format for the songs (done, it seems, out of necessity while Mike found his feet as a guitarist) pointed towards the future. I never regarded it particularly highly in the Genesis canon. Except for Motherlode, Many Too Many, Undertow and Follow You I always found the songs pretty unremarkable.

  • I always liked this album, from the day it came out. Always though it had a great energy and power to it, but without losing the 'Genesis sound'. Very strong melodies and, for me, Mike's playing on this album is better than on any subsequent one. I've always slightly preferred this album to Duke, though that's great too, and closer to the 'old' Genesis sound. I enjoy every track on ATTWT, but my favourites may be Deep In The Motherlode and Say It's Alright Joe. Funnily enough, my least fave is Follow You, Follow Me, though I don't mind it. Probably the thing I like the least about this album is actually the cover! (Though it's better than any of the covers that came after it!)

  • Undertow - would love to hear Peter Gabriel sing this.

    I can appreciate the sentiment but I think one of the many reasons why he left Genesis is because he was done singing stuff like this: melody and lyrics. It is simply not what he wanted to do. I personally like it, a lot, I would have liked it more if they hadn't decided to edit it heavily but it's really not Peter's cup of tea.

    Edited once, last by Fabrizio ().

  • I made my feelings about ATTW3 clear in the past, several times but since these threads resurface every once in a while, I suppose there is no evil in reiterating things again. A transitional album for sure, with the band apparently unsure which way to go. They just suffered a defection with Steve and had faced a potential one with Phil, going through personal issues and unsure about his role in the band and the music they were making, to the point he even considered joining the Who. I like the album for nostalgic reasons, I was 18 when I first listened to it, around 1980 I guess, it is impossible for this reason not to look back fondly on it. Musically though a very mixed bag and imo their weakest album up to that point. I found myself skipping songs which had never happened with a Genesis album before. There's a lack of energy and grit, they luckily will find again on Duke and all this, is perfectly mirrored by Phil's singing which to me sounds quite unconvincing and unconvinced, after his excellent performances on Trick and W&W. I would have loved to have something like Down&Out on Duke for instance and hear what Phil would have done with it, on ATTW3 the song sounds too big for him. Steve's absence is felt soundwise, Mike's playing doesn't go beyond adequate and for a band like Genesis, it is nearly not enough. In terms of songwriting, some songs are so weak that probably a couple of Steve's songs could have made things better. I don't think of him much as a songwriter, at least not the kind who saves the day but he had displayed quite the good form on W&W, so who knows? Even Banks, certainly the pillar of the band at the point doesn't appear to shine. His songs are imo still the best on the album but don't particularly stand out in the Banks' songbook. In recap, I like D&O, Undertow, Rope, Motherlode, MtM, I can listen to Snowbound and FYFM is pretty little thing. The rest is imo quite bad, including the Lady lies, I never really understood what people can hear in that one. Verses and chorus are amongst the weakest and unspectacular Tony has ever written.

    Edited 3 times, last by Fabrizio ().

    • Official Post

    In addition to (and perhaps in contradiction to) what I said in my re-assessment of ATTW3 I am also going to use the term "transitional album", but I have come to think that the "transition album period" extends across Duke and Abacab, too. And Then There Were Three is the band re-configuring as a trio. It shows the band are very aware of where they were coming from and very unsure about where they want to go. They try out stuff. Duke sees them exploring another musical direction; Abacab yet another, and this time a radically different direction; from the self-titled album onwards there is something I would, with some slight hesitation, tend to call stability (which is not, repeat: not, stagnation). And Then There Were Three has the additional burden of Mike having to find his feet in the big shoes Steve Hackett left as lead guitarist.

    It is, perhaps, also worth noting that Peter Gabriel is going through a similar transition on his first two solo albums - almost simultaneously to ATWW3.

  • Duke sees them exploring another musical direction; Abacab yet another, and this time a radically different direction; from the self-titled album onwards there is something I would, with some slight hesitation, tend to call stability (which is not, repeat: not, stagnation)

    Yes. Although Abacab has the same upfront and direct sound that Duke has, it is much more radical and the material is, on the whole, a lot stronger (doubtless the result of the band having their own studio and therefore being able to record stuff as and when it was written as opposed to rehearsing the life out of it over and over). I remember one reviewer negatively criticising the band for not changing their formula one whit from Abacab onwards. Personally, I find such "stability" to be a good thing.

  • Deep in the Motherlode, Folllow you Follow me and the Lady Lies are very good, Many Too Many is one of the bands best songs, but otherwise, it's all largely forgettable to me.


    Putting the old-fashioned Staffordshire plate in the dishwasher!

    • Official Post

    ATTW3 is not my favourite Genesis album by far, but I do like many of the songs on their own. Many Too Many comes to mind. The Lady Lies (well, the live version of it).

    I used to think that Snowbound was a cozy-before-the-fireplace-while-it's-snowing-gently-outside winter fantasy - until I saw an interpretation of the song that argued very convincingly that the "snowman" is, in fact, someone who has frozen to death in the harsh winter climate. Now its deceivingly sweet melody has grown rather scary undertones.

  • I've always loved this album, but understand why it's so divisive.

    This was the first Genesis album I heard from beginning to end, and that may be why I regard it so affectionately. It was 1985, and I hired the cassette from the local library, having heard some Genesis on the Radio 1 Friday rock show. I had heard Dance on a Volcano, but I didn't have enough 'pocket money' to buy A Trick of the Tail. ATTWT was the only Genesis album they had in the library.

    Down and Out caught my attention straight away, which it's driving 5/4 back beat, heavy bass and rich melodies. Burning Rope and The Lady Lies were sufficiently proggy for me to enjoy and to relate to the stuff by Rush, Marillion and Yes that I'd recently heard. The softer songs like Undertow and Many too Many also pleased my ears, purely on the strength of the melodies and the emotional impact of the lyrics, notably for Undertow.

    It's a flawed album. I can appreciate that now, having explored all their albums repeatedly over many years, but it remains in my Genesis top 5 for personal reasons. We all have a 'soundtrack to our lives' and this is part of mine, as it meant so much to me in 1985. My father was terminally ill, and I just remember walking home from school on dark and cold afternoons, listening to ATTWT on my walkman. The music took me somewhere else, away from the trauma of what awaited me every day when I got home.

  • I was introduced to Genesis in 1978 and I suppose always had the feeling I’d missed the glory years, which did appear in flashes afterwards. ATTWT always feels to me to be a warm album, no challenges or great highs or lows. I like the first two tracks and follow you follow me. I also have soft spots for Snowbound and Scenes.. Many too Many is a great song. The remainder I could do without, which odd given that they are a little proggier. Alll in all it’s great that they carried on and I can find things in most of their post-Steve output to enjoy, but never again was there a whole album where I could immerse myself in every track. Maybe an age thing but then again could immerse myself in at least one solo album by each member after that time. The cover sums it up for me, nice look and warm colours but in the end doesn’t quite hit the spot. I know what Blacksword means in his/her poignant comments and I can see it would be a good album to help get you through tough times.

  • I have a strange relationship with this album. On the one hand, it has the first song that I knew was a Genesis song ("Follow You, Follow Me", of course), and I loved it (FYFM, that is). I had the album on cassette, vinyl, and the original CD - the sound was always a little muddy and crowded. This album, along with a few others when the boxsets came out, was absolutely resurrected from the remixing. (IMHO, the albums that were improved at least a little, if not a lot, in overall sound from Nick Davis' remixes: all of the Gabriel-era (except for the TLLDOB version, which has unique difficulties - however, NC and Foxtrot in particular sound much better), W&W, and our current topic ATTWT.)

    When I listen to it, I'm always struck by the thought that it's much better than I had reckoned it was. However, after listening to it, it seems to find its way to/near the bottom of the pile again. A strange phenomenon.

    Many have above have said exactly what I think of the album too: it's a transitional album. Without it, we don't get Duke and beyond. They were in a bit of a tough spot and did the best they could. Some songs I really like from it: Undertow, Burning Rope, The Lady Lies, Snowbound, Many Too Many, the aforementioned FYFM. Never a high point for me, but I'm glad it exists.

    Stepping out the back way, hoping nobody sees...

  • I only saw Genesis once, in 1978, the tail end of their run as a prog band and a time when their live show was probably at its most polished, with plenty of the 'old' tunes still being played. It was my first big concert, and I remember enjoying it thoroughly. I went and bought ATTWT shortly after that, and it became a solid part of my fledgling record collection. The funny thing is that even then I thought it didn't have much in common with my other Genesis albums (Trespass, Nursery Cryme & Live), and more with two albums that were making an impression with me then: Boston's Don't Look Back and Thin Lizzy's Black Rose.

    I've been listening to ATTWT on YT, and I find it can still move me even though it leaves me with the same dubious aftertaste, as it were, as Don't Look Back does. Ultimately I find it unfulfilling because it's rather two-dimensional in a way, as if the Band's horizons (no pun intended) had started to shrink (and dog, did they ever).

    (Black Rose, now that's another matter—total masterpiece in its genre...)

    Highlights for me are Deep in the Motherlode and Burning Rope.

  • I like how many seem to have a personal, emotional connection to this album, even acknowledging that it isn't perhaps the best of all. Ultimately, I guess it comes down to this, not the supposed perfection but what music is able to stir in us and the memories it creates.

  • On the thread to rank the albums I placed this as number 3 so you will know I love it. There is not a track I don't like. My faves are Snowbound, Burning Rope, Many To Many and Follow You Follow Me

    “Without music, life would be a mistake”