Continuing the album threads. For those not yet acquainted with these, we already have threads on the following albums:
For some reason the Nursery Cryme one is seriously lacking replies. Very few of us seem to want to discuss the first album to feature the "classic" line-up! The busiest of these threads so far is CAS, followed by FGTR. Interesting...
Anyway, to return to chronologically posting the album threads, we come now to The Lamb.
Could it be the most divisive Genesis album among fans? Possibly other than Abacab? If so, it says something about my own Genesis tastes as those are the two albums I like and listen to the most. When I first really got into Genesis in the late 70s, the most recent albums were W&W and Trick, and ATTWT was just coming out. But the album I listened to incessantly was The Lamb. I didn't think about it in any sort of analytical way, it was simply the Genesis music that I most liked. Now as a grown-up I do tend to analyse the crap out of stuff, and think of The Lamb as being a darker, edgier Genesis that I like very much - actually no, to hell with it, that I absolutely love.
And if The Lamb is possibly quite a contentious album among fans, I'd go further and say that the track that really caught my attention at the time and excited me was The Waiting Room. Again, I never thought "how strange they should do something like this", I simply knew that I loved it. The second half when it shifts into that fuzz-bass-based rock groove is still one of my absolute favourite pieces of rock music. It has a powerful atmosphere for me, there's something slightly skewed about it and it has a sort of dirtiness to it, yet it has unmistakable Genesis ingredients. In that sense, those couple of minutes sum up the album for me as that description can apply to the whole thing.
This is the one Genesis album on which I like every single track. There's no other that I can happily sit down and listen to all the way through. I'll do that with Abacab, and I like everything on it but it's weaker towards the end. That reminds me of something that fans and the band themselves have said, that the second half of The Lamb is weak. Yes I know they made it but they are wrong! In fact 'side 3' is for me the strongest part of the album and serves as an excellent representation of not only the album's scope, but of the range and depth and richness this band were capable of. How many other bands have ever produced whole albums, or even whole careers, with such breadth of texture and colour as that one side has?
The story inevitably comes up when discussing this album. I've never had any hang-up about it, in fact I don't especially care about it. Lyrics aren't a focus for me with any of the music I listen to, though I appreciate when there's a good one. Despite this being a story-based album, I don't find it necessary to pay attention to the story in order to enjoy the songs. From previous discussions I recognise that some here do find it necessary, which I'll never really get, but hey we all appreciate stuff in our own way. I read the story once, when I was about 15 or 16. What i got from it was, bloke who's a bit of a miscreant gets trapped in a fantasy world reflecting bits of his life and he discovers there's more to him and he's more caring than he/we thought, and oh by the way we're a bit hypocritical about sex. Beyond that I'm really not fussed and am not bothered if I've completely missed the point of the story, I just love the songs.
I've seen it said on this and the previous forum that if you "dare" to criticise The Lamb, its fans pile on. It has its critics here but I've never seen that pile-on happen; I'd certainly never do that and I absolutely get why some fans don't rank the album highly. It's very anomalous in the album sequence if you go two albums either side of it, and I've seen some here say that on its own puts them off it a bit. I get that if you like a band to have continuity, the Lamb being a bit of an anomaly might prevent you from warming to it. Personally, I usually like when bands go off on a tangential or right-angled path. If that's what Genesis did in order to produce this album, I just wish they'd done it more.