TotW 01/04/2020 - 01/10/2020: GENESIS - No Son Of Mine

  • What do you think about "No Son Of Mine"? 16

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    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!


    GENESIS - No Son Of Mine
    Year: 1991
    Album: We Can't Dance
    Working title: Elephantus
    Credits: Banks, Collins, Rutherford
    Lyrics: Yes
    Length: 06:36
    Musicians: Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford
    Played Live: 1992, 1997, 1998, 2007
    Cover versions: none (?)

    Notes: This track was the first single from We Can't Dance back in 1991 and it became a hit on both sides of the Atlantic. The track also marked probably their most successful period and was one of the reasons why We Can't Dance became that successful. And it's not a simple pop track, more a track with a typical epic Genesis atmosphere ....
  • 12 Points from me. At the time it was a standout track for me, it was also the first Genesis album that I experienced being released (remember the excitement). I was 15 back then ...


    Today, it's still a strong track, but even on We Can't Dance we have 2 or 3 better tracks.

  • The first Genesis song I ever listened to, and that's why it's part of my username. I love this song and it still makes me emotional to this day.


    By the way, One For The Vine hasn't been my favourite Genesis song in years now. My favourite is currently The Musical Box. In fact... I hate to admit it, by One For The Vine has fallen down my ranking of my absolute Genesis favourites by several places. In fact I don't think it's even my favourite on WAW anymore. Is it a good song? Hell yeah! But I've found that I perhaps overrated it a bit all those years. As I grow older, my tastes continue to change. I'm 27 now! :O When I joined the forum, I was 18!

  • Musically it's OK, nothing more, though there are one or 2 interesting moments, but lyrically, this is probably the worst song they ever recorded. If you wrote a play based on the story in this song, the audience would walk out before it was halfway through. Why would the son care or put himself through any of it, having escaped? Laughable, truly laughable. I can only guess they came up with the hook, "No son of mine" while jamming, and felt compelled to make a story to fit.


    Seems the TotW is plundering my "don't like" list at present! ;)

    Ian


    There is a church bell

    That rings on the hour

    Filling the streets

    Stopping the world awhile

  • Musically it's OK, nothing more, though there are one or 2 interesting moments, but lyrically, this is probably the worst song they ever recorded. If you wrote a play based on the story in this song, the audience would walk out before it was halfway through. Why would the son care or put himself through any of it, having escaped? Laughable, truly laughable. I can only guess they came up with the hook, "No son of mine" while jamming, and felt compelled to make a story to fit.


    Seems the TotW is plundering my "don't like" list at present! ;)

    I would only say it isn't that easy to just escape your family. There are always lingering feelings of guilt, that you should try & make an effort. The narrator in this song is very conficted about his feelings for his father. He feels he should try & heal the rift. It doesn't work. I think it's very sad & very powerfully delivered.

  • I would only say it isn't that easy to just escape your family. There are always lingering feelings of guilt, that you should try & make an effort. The narrator in this song is very conficted about his feelings for his father. He feels he should try & heal the rift. It doesn't work. I think it's very sad & very powerfully delivered.

    He tries twice. Head, banging and wall spring to mind. I know someone who has been in this situation, he knew when to call it quits, luckily.

    Ian


    There is a church bell

    That rings on the hour

    Filling the streets

    Stopping the world awhile

  • No question, this is a truly outstanding track. Their comeback single after five years, the difference in sound was immediately appparent. Gone were the synth drums and polished sound of Invisible Touch, replaced now with a much more organic feel. Phil's voice hadn't sounded this passionate since Mama but by now he'd ditched the compressor that he'd used to such great effect throughout the eighties, allowing for a more natural vocal sound.


    The ticking of the clock, followed by an elephantine growl certainly makes for an unusual opening and the narrative-based lyrics recalls the band's strength for story-telling. At the song's climax, Mike crowns the whole thing with a great solo amidst crashing drums and angst-ridden vocals.


    I remember getting the digipack CD single back in '91, backed with Invisible Touch (live) and Living Forever, which gave a lot of hope for the forthcoming album with its cynical lyrics, Banksian chord changes and extended instrumental section. And the cover art by Felicity Roma-Bowers was just beautiful.

  • He tries twice. Head, banging and wall spring to mind. I know someone who has been in this situation, he knew when to call it quits, luckily.

    Absolutely fair enough in your acquaintance's case I'm sure, but not everyone is cut from that same cloth. To pick up on the comment from FeelItComing I've equally known a couple of people with past experience of abuse who have felt compelled to see the abusive relative again. As mentioned, the feelings and motivations of the survivors can be very complex and, to the rest of us, baffling but it does happen. Again, as FIC said, family bonds can sometimes remain strong and pull the survivor back in even with such horrible past events.


    And I've known of survivors who left the first second they possibly could, never to return.


    Humans are complicated...

    Abandon all reason

  • Getting back to the lyric, there's a very minor thing that makes me smile as it brings to mind my English teacher Mr Jeffries. He advised against ambiguity, such as "I scratched my head with my dog by my side." He'd point out you weren't literally using the dog by your side to scratch your head. Similarly - "I rang the bell with my heart in my mouth" would've had him asking if the narrator had his heart clenched between his teeth while pushing it against the doorbell.

    Abandon all reason

  • Getting back to the lyric, there's a very minor thing that makes me smile as it brings to mind my English teacher Mr Jeffries. He advised against ambiguity, such as "I scratched my head with my dog by my side." He'd point out you weren't literally using the dog by your side to scratch your head. Similarly - "I rang the bell with my heart in my mouth" would've had him asking if the narrator had his heart clenched between his teeth while pushing it against the doorbell.

    I don't know how else you could say it except for 'as I rang the doorbell, my heart was in my mouth' or 'I felt my heart in my mouth'.

  • I don't know how else you could say it except for 'as I rang the doorbell, my heart was in my mouth' or 'I felt my heart in my mouth'.

    Indeed, it has to scan and the line sounds right, which is the main thing. Ultimately, as Collins himself said when asked about a lyric, it doesn't matter, it's just a song.

    Abandon all reason