Most Untypical Genesis Song

  • I think CAS is quite atypical. Rockier than normal for them.


    Although it's harder to say what a typical Genesis song is. If you ask Alexa to play music "like Bryan Adams" for example, she'll say "sure, here's a playlist featuring artists like Bryan Adams" and proceed to play hours of music that sounds just like Bryan Adams (I've never done this as I don't like him, but I did Fleetwood Mac and The Dooby Brothers while my parents were visiting and the effect was what I'm trying to describe). But if you do it with Genesis, you get a playlist full of stuff that really doesn't sound like Genesis because I don't think anything sounds like Genesis. Maybe because they don't have one 'sound'?. It'll be a bunch of artists that are lumped in with them like Yes and Elton John.

  • Thinking about what makes the 'typical' Genesis sound throughout the years, I would say first of all both Peter and Phil have unusual voices as they always tended to sing in a higher register but their voices are nothing like falsetto singers such as Jon Anderson or Roger Hodgson. Nor do they have the lower register sound such as an Ian Anderson. They are not even like any of the Beatles' voices or any singer who tries to sound like that, and they are not rock singers either. They are pretty unique, then again they are quite similar. That's the first reason CAS sticks out so much.


    On top of that, Tony's chords always stand out, even in a pop song like Jesus He Knows Me he couldn't hide it's Tony Banks who is playing. In the 70's era they keyboard sounds stood out too very much - a hammond as played on Twilight Alehouse was yet pretty standard, later on though Tony's way of supplying the synth with that spheric hammond became unique, that said his way of employing the ARP Pro Soloist is unique as well - later on this got lost mostly but not entirely. Invisible Touch is the one album that sounds most atypical for having Tony Banks as a keyboardist imho.


    Finally, the 70's were also the time that Steve added his particular guitar playing, both in playing as well as in sound he is remarkably different from other guitarists of that era; and Mike's 12-string and maybe even more his bass playing add the topping. All of this got lost to a good deal later on but never entirely. Even CAS has traces of Mike's 12-string.


    So.... as most atypical albums I would name FGTR, Abacab, Invisible Touch and CAS, probably no surprise. The most atypical song is harder to define...

  • Fleetwood Mac and The Dooby Brothers

    Tom Johnston-era or Michael McDonald-era Doobie Brothers? Two very different things!


    And it must have been Stevie Nicks-era Fleetwood Mac, because (as I understand it) the band sounded very different in its early years from what most people think of as Fleetwood Mac.

    falsetto singers such as Jon Anderson or Roger Hodgson.

    Just a minor nitpick: I'm not sure about Roger Hodgson, but Jon Anderson is not a falsetto singer, as he is often called. He just naturally has a really high voice.

    "Just because you're smart doesn't mean you're not stupid."

    -- attributed to a former Mensa president


    Never assume that the loudest voices are necessarily the ones telling the truth.

  • Tom Johnston-era or Michael McDonald-era Doobie Brothers? Two very different things!


    And it must have been Stevie Nicks-era Fleetwood Mac, because (as I understand it) the band sounded very different in its early years from what most people think of as Fleetwood Mac.

    Whatever version of the bands Alexa chose! I don't know them well at all, it was for my parent's benefit. I quite like a lot of their music but couldn't list any beyond a selection of tracks from a 'best of' collection.


    I guess she'd run into the same problem with Genesis. Actually I'm imagining a funny dialogue where Alexa gets exasperated. "Alexa play music like Genesis". "Thanks, as you should know Genesis have at least two distinctly different phases, you need to clarify which Genesis".

  • Agree. Having played much of Genesis' catalogue from the '70s, I can attest to the fact that their chord and arpeggio structures are bizarre, not to mention all the alternate tunings that Rutherford used during that period. And I mean weird.... Also, Banks' chords are certainly not "traditional" by any stretch (I'm not a keyboardist but I certainly remember our keyboardist scratching his head on occasion). And though the music became much more streamlined in the '80s, some of that weirdness persisted (e.g.: Turn it on Again is in altered tuning). That greatly differentiated Genesis form other prog bands of that era. The only other musicians I can think of that did a lot of this were Joni Mitchell and David Crosby.

  • Definitely for me. No Reply At All. Whatever Genesis is, it's not that. There are a couple other atypical songs in that vein, Paperlate for one but NRAA sticks out as its there on an album. Over the past 40 years or so it's grown on me a little but I still can't say I like it.

  • Even the fact they kept it a jam session in live versions is completely untypical Genesis.

    I'd say that is the single most unusual thing they ever did. I love listening to the various versions of it and always wish they had let themselves off the leash like that more often. I don't mean every night being Jazz Odyssey, "hope you like our new direction" but just the odd occasion in subsequent tours.

    Abandon all reason

  • I'd say that is the single most unusual thing they ever did. I love listening to the various versions of it and always wish they had let themselves off the leash like that more often. I don't mean every night being Jazz Odyssey, "hope you like our new direction" but just the odd occasion in subsequent tours.

    “Jazz Odyssey”—classic 😂 Always chancy, especially when played to a festival audience.

  • I have to say, I'm not a connoisseur of The Waiting Room live, as in I don't know of the different jams but I'm excited to listen to a few now. Can't agree more with Backdrifter here, they are so talented it would have been a thrill if they had experimented a bit more with their ample toolbox.


    I have a big soft spot for No Reply At All. Don't know why. I think a big part is the emotion Phil puts into the vocal in the little break. As an aside, I'm sure a neutral observer would point out that a song like No Reply At All is a remarkably deep use of their toolbox coming from a background of Watcher of the Skies and Firth of Fifth etc. I meant live experimentation.

  • I liked NRAA from the very start. It sounds exactly what it is, a really good quality pop song done by a very talented, skilful creative rock band. It's a perfect concise demonstration of how they applied all the same things and musical integrity that created Firth, Watcher etc - they just applied them differently and in a way many don't like. But it absolutely is 100% Genesis.


    I especially like the middle section and the bass work.

    Abandon all reason

  • I liked NRAA from the very start. It sounds exactly what it is, a really good quality pop song done by a very talented, skilful creative rock band. It's a perfect concise demonstration of how they applied all the same things and musical integrity that created Firth, Watcher etc - they just applied them differently and in a way many don't like. But it absolutely is 100% Genesis.


    I especially like the middle section and the bass work.

    I liked No Reply when it was first released and to me it has aged just fine. It’s a well crafted pop song with interesting arrangements and cord changes, certainly much more so than a song like Invisible Touch.