Most Untypical Genesis Song

  • Which song - if any - would you say was the least typical of the band's repertoire?


    Over the years - and certainly in the second half of their career - the band experimented with a host of different styles, some of which were more successful than others, depending on your point of view. For example, on The Lamb there was The Waiting Room - an atonal jam which was the closest that Genesis ever came to the sort of "free jazz" as performed by the likes of Ornette Coleman or Miles Davis during the early seventies - and on A Trick Of The Tail and Wind And Wuthering Phil pushed the band into Weather Report territory with Los Endos and Wot Gorilla respectively.


    Come the eighties and they really threw out the rule book. Misunderstanding tapped into a more American sound, specifically recalling Toto's Hold The Line. On Abacab, they killed as many sacred cows as they could find, abandoning musical traditions like big chords, complex instrumental passages and a tambourine on the chorus! In their place was a stripped down sound with an almost punkish attitude (indeed, Who Dunnit actively invites the comparison with punk) while influences ranged from reggae to r'n'b to the blues to a kind of industrial funk on Dodo.


    For me, the one song that really stands out, though, is I Can't Dance. The moment that guitar riff starts, you'd be hard pressed to think it was Genesis. And that is what I suppose I'm getting at: what song of Genesis's would you present to someone who didn't normally like their stuff with the proposition of "Guess who this is?"

  • Genesis' catalog has enough variety that it's difficult to say what's "typical" or "not typical" for them. As far as "not typical" goes, though, it's hard to beat the first half of "The Waiting Room."


    If it came to playing "guess who this is," however, I'd be inclined to go with something from their very early days, like "A Winter's Tale." Whether that's "not typical" isn't the point so much; it's just something the average listener wouldn't recognize as Genesis.

    The Seat Bunny!

  • Genesis' catalog has enough variety that it's difficult to say what's "typical" or "not typical" for them. As far as "not typical" goes, though, it's hard to beat the first half of "The Waiting Room."


    If it came to playing "guess who this is," however, I'd be inclined to go with something from their very early days, like "A Winter's Tale." Whether that's "not typical" isn't the point so much; it's just something the average listener wouldn't recognize as Genesis.

    Interesting that you should pick a song from the first album. Noel Gallagher (that well-known baiter of Phil Collins and writer of derivative rock and roll tunes) was recently introduced to The Conqueror and was totally blown away by it. From Genesis To Revelation is not an album that I've listened to much over the years but on revisiting The Conqueror I was similarly surprised at how good it is. It actually sounds a lot like the tunes that typified the "Madchester scene" of the nineties so it's small wonder that Gallagher was so taken with it.


    Oh, and if you familiarise yourself with Strunk And White, you'll find it's Genesis's, not Genesis' ;)  

  • The most untypical songs of Genesis for me are Who dunnit and The Waiting Room, simply because these tracks get on my tits enormously. More Fool Me is another track, which doesn’t really fit into their musical profile of the time it was recorded.

    First we learned to walk on water.

    Then we tried something harder.

    - Red Seven -

  • Quote

    Interesting that you should pick a song from the first album.

    Except that "A Winter's Tale" isn't from the first album. It's a non-album single that has commonly been included as a bonus track on reissues of the first album.


    Quote

    Oh, and if you familiarise yourself with Strunk And White, you'll find it's Genesis's, not Genesis'

    I stand corrected!

    The Seat Bunny!

  • Wrong thread, slowdancer. This isn't really about Genesis songs that, ahem, "get on your t"ts", it's about the songs that challenge preconceptions (some of which are held by people who don't know much about Genesis beyond the odd hit single and some of which are held by a fanbase who believe that the band should only operate within the strictest parameters - or, as noted Genesis fan Al Murray put it, that such progressive bands should not progress beyond what they've achieved on their first three albums) of what the band actually achieved.

  • Except that "A Winter's Tale" isn't from the first album. It's a non-album single that has commonly been included as a bonus track on reissues of the first album.

    Like I say, I've never listened to the album much, certainly not enough to know what the correct track list is. I must have bought a re-issue, though, because my copy (which "features" an awful illustration by fantasy artist Chris Achilleous) has One-Eyed Hound and That's Me on it as well as the ubiquitous Winter's Tale.

  • But don`t the songs I mentioned fulfill the parameters you put up? Apart from the fact, that they get on my tits (all the three of them)?

    First we learned to walk on water.

    Then we tried something harder.

    - Red Seven -

  • The most untypical songs of Genesis for me are Who dunnit and The Waiting Room, simply because these tracks get on my tits enormously

    The only parameters you've mentioned here are that these songs annoy you. So, no, they're not the parameters that I mentioned in my original post.

  • A lot of FGTR sounds like Crosby, Stills & Nash to me, not Genesis at all. I was very surprised when I first heard it (which admittedly was only last year...8|).


    Would The Brazilian be a controversial suggestion? I don't think it sounds much like them at all. Abacab? Dodo/Lurker? The last two are in my top 10 favourite Genesis songs (as is I Can't Dance) so perhaps I am the wrong person to ask.

  • Interestingly, Phil said that he was reminded of CS&N when he first heard Trespass (I don't know what his opinion is of FGTR).


    The Brazilian is a good choice. It was built around a sample that Tony made of Mike and Phil jamming in the studio. Of all their instrumentals, it's the most "logical". Abacab and Dodo/Lurker are also songs that I would say buck the trend of what is generally expected of Genesis. Abacab was really the first time they sounded like three guys jamming. The drums provide a solid backbeat while Tony's staccato phrasing and Mike's Stonesy guitar playing create some real distance with the past. And then you have the lyrics which are just pure nonsense!


    As for Dodo, then that has a style all its own: industrial funk over a reggae beat.


    I think all three of those pieces could be by entirely different bands, such is their diversity.

  • More Fool Me is another track, which doesn’t really fit into their musical profile of the time it was recorded.

    I disagree, I think MFM fits very nicely on SEBTP. A lovely acoustic love song to add a relaxation spot within the four giant tracks of the album.

  • Me And Virgil is a good example of a non-typical Genesis song. I'm not really sure what genre to assign to it. It just doesn't fit anywhere within in their music in my opinion. I used to like MAV but nowadays I can kind of see why the band thought little of it, and so I'm not big on it anymore.


    And yeah, the appalling Who Dunnit? is another good choice. What. Were. They. Thinking.

  • I disagree, I think MFM fits very nicely on SEBTP. A lovely acoustic love song to add a relaxation spot within the four giant tracks of the album.

    I just mentioned it here, because it has an American Soul touch, which didn`t seem to fit into the very English sound of the band at the time.

    First we learned to walk on water.

    Then we tried something harder.

    - Red Seven -

  • Who dunnit seems to be more nonsense, than anything else, which doesn`t fit to the regular seriousness of the band, especially Tony.

    The first half of The Waiting Room sounds drug induced like a song Syd Barrett would have done.

    First we learned to walk on water.

    Then we tried something harder.

    - Red Seven -

  • I disagree, I think MFM fits very nicely on SEBTP. A lovely acoustic love song to add a relaxation spot within the four giant tracks of the album.

    Quite often it's all about the sequencing. For Absent Friends isn't the band's greatest moment, for example, but its placement between two heavy-hitting songs provides some much needed relief.


    I've always loved More Fool Me. It adds some diversity to the album along with I Know What I Like.

  • Me And Virgil is a good example of a non-typical Genesis song. I'm not really sure what genre to assign to it. It just doesn't fit anywhere within in their music in my opinion. I used to like MAV but nowadays I can kind of see why the band thought little of it, and so I'm not big on it anymore.


    And yeah, the appalling Who Dunnit? is another good choice. What. Were. They. Thinking.

    The story is that when they were whittling down the songs to fit onto the album, they had a choice between You Might Recall and Who Dunnit. While the former was beautiful, the latter was ugly. They'd done songs like You Might Recall before but Who Dunnit was a real one-off so, as they were aiming to divorce themselves from their weighty past and try things they'd ever done before, they went for Who Dunnit.


    You Might Recall was the safe bet and in 1981 Genesis were not making safe bets. If You Might Recall had been on the album, everyone would have loved it. Who Dunnit, though, really divides opinion. And for that reason alone, I think Genesis made the right choice.