Much as I love his music ''the making of'' and ''Peter Gabriel'' in the same sentence is an oxymoron.
I hope Phil in particular takes care of himself, manages to find some sort of balance in in personal life and gets healthier. That's about it.
I just gave the album a listen (not because of this discussion), and I have to say I'm not quite in agreement with the common dislike of Side 2 as compared to Side 1.
I do understand it, though, since Side 2 has nothing on the level of "Mama" or "Home By The Sea." And then, of course, there's "Illegal Alien," which manages to be wrong about its subject matter according to every possible viewpoint; I can't take it seriously enough for it to bother me, though, and there's nothing wrong with it musically. Besides all that, once that awful edited version of "It's Gonna Get Better" is replaced by the proper full version, we have a bunch of songs that I like just fine. In fact "Just a Job To Do" is one of my favorite songs on the album.
I gave it a listen too, admittedly because of this discussion and because it had actually been a while, probably years, since I had listened to Side B properly, I suspect I'm not the only one. I wanted to see if I could dispel any preconceived idea. I partially reassessed my position on Silver Rainbow which I used to find dreadful and now I find OK but no more than that. I like the keyboards on It's gonna get better but I find the song unconvincing and meandering, the rest, I must admit, is not something that would even be in my radar if it didn't have the name Genesis on it. The only thing remarkable about Just a job to do is in my view Phil's vocal performance. Taking it all too hard sounds like an unfinished demo. Illegal Alien is just crass humor, musically it does nothing for me. Someone said the album sounds rushed, I'd agree and it makes sense considering their schedule at the time. They released Duke in 1980, Abacab in 81, 3SL in 82 and Genesis in 83, plus the solo records and all the touring. Duke aside which I find quite solid I think the material suffered a bit.
Thanks, I love stuff like this. What pop music can do when jazz musicians get at it! I never understood the arrogance of the self-acclaimed prog experts who rub their noses at brilliant music like this.
Also because, what they deem ''complex'' might be considered laughable by fans or musicians from other genres, i.e. Jazz or classical music. Don't get me wrong I like it when musicians are ambitious but it should never become a pissing contest.
Although there can be a tendency to lump complex chords with being more progressive overall, I think this is an oversimplification. As mentioned above, Carpet Crawlers (if we exclude the intro, which borrows its chords from TLLDOB) has only 6 straightforward major and minor chords, and is generally seen as part of Genesis's progressive era. Hold On My Heart has all kinds of complicated chords and yet is very much part of the more pop-oriented part of their career. I think there are other aspects of songs that can determine how pop or progressive a song is beyond the chords.
Mama, despite it being on an album with some catchier singles, is not particularly pop-oriented to my ears. It is not danceable. Tony's initial synth line is in the melodic minor scale, emphasizing the natural 6th and 7th, which is hardly a catchy intro overtop the drum machine pattern. The hook, if it even is that, is just that last line at the end of each verse. I find it odd (and great) that it was used as the lead single instead of catchier options on the album.
Complex chords or chords progression mean literally nothing and don't guarantee the song is going to be great, Hold on to my Heart is a good example, if I'm not mistaken the working title was Bacharach which is telling and the chords progression was Tony's and they are interesting chords but they decided to slap some trite lyrics on it, turn on the saccharine factor on and use some really cheesy keyboards sounds, thus drowning any sense of originality in the song. I trust many here will be familiar with Rock's Beato's YouTube channel, here's a good example of a quite complex song with an outrageously sappy melody:
I still remember sitting around with friends with the vinyl single and putting it on for the first time. We all thought "What the...?" after getting into Genesis with the likes of Firth of Fifth. But as we listened to it repeatedly, we all began to appreciate it more.
I love how it builds atmosphere, with the drum machine pattern and the low pedal note. Then Tony comes in with the eerie lead line and Mike adds a few sinister guitar notes. Then Tony's pulsing chords start to fade in. All a perfect set-up for perhaps Phil's scariest vocal performance. Yes the laugh is cool. And the walloping drums in the second half complete the picture.
This would be the peak in many a band's catalogue. For Genesis, it was one of many.
I heard Mama on the radio on Sept.5th, 83, I remember it precisely because I was packing to leave for the army the day after, I had been drafted and back then it was compulsory. I rushed off to buy the album and gave it a couple of listens. Mama was mesmerizing. I returned home for the first time in December for 1 day and in all that time I had no chance to listen to it. No radio where I was posted and back then no internet or anything. I was the singer in a band at the time and I remember trying hard to hit those high notes in Mama...I couldn't, not in a satisfactory way at least. Upon my second listen, months apart I was pretty much blown away by side A which was a relief because Abacab left me wondering if they lost it. They hadn't and while I was underwhelmed by side B, still am to this day, the quality of side A alone was enough to reassure me.
The drums machine pattern literally drives Mama, it's purely decorative and ornamental on ITAT. You literally cannot hum Mama without having that drums pattern and sound on the back of your mind. It's entirely possible you find them similar but I would suggest the drums machine is nor the nexus between them.
One of their all time classics - and it was a monster during the recent tour. 14 from me ...
I really have to disagree with that, I'm glad you enjoyed it of course but that's a power song for a vocalist, take the power away and there's little left. Just my opinion but that was painful to hear. If we praise Phil's vocal performance on it , we then have to be coherent in assessing how he sings it.
Being Genesis and not long after they left the Progressive roots of the past. I find Mama to be an OK track, nothing outstanding but just Good in my rating. I would still prefer their progressive music any day over the commercial poppier songs that transformed this great band.
I'm definitely amongst those who prefer their output from 1970 to 1980, I'm also amongst those who believed they had to change. I think with Mama they did so successfully. I can't possibly have the same connection I have with some of their tracks of the 5 or 4 man era but it is still a fantastic song, after this they went too far as far as I'm concerned.
Good song, unusual for Genesis but too simple as chords.
It's similar but don't reach In The Air Tonight.
Carpet Crawlers has an incredibly simple chords progression, I'd say it's a fantastic song anyway. As for the similarity with ITAT, personally I don't hear it. Mama is built around and upon a quite ominous drums machine pattern, ITAT, again very simple chords, is literally based on said chords on keyboards and the melodic line of the guide vocals. Yes, Phil's drum kicks in at a certain point and that sound is unmistakable but the drum fill on ITAT alone is enough to make it different from Mama.
the walloping drums in the second half complete the picturehen the drums kicked in
When the drums kicked in, I remember thinking for a moment that perhaps Phil was milking it a bit with that sound but ultimately it just fits perfectly.
A modern era classic in my view, what Genesis could and imo should have sounded like in the 80s. Fresh, new but still Genesis through and through. Arguably Phil' best vocal performance, impressive range and expression. Tony holds finally back a bit and still shines and Mike's drums machine pattern is pure genius. I gave it 14 for the sole reason that I reserve 15 to stuff like Cinema Show, Musical Box and Supper's Ready but amazing song.
PG is one of my favorite artists but I'm happy I didn't purchase this upon release, the anticipation must have been enormous and in that sense, the album is a bit of the letdown. Apart from the obvious Solsbury Hill, only Humdrum and White shadow stand our for me, I find the rest really forgettable, luckily though, by this time I had already heard PG3 and I knew what he was capable of.
With all due respect I think these drawn-out back-and-forth discussions can hit the point of diminishing returns after a while. The likelihood of anyone changing anyone else’s mind is virtually nil, and becomes even more so when the discussion is prolonged—it’s not in our nature as human to invest substantial time and effort into such an effort only to throw up our hands and admit rhetorical defeat. Perhaps it’s time for all to say peace and you’re entitled to your opinion.
You are of course right but personally I never get involved to try and change people's minds, it can't be done and I'm not interested in it, nor do I have any intention to take anything away from the enjoyment people derive from listening to stuff I might not find as interesting, again it can't be done and I wouldn't want to, it's just that the Forum tends to stagnate sometimes, as it is normal for a band that is basically done and nothing against the 'what did you have for dinner' threads but sometimes I enjoy a little debate on the subject matter, the Band and the music. I get your point of the diminishing returns but generally I'm more concerned by the fact that things get out of hand and personal when people get frustrated because they cannot cope with different opinions or their long held views are being shaken. It wasn't the case here and I'm thankful for that.
I will concede that Abacab is a polarising album, but for the rest I will leave it as we are just going back & forth here. I respect your opinions as I hope you do mine.
I must say I was actually enjoying the back and forth, I think it's the point of a Forum, as long as it's done respectfully and I think it was. Of course I respect your opinion and your desire to stop here.
FYFM on Seconds Out???? I get your point though, and I agree. It's the light and shade, power and delicacy that you get from those earlier songs and performances which appeals to me. In the 80s (and evident on 3SL) it was "BAM, we're here, we're good at what we do, take that, and that...and that" whereas in 77 it was more about the range and getting the most atmosphere from each piece. I think much of this was down to Steve Hackett still being in the band. Daryl might be technically more proficient but Steve had atmosphere in spades. Also, Tony was still using the Mellotron, which might have been a nightmare to maintain but the sounds it produced were perfect for classic Genesis and never matched by his synth efforts in later years. And although Hugh Padgham's production, with its very immediate sound, was perfect for the 'newer' numbers on 3SL, David Hentschel captured the feel of the bands 'older' numbers proportionately better on Seconds Out (despite SH being too low in the mix in places). In my view of course.
I've said enough!
It's actually odd, if I compare the tracks list on the two albums there is no match, SO has everything that hooked me up on Genesis and made them my favorite band, everything except Peter which is no minor detail, Phil as a singer does a fine, proficient job on some of Peter's songs, less so on others imo.
On 3SL he's another singer altogether and although it is true that he took some licenses, because of the self-confidence he had gained, his delivery of In the cage, for instance, let me in awe.
That album made my summer and for a brief moment I put SO aside. 3SL was my summer flirt but SO is my romantic love affair, 2 very different things. I have a soft spot for the 1980 Lyceum Theatre, I saw it on YouTube and I think it's the right blend between the early days magic and the new energy creeping in. Phil is already a good singer, Daryl and particularly Chester seem to blend in better and Duke was a great album to take on the road. About FYFM on SO, my bad, I meant the studio version.
'It's a mix of things: consensus amongst the fans, reviews, commercial success, longevity etc... Those songs simply don't cut it in any of those areas'. (quote from Fabrizio earlier in the thread).
Those were the criteria you used for what should be considered a classic (as well as then saying that songs from cherished albums should be played live). Basically when you say 'those songs simply don't cut it in any of those areas' you mean in your opinion.
Consensus amongst the fans - which fans? Have you asked them all?
Reviews - don't always stand the test of time. Opinons change. What may once have been dismissed, may now be revered.
Commercial success - Abacab was commercially successful, wasn't it? But why should that be one of the criteria? There are plenty of great songs from great albums which were not commercially successful, yet are regarded as classics for other reasons.
Longevity - the album has been around for a long time. If you think it or any of its songs doesn't deserve to be labelled classic, ultimately that's your opinion.
I think it is interesting that in the post above you say that the artist's opinion of their work doesn't count or has an impact on your preferences.
When you asked me did I have anything other than personal preference to substantiate my own claim, the difference between us is that I don't claim to do that. I will say the following about two of the songs I mentioned. The title track has every element of this period of Genesis that makes it a great song: intriguing lyric, great performance (I wish I could get technical and explain why, but I can't). As for Dodo/Lurker, it is unique. The lyric is nothing like the rest of their catalogue. Phil sings it superbly. I don't do analysis well, which puts me at a disadvantage on this boar
My personal taste absolutely informs my opinion of Abacab, I'm aware of it and I don't deny or conceal it, I don't know why you would think otherwise but tt's really not about that isn't? You think Abacab is a great one and you minimized the fact that it is never played live, I don't agree with you on the former statement and I tried to offer some explanations to the live thing, ''Offer'' being the key operational word, because ultimately, only 3 people know the truth.
No, I haven't spoken to each and every Genesis fan and I know that Abacab has some but would you deny it is a polarizing album? Would you deny that Abacab is not up there in the fans' preferences? I've been around several incarnations of this forum and I've been member of others, in Italian, English, German and Spanish. Product of having lived in several countries, having been a fan for decades and frankly being old. There's no way to escape the fact that Abacab is generally not rated highly. I don't think it's necessary to ask everyone. It would be perhaps interesting to poll Abacab exclusively with other 3 man era albums and see how it does but in a general poll, I'm sorry...
Abacab was more successful then its predecessors, it figures since it was more immediate and accessible, it was also less successful than its successors though, I don't have the figures in my head but I don't think it reached the commercial peaks of IT and WCD, I'm not sure about Shapes. To this day, generally speaking, it's very rare you hear anything from Abacab on the radio, it can happen but not compared to other albums of that era.
Reviews, I don't know whether fresh reviews have been written about it, I cannot really opine, I somehow doubt though the album is now revered.
Commercial success, I don't know why you resist the notion that commercial success is an indicator....In Pop. I equally don't know why, you keep comparing with songs which were never going to be featured on Top of the Pops or, due to their length, never get any radio time. With that in mind, if an artist suddenly starts churning out pop tunes, they better chart and sell, otherwise what's the point? IT was a commercial Juggernaut, that alone makes it a classic, whether I agree or not and trust me I don't, that factor alone dictates that it must be played live. It doesn't apply to Abacab apparently.
The live bit, it might be that I read too much into it, in an attempt to back up my opinion of that Album but when I read that Phil cannot sing anymore, Phil cannot drum anymore, they have too many songs and they need to make a choice and even worse that the Beatles have never played some of their classics live, for each of those points there is, in my view a valid, argument which I won't repeat now because I've made them already. If I read too much into it, those are simply excuses.
I said I like Dodo and M&SJ, I also like MOTC and KID, given the fact though that Genesis have written so many great songs, I really don' think those are up there and they can be labeled as classics. The title track, I'm sorry but I think it's abysmal and probably gets the prize as Genesis worst instrumental ever, PERSONALLY, I can see why they don't play it anymore, despite the fact that it's an obvious live number. Ask them to drop TIOA and they probably tell you they can't and don't want to. BTW you can get as technical as you like.
No, the artist opinion doesn't affect me, it doesn't make me like or dislike a song or an album more. Genesis members have often spoken poorly of some of their songs I like. Yes members, a band I adore, often praise Relayer as their best work. I don't like it, I don't care what they say, why should I?
They have a different connection, as artists and creators I realize that, they probably think, they should or could have played it differently, I'm just the listener and I hear things differently.
I've always said that Side A was in my opinion their new course peak, much more focused than Abacab where their main concern seemed to be change things by throwing stuff at the wall and see what stuck. Very few did imo. Side B to me is even worse than Abacab but at least they had one side and a couple of really memorable tracks to carry the album. I can understand why many prefer IT but they completely lost me with that which is a bit funny because when I look at it, THERE ARE good songs on it, alongside some really atrocious, tawdry stuff though. I'm not a fan of the production either, I prefer Abacab's sound, even though they sound almost similar