We here at the Back-Up Plan remain convinced that the ORDER in which U hear an artist's work has a big impact on yr perceptions of them.
Bcos we heard the loud&loose YESSONGS B4 NE other Yes music (other than "Your Move" & "Roundabout"), we now find Yes's studio versions of mosta those same songs 2 B ... kinda stiff.
Bcos we heard Renaissance's LIVE album B4 NEthing else, we now find almost ALL of their early studio work 2 B 2 prissy & 4mal 2 listen 2 (w/ only a couple of Xceptions).
& tho we remember hearing (& not much liking) "Money" in the summer/fall of '73, we later heard the live version of "Astronome Domine" offa UMMAGUMMA under such stressful conditions that we barely remembered a note of it later, & this was long B4 we ever knew what a Pink Floyd WAS ... even tho the song later directly triggered the 1st piece of short fiction we ever had published.
So, we will now herewith attempt 2 Xplain R rather bass-ackward views on Genesis, specifically about R fixation on their Middle Period, & R lack of patience 4 both their later "pop" period & their earlier work w/ Peter Gabriel....
We bot Genesis's 1976 album A TRICK OF THE TAIL 2nd-hand after reading a coupla rave reviews about it. The reviews + the album's gently-fantastic/cartoony cover-art Cmd 2 rein4ce the idea that here was some textured, delicate, lite, flowing, fantasy-flavored, non-threatening, not-very-loud Mood Music of the sort we preferred R Art Rock 2 B back in that post-highschool period, when we were busy trying 2 creatively-write R asses off, & during which time we also had big addictions 4 Renaissance, Gentle Giant, Gryphon, Providence, Happy the Man, Moody Blues, etc.
Tho TAIL tended 2 trail-off toward the Nd, much of it was sublime melodic keyboard&guitar-dominated Art Rock. We especially liked Tony Banks' gorgeous keyboards & the ghostly gtr work of Steve Hackett & Mike Rutherford. & drummer Phil Collins' vocals were mostly almost-modest. The only place he showed-off much vocally was on the funny "Robbery, Assault and Battery," where he was clearly playing a part.
The big melodramatic showpieces really won us over: The ghostly gtr & the shivery Nding of "Entangled," the wistful epic "Madman Moon," & the supreme fantasy-drama & gorgeous choruses on the 9-min "Ripples."
The follow-up WIND AND WUTHERING was perhaps not so great, or mayB we just couldn't hear it, but there were still a few classics scattered thruout: The gorgeous melodramatic lovesongs "Your Own Special Way" & "Afterglow," the bouncy, charming (& overlooked) knockabout instrumental "Wot Gorilla?", & the flashy percussion-solo-middle-break & last 1/2 of the epic "One for the Vine," mayB the 1st hint we had that Collins was some kinda drummer. The good stuff was REALLY good -- but mosta the rest just sorta faded away, tho we were still big fans.
We weren't thrilled at 1st w/ the SECONDS OUT double-live album, tho 2 sides of it were pretty good, but it took awhile 2 grow on us. None of the recent material repeated here sounded very good -- we were 2 attached 2 those recent songs. But summa the remakes of their older stuff were glorious.
We had resisted buying the album at 1st, 4 whatever reason -- another delicate studio band ruining their best effects by bashing their songs out 2-loudly on-stage, mayB we thot. But then we heard "The Carpet Crawl" on the radio & started wondering if mayB there wasn't something there after all. That beautiful, restrained remake helped pull us in2 the resta the album.
Tho it took awhile 2 grow on us, 2 full sides of the album were especially good: More great keybs, ghostly gtr & that ominous feeling of lurking doom on "Firth of Fifth," the silly "I Know What I Like," the rather good&dramatic "Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" (tho R fave part was the Nd, stolen from the Drifters' "On Broadway"), & the gorgeous, 4ceful closing 2 "The Musical Box." & then there was the sublime full side of "Supper's Ready," just stunning in places. We started wondering if this (departed) Peter Gabriel guy mighta had some talent after all, tho we never liked his voice much (more on this later).
Then Genesis Bcame The Incredible Shrinking Band. Hackett left. The reviews 4 AND THEN THERE WERE THREE... were not good, many comparing the band's sound 2 "the dreaded Moody Blues," which was really all we needed 2 hear. We liked the album fine after some adjusting: Some trax continued the Xcellent melodrama of the past: "Undertow," "Snowbound," "Burning Rope," "Deep in the Motherlode" -- really superb melodramatic prog w/ lotsa keyboards. & we didn't even miss Hackett's work in the thick mix.
The attn-grabbing "Down and Out" gave Collins a chance 2 show off w/ its changing rhythms, & "The Lady Lies" was a nice dark fairytale. But some of the other songs were really weak, & the band's breakthru hit "Follow You, Follow Me" was just lame.
Around this time we started noticing the band's work on imported EP's. The melodramatic epic "Inside and Out" was supposedly Hackett's last work w/ the band, & featured a long gtr/keybs duel during the instrumental fade-out. Quite Xcellent.
Another EP featured a devastating 3-min piece called "Vancouver," about a girl running away from home -- restrained & haunting, a perfect miniature.
Did DUKE come next? We've blocked it out. We TRIED 2 get in2 this album, but found it sludgy & boring, the 2 hits didn't help much, & even a long instrumental piece at the Nd showed no real signs of life. Their worst.
ABACAB was a little more like it, tho it showed the 1st signs of "streamlining" the band's sound in an attempt 2 get more radio time. The title track was pretty lively, "No Reply at All" was an OK hit, "Keep it Dark" was intrestingly dark, & some of the others weren't 2 offensive. R fave, however, was "Like It or Not," which slowly built in in10sity & had some great swinging choruses especially toward the Nd. We thot Collins was really starting 2 Njoy Bing a singer, & that his divorce had apparently given him lotsa good material 4 songs....
THREE SIDES LIVE had a little bit of good stuff, tho we thot it was 2 quick 4 another live album. The studio side had 2 classics: "Paperlate" & the bubbly "You Might Recall...." The live stuff peaked w/ a vicious, driving version of the Gabriel-era "In the Cage."
After that we slowly lost intrest as Genesis Bcame more popular. The dramatic "Mama" sorta put us off, both the song & the video -- we WANTED 2 like it, but.... Then there was the silly "Illegal Alien" & the not-bad "That's All." But by the time of INVISIBLE TOUCH we gave up. Who needed 2 buy the album when U could hear the whole thing on the radio every hr?
As 4 Gabriel, we're on record saying we never liked his voice much, tho we DEFinitely think that lyrically he's much weirder than his old school chums. MayB we just haven't heard enuf. (We have Genesis's PLATINUM COLLECTION best-of & have tried 2 get in2 the disc of Gabriel-led stuff there, but Xcept 4 the funny "Counting Out Time," we haven't had much luck.)
We Njoyed Gabriel's hypnotic "Shock the Monkey" & the gorgeous "In Your Eyes" -- but R "fave" is the devastating "Family Snapshot," a metaphorical piece about kids growing up ignored & unloved & what could happen when they grow up. That song tears us up every time we hear it -- so we don't play it 2 often. U should try 2 track it down. Even if that was the only good thing Gabriel ever did, his career woulda bn worth it....