Thursday, October 3, 2013

Genesis - Genesis

Today (October 3rd) marks the thirtieth anniversary of the release of Genesis, the self-titled twelfth studio album from British rockers Tony Banks (keyboards), Phil Collins (drums, percussion and lead vocals), and Mike Rutherford (guitar and bass). This multi-Platinum seller from 1983 went to number 12 in Sweden, number 9 on the US Billboard Album chart, number 5 in France, number 2 in Canada, the Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland, and number 1 in Germany and the UK.

Side one begins with the syncopated grind of "Mama", the story of a young man's obsession with a particular prostitute. As the first single, it went to number 73 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 27 in New Zealand, number 10 in Austria, number 7 in the Netherlands, number 6 in Finland, number 5 in Ireland and on the US Billboard Mainstream Rock chart, number 4 in the UK, number 3 in Norway and number 2 in Switzerland.

To counterbalance the darkness of the first track, the band does a one-eighty with the next bouncy pop number. The second single "That's All" charted at number 27 in Germany, number 19 in Austria, number 16 in the UK, number 15 in Switzerland, number 14 in Canada, and number 6 in Ireland and on the US Billboard Hot 100.

"Home By the Sea" was released as the third single; it charted at number 80 in Australia. Combined with the next track, the mostly instrumental "Second Home By the Sea", these two together makes an eleven-minute long musical suite that tells of a burglar who encounters the ghosts of a haunted home. It has been quite awhile since I have heard these two. The eerie instrumentation on the first part pulled me back in like a reoccurring dream, and the second one features a funky bass driven groove.

Side two opens with "Illegal Alien". As the fourth single, it went to number 46 in the UK, number 44 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 41 in Canada. The tongue-in-cheek lyrics tell of the trials and tribulations of illegal immigrants. I know for a while, after this one was in heavy rotation, we would adopt the chorus of “it’s no fun being an illegal alien” as a catchphrase for when things went bad.

The B-side to the second single was the ballad "Taking It All Too Hard"; it was then released as the fifth single in the US in 1984 where it reached number 50 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 11 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

"Just a Job To Do" tells of a private investigator that is following a suspect. Man, I had forgotten how much I loved this deep cut. The energy, the attitude, the rhythm - it all works for me.

"Silver Rainbow" was used as the B-side for the fifth, US only single. Its intro seems to draw back upon that grind from the opening track but not nearly as dark; this one actually has some hope to it.

"It's Gonna Get Better", the optimistic closing track, was also the B-side to the first single.

While I did not own a copy of Genesis myself, I heard it quite a bit during my first year of college (1983 to 1984). My roommate Steve owned a copy of the album and played it in our dorm room while he studied. The singles, of course, were all over the radio stations (pop, album rock, and the college station) as well as in heavy rotation on MTV. Many of the parties on campus included the tracks as well.

After thirty years, it all came back to me as if visiting with an old acquaintance you had not seen in years. It is definitely time I add this classic to my digital music library.

For my review of Genesis’ 1981 album Abacab, click here.

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