CD Review: Genesis


Genesis
1983-1998
Atlantic/Rhino

By David Chiu

This latest edition to the Genesis archival series examines the group’s most successful commercial period from the ‘80s to the early ‘90s, a far cry from their ‘70s prog rock. By this time Genesis, with Phil Collins at the helm, became a hit singles machine starting off with “That’s All” from the 1983 self-titled album. That record is a concise, filler-free effort with great tracks like the powerful “Mama,” “Home By the Sea/Second Home By the Sea,” and the gentle ballad “Taking it All to Hard.” Then in 1986 Genesis blew the doors wide open with the massively popular Invisible Touch album, which gave the band its first Number One song in the title track, followed by four more Top Ten hits: “Throwing It All Away,” “Land of Confusion,” “Tonight, Tonight, Tonight,” and “In Too Deep.” It’s definitely the most accessible album by the group to date. Fortunately the band returned to their ethereal and subdued form with We Can’t Dance (1991). It’s a far more serious and reflective album indicated by the emotional “No Son of Mine,” “Tell Me Why” and the finale, “Fading Lights.” The funky rocker “I Can’t Dance” sounds cheesy in retrospect but fun nevertheless. By 1996, Collins left the band and was replaced by the relatively unknown Ray Wilson. The album he appeared on, Calling All Stations, was dead on arrival, which is a shame—for all its weaknesses, there were some exceptionally strong tracks particularly the title song, “Congo,” and “Not About Us.” Wilson was a decent vocalist who brought a gritty edge to the band’s sound. This box contains the original four albums in audio and 5.1 versions, music videos, recent interviews with the band members (including Ray Wilson himself), and rare B-side tracks covering the period.

Watch a clip of Genesis’ “Land of Confusion:”

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