by David Chiu
In the last several years, Genesis’ music has been repackaged frequently, whether it’s been hits collections such as The Platinum Collection and Turn it On Again as well as the CD/DVD boxed sets from a couple of years ago. Now to coincide with the recent band documentary Sum of the Parts, Genesis has released another compilation set R-Kive. While it contains the usual band hits and best-known numbers, with each studio album represented with at least one song — the 3-CD R-Kive differs from the other packages in that it also features three solo recordings from each of the five members of the classic lineup: Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Steve Hackett and Mike Rutherford. And the choices from the members with respects to their solo careers are very surprising, especially from Collins and Gabriel. Sure Collins chose his signature track “In the Air Tonight,” but he also surprisingly selected “Easy Lover,” his duet with Philip Bailey and an album track “Wake Up Call” from Testify – as opposed to the hits from blockbuster albums No Jacket Required and But Seriously. And no surprise from Gabriel with his inclusion of beloved tracks “Solsbury Hill” and “Biko”; but for this third song, the former Genesis lead singer picked “Signal to Noise” from 2002’s Up,. Meanwhile, Rutherford is represented on the very well-known Mike + the Mechanics tunes in “Silent Running” and “The Living Years” but also on the overlooked “Over My Shoulder” What also makes R-Kive illuminating is that it’s an opportunity for casual listeners to hear recordings from Banks and Hackett, whose solo music isn’t necessarily mainstream or commercial—particularly Hackett’s music, from the very Genesis-sounding “Ace of Wands” from Voyage of the Acolyte, to the very flamenco-influenced “Nomads.” As for the Genesis tracks, there seems to be more of an emphasis on the deeper cuts from the early era as opposed to the more mainstream fare, such as the 22-minute epic “Supper’s Ready,” “The Musical Box” and “Back in NYC”; plus the versions of “Abacab” and “Mama” are in their complete rather than edited forms. The die-hard fan probably has everything, so R-Kive might be superfluous. But for everyone else, this set is a very well-rounded overview of a band (to borrow the title of the recent doc) that was more than the sum of its parts.