Genesis

Genesis (usually) consists of Phil Collins (vocals and drums), Tony Banks (keyboards), and Mike Rutherford (bass/guitar). The first few albums featured Peter Gabriel (vocals) and Steve Hackett (guitar). The band usually toured with Daryl Stuermer (bass/guitar) and Chester Thompson (drums).

I honestly can't remember how I got into Genesis. I do know that my parents took me to see them during their last tour when they came through Buffalo, and I think I only knew one or two songs (and Home by the Sea freaked me out). At some point I started listening to "Live Over Europe," but it never really did it for me. I was mainly exposed to the later, pop-oriented music through radio and live albums. I started picking up a couple live albums on vinyl, then started listening to the entire collection. The early Gabriel era has definitely grown on me, but I still enjoy the Collins era.

Genesis started out as one of the giants of progressive rock and slowly transitioned over time to a more poppy, radio-friendly band. I think their music has a very "British" quality, in that it has a melancholy, slightly satirical tone. There's also a "dark" quality, with even the upbeat songs having an edge. In other words, Genesis is a great band to sit and think about life, but I wouldn't use it to get your party pumped up. The band members are all excellent musicians and it shows throughout the catalog, especially on the live albums. I think the variety of sounds makes it easy to start with one song or album, then branch out to others from there.

Nate's Epic Genesis Playlist

  1. Abacab (Abacab 1981)
  2. Stagnation (Trespass 1970)
  3. Just a Job to Do (Genesis 1983)
  4. Domino (Invisible Touch 1986)
  5. Fifth of Firth (Selling England by the Pound 1973)
  6. Jesus He Knows Me (We Can't Dance 1991)
  7. Turn it On Again (Duke 1980)
  8. Los Endos (A Trick of the Tail 1976)
  9. I Know What I Like (Selling England by the Pound 1973)
  10. Home by the Sea (Genesis 1983)
  11. I Can't Dance (We Can't Dance 1991)
  12. Dance on a Volcano (A Trick of the Tail 1976)
  13. Misunderstanding (Duke 1980)
  14. Keep it Dark (Abacab 1981)
  15. Driving the Last Spike (We Can't Dance 1991)
  16. In the Cage (The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway 1974)
  17. Land of Confusion (Invisible Touch 1986)
  18. Robbery, Assault and Battery (A Trick of the Tail 1976)
  19. Behind the Lines (Duke 1980)
  20. Dodo, Lurker (Abacab 1981)

Trespass (1970)

trespass

Technically this is the second album, but I've never listen to "From Genesis to Revelations" so we'll just pretend for now. At this point, many of the songs are lengthier, with many different parts. A song might sound one way and end completely different. They also have numerous parts, so often I can't remember which song has the bit I like. However, give it a few listens and you might find a new favorite track. My favorite song is "Stagnation."

Stagnation: This is a great song in its own right, but what really does it for me is the flute riff towards the end, which is prominently featured on live versions of "I Know What I Like." Every time I hear that part I get chills. I also really like the lines "I want to sit down!" and "I want a drink," which is why I nicknamed this the "medical student in surgery song."

The Knife: This song has some cool fast parts.


Nursery Cryme (1971)

cryme

This is the first album to feature Phil Collins on the drums (hooray!). There's some weird songs on here, and I have a few more listens to do. My favorite song so far is "The Musical Box."

The Musical Box: One of the best early Genesis songs. It has many separate parts, and I often remember them by the lyrics. My favorite section is when Gabriel whispers about "Old King Cole" while there's accented 16th notes on the hi-hat. The closing section is also pretty intense. The best live version is on "Genesis Live" with just the closing sequence on "Seconds Out."


Foxtrot (1972)

fox

This album is well known for a few reasons. Supper's Ready is the longest Genesis song, taking up one whole side of the album. Peter Gabriel also put on quite the live show, dressing up as a nun and a giant flower (at different times). My favorite song is "Watcher of the Skies."

Watcher of the Skies: The syncopated rhythm in this song is da bomb diggity. It gets even better when it's contrasted with a strong downbeat during certain parts. The best live version is on "Genesis Live."

Get 'em out by Friday: This song is a little weird but interesting. There's some mumblings about "genetic control" and whatnot.

Supper's Ready: Clocking in at slightly over 23 minutes, this song has quite a number of movements. The most famous part is part where Gabriel says "a flower!?!?!" as he starts prancing around as a human flower. The last few minutes (17-20) are pretty cool, containing a rockin' jam session with plenty of china cymbal (my fave). The full live version is featured on "Seconds Out."


Selling England by the Pound (1973)

pound

This album pretty much continues a similar sound to past albums, with lengthy songs having multiple parts. My favorite songs are "I Know What I Like" and "Fifth of Firth."

I Know What I Like: This is a weird song, even by Genesis standards. It's sung from the perspective of a lawnmower, talking about how he prefers his job to anything else in the world. There's a sitar-like sound in the background, and the drums seem to play a prominent role. Later live versions on "The Way We Walk" and "Live Over Europe" include the flute part of "Stagnation," making this song even better live.

Fifth of Firth: The instrumental parts make this song. It opens with a melodious piano solo and there's a flute part in the middle. The piano then picks up again and slowly speeds up the tempo and energy of the song. The guitar solo has a melancholy aura, before mellowing out before the last verse.

The Cinema Show: Another long song with many parts. My favorite parts of the song are from right before 6 minutes all the way to the end. The song initially takes on a darker tone and the drums provide an accented sound. Then, with a lighter tone, the rest of the song combines keyboards and drums, which I think works really well together.


The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (1974)

lamb

One of Genesis's most famous albums and the last one to feature Peter Gabriel. It's a double concept album. I'm not the biggest fan of concept albums personally. My favorite songs are "In the Cage" and "Counting Out Time."

The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway: I like the strong bass part in this song. There's also parts where they drag out "the laaaaaaamb, liiiiiies dowwwwwwn" while building the song up with a cresendo.

In the Cage: The song starts with a heartbeat-like thumping bass. The volume and instrumentation slowly grows until it reaches full force. It gets really good right around 3 minutes with the instrumental section. I love the keyboard section, it's super trippy. Then, the tempo drops down and the song sounds almost like a trumpeting announcement. The last few minutes of the song are just a frenzy of activity.

Counting Out Time: I used to think this song was innocent, just about counting out time. Then I listened to the lyrics. It's a song about pleasuring a woman. As Collins says, "Whipee!" There's some strong guitar riffs, and what sounds to my ear like a kazoo.

Carpet Crawlers: This song has a sad yet hopeful sound about it. I'm not sure what a carpet crawler is, but based on the previous song, it's probably inappropriate. I like how the drum part adds in subdivisions to the slow pace of the song.

It: I like the guitar riff that sounds similar to a violin. There's a cool medley with "Watcher of the Skies" on "Three Sides Live."


A Trick of the Tail (1976)

tail

One of my favorite Genesis albums, mostly because I listened to it on repeat for a good chunk of high school. It's the first album to feature Phil Collins on lead vocals. My favorite songs are "Dance on a Volcano," "Robbery, Assault, and Battery," and "Los Endos."

Dance on a Volcano: I like the constant switch from A to B parts, especially when they're pretty contrasting. There's a crazy keyboard solo towards the end.

Entangled: There's an emphasis on vocals and acoustic guitar, which is a refreshing change from much of the keyboard/drum-heavy songs.

Squonk: It's kind of a weird song, but I like the use of disco beat at different parts.

Mad Man Moon: The song starts with what seems to be a subdued ballad of sorts. It then switches to a latin-esque beat, complete with claves. Then there's a cool piano part, leading into an odd-time groovy section (my favorite part).

Robbery, Assault, and Battery: This is an interesting song in a few regards. The lyrics are a little interesting, so take a listen. I really like it when the keyboard solo happens, leading into the guitar solo which pops out of nowhere. There's a great live version on "Seconds Out."

Ripples: This song is here for completeness sake, but I do like the parts where the drums subdivide the slow melody.

A Trick of the Tail: I don't really understand what the lyrics mean, but there's something about them that's a metaphor for life or society or something. Also this song sounds more simplistic (at least rhythmically) than many of the other songs on the album. Watch the video of tiny hipster Phil Collins dancing around a piano.

Los Endos: Literally, "the ends." There's something very final about this song, a perfect way to round out the album. It has a mystical sound at the beginning before diving into a fast paced drumbeat. I love the part where it's just slow chords on the keyboards, then the drums come in with a rockbeat and slowly become more complex until building into a frenzy. Finally, the song ends with homage to "Dance on a Volcano" and "Squonk," before finally fading out.


Wind & Wuthering (1976)

wind

I haven't spent much time listening to this album, so I apologize for not having much to say. My favorite songs are "Eleventh Earl of Mar," "Wot Gorilla," and "..In That Quiet Earth."

Eleventh Earl of Mar: I like this song's spooky intro and the heavy rock beat throughout.

One For the Vine: This song has many different parts, but there's a spooky riff that gets played over and over in this song.

Wot Gorilla: It sounds like someone on drugs is playing a tambourine at a rave.

..In That Quiet Earth: Another spooky riff! This sounds similar, but not the same, to "One For the Vine." The beginning of the song is a crazy mess that reminds me of "Cinema" by Yes. The second half is more straight rock, with a more rigid version of that spook-tacular riff.

Afterglow: Speaking of Yes, this song always reminded me of the song "Hearts" from "90125."


...And Then There Were Three... (1978)

three

This is the first to feature Banks, Rutherford, and Collins, without Steve Hackett. I haven't given it many listens, so I'll get back with more song recommendations.

Undertow: There's a cool flute riff in the middle that I like.

Follow You Follow Me: Maybe it's because I remember hearing this in concert and it was less scary than "Home by the Sea," but I've always found this song very calming. There's some cool keyboard solos in the song.


Duke (1980)

duke

Genesis starts heading in a more pop-oriented direction with this album, but still maintains the prog rock roots. My favorite songs are "Misunderstanding" and "Turn it On Again."

Behind the Lines: One of the best intros to an album, no wonder they used it to open "Live Over Europe." There's something really exciting about the super fast pace, loads of drum fills, and guitar/keyboard call and response.

Duchess: The first few minutes are calm, void of any excitement. Finally the song really starts, and I like the semi-disco beat.

Misunderstanding: What a sad song, all about Phil Collins getting blown off for a date then showing up to his lady friend's house but finding another man leaving! Horrible. I like the 12/8 piano triplet part a lot. There's a great live version on "Three Sides Live."

Turn It On Again: This song is a little interesting because the verses contain an extra beat in some of the measures. I like how the song builds up a lot at the beginning. The drum part is relatively simple, instead helping to focus on the lyrics and keyboard parts. There are excellent versions on "Three Sides Live," "The Way We Walk," and "Live Over Europe."


Abacab (1981)

abacab

One of my favorite Genesis albums, mainly for the strong showing on the first half of the album. "Abacab" itself is a powerhouse of a song and then some of them you just have to shrug your shoulders and say "hey it's a good song." My favorite songs are "Abacab" (obviously), "Me and Sarah Jane," "Keep it Dark."

Abacab: Probably my favorite Genesis song. It's got this great rock beat with a wicked synthesizer and guitar call/response. Half the song is just a trippy instrumental section. My favorite part is the last time Collins says "yeah there's a hole in the somewhere" and the drums hit with a disco beat. The song gets its name because it was originally in A-B-A-C-A-B format. The pattern changed but they kept the title. There's a killer live version on "Three Sides Live."

No Reply At All: I like the use of horns, it's very similar to "Paperlate" on "Three Sides Live."

Me and Sarah Jane: If you listen to the lyrics, the song appears to be about Dr. Who. Weird stuff. There's a big emphasis on offbeats, which gives the song a jerky feel. My favorite part is at around 1:45, where the offbeats hit hardest.

Keep It Dark: I like the guitar riff that provides the backbone to the song. The percussion part is pretty cool, right before Collins says "ah, keep it dark."

Dodo, Lurker: Probably the weirdest song on the album. The first part is all about man killing off endangered animals, just because. There's some cool halftime parts. The second part is a riddle, with weird keyboard/percussion background parts.

Who Dunnit: Collins's british accent really comes out in this song. The lyrics are kinda weird, but I guess it's a fun sing-a-long?

Man on the Corner: It sounds like a preface to "In Too Deep." A nice relaxing ballad to drop your blood pressure after the rest of the songs on this album.

Another Record: There's a long intro but it's worth the wait. The piano part is pretty cool, sort of a latin feel, and the beat is very similar to "Me and Sarah Jane."


Genesis (1983)

gen

With this self-titled album, Genesis moves even farther into the realm of pop music, leaving behind odd time signatures but maintaining the strange lyrics and sounds of previous albums. My favorite songs are "Home by the Sea," "Illegal Alien," and "Just a Job to Do."

Mama: This song is weird but kind of catchy...I guess. The creepy laugh gets to you. "HA HA HA...ARGHHHH"

That's All: The piano harmony is great although the drum part is pretty simple.

Home by the Sea: This song freaked me out when I saw Genesis in concert. It's sort of repetitive but I like the subdivided beat provided by the keyboards. There's a super long version on "Live Over Europe."

Second Home by the Sea: Technically just a continuation of the previous track, it contains the instrumental section. My favorite part is around 3 minutes, when the guitar leads into a great keyboard part. The end of the song comes back to the "home by the sea" part.

Illegal Alien: This is a weird song. Phil Collins sings about what life is like for illegal aliens (which he knows soooooo much about). Some people were definitely offended by the line about his "sister who'd be willing to oblige / she will do anything now to help me get to the outside." The music video is a little weird too, you might notice some use of offensive stereotypes.

Just a Job to Do: Genesis isn't known for its hard rocking songs, but this is my favorite by far. The guitar riffs are super catchy. I really wish there was a live album version.


Invisible Touch (1986)

touch

Genesis continues their poppy trend, but they've got a couple excellent songs that bring back some early Genesis magic. Many of the songs have a more rock ballad feel, and I'm guessing one or two got played at a lot of 80's proms. My favorite songs are "Land of Confusion" and "Domino."

Invisible Touch: This song is alright, the fast pace saves it from being one of my un-favorites. Definitely a pop single. The live version on "The Way We Walk" is way better with it's extended jam session towards the end, making this song (almost) cool.

Tonight Tonight Tonight: This song appears to be a pop single, but at almost 9 minutes long it has a couple layers. The percussion beat gives it an "out there" sound. The instrumental section in the middle is kind of interesting, and the song builds on itself as it moves along.

Land of Confusion: A song about Cold War tensions, it has one of the craziest and most memorable music videos. It's all claymation characters from a British TV show, "Spitting Image." I think the drum part has some great fills. There's excellent live versions on "The Walk We Walk" and "Live Over Europe."

In Too Deep: This song is also pretty catchy. You could definitely slow dance to this with your high school sweetheart.

Anything She Does: This album's version of "Just A Job to Do." It's a fun song though.

Domino: The best song on the album, hands down. It brings back some old Genesis vibes, such as multiple movements that build the song up, so by the end it seems completely different than where you started. The song gets ultra-spooky around 4:30 and takes off from there. Although the drums aren't anything fancy, they provide a driving beat that gets your heart pounding with the suspense of the song. I love the last part of the song, the actual "domino" part. The live versions on both "The Way We Walk" and "Live Over Europe" give me chills.

Throwing it All Away: This song is slightly more exciting than the average rock ballad. It's a little more exciting on "Live Over Europe."

The Brazilian: This instrumental is pretty crazy. There's a weird techno-like beat with strange sounds, combined with this orchestral-sounding melody. It sounds like something out of a dystopian movie (Brazil, anybody?).


We Can't Dance (1991)

dance

Genesis's last big album with a couple good hits. I don't think the second half of the album stands out that much but the first half has some excellent songs. My favorites are "Jesus He Knows Me"

No Son of Mine: Not my favorite song, but it's pretty famous. I'm not a huge fan of the lyrics, and they're kind of ambiguous about what they mean. However, the chorus is pretty good and it's accompanied by a great keyboard part.

Jesus He Knows Me: This song is the finest demonstration of the band's sense of humor. It pokes fun at televangelists and their hypocrisy. The music itself is great, it's a fast-paced song with a hint of offbeat accents, and there's a tiny keyboard interlude in the middle. There's a hilarious music video (see below) that makes the song 1000x better. The live version on "The Way We Walk" is also excellent.

Driving the Last Spike: This song tells the story of the English railroad and the lives that were lost due to accidents. For some reason, the guitar part stands out a lot in this song compared to most. The guitar and keyboards play off each other, with the drum beat providing a bit of "hesitation" to the song. I think the song builds well on itself. I like the section around 6 minutes where it turns into a straighter beat with lots of guitar strumming. The live version on "The Way We Walk" is great.

I Can't Dance: Kind of a weird song, it's about being a jeans model and how he doens't do anything except walk around and "sell everything." There's some interesting percussion instruments and a cool harmony riff.



Calling All Stations (1997)

station

This is the first album in a long time to not feature Phil Collins on either drums or vocals. Similar to "Van Halen III," it's a good album but nothing compared to previous Genesis albums. My favorite song is "Congo."

Congo: I like this song a lot. It has a really cool beat with awesome keyboards, and personally, I like the vocals. There's some weird keyboard solos towards the end.

Alien Afternoon: Kind of a weird song but it has a neat percussion part with some offbeat accents.