Classic Rock Review

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Genesis Selling England By The Pound (1973)

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Sound: “Selling England By The Pound”, is what I consider the best album Genesis ever made. Tony Banks discovers synthesizers and real soloing, Steve Hackett introduced sweep picking to progressive rock, and Peter Gabriel’s vocals were at their best. The album is started with the two radio hits, “Dancing With The Moonlit Night” and “I Know What I Like”, considered the greatest works in the Hackett/Gabriel era. The rest of the album fluidly runs with little error, with “Firth Of Fifth”, “After The Ordeal” and “The Cinema Show”, one of Banks’ greatest keyboard solos. // 9

Lyrics and Singing: Even after writing “Suppers Ready” for Foxtrot, Peter Gabriel was still full of amazing songs, and his vocals were just as good if not better. His reference to pop culture destroying Britain’s music in “Dancing With The Moonlit Knight” is genius, and his writing about mythology and classical Shakespear in “The Cinema Show” is especially good. Even Phil Collins’ vocals in “more fool me” is Beautiful. // 9

Impression: Compared to the sometimes more drawn out songs in previous albums, “Selling England By The Pound” is essential. “Firth Of Fifth” was the first song that got me into Genesis, with the piano intro, the amazing lyrics, synthesizer jam session showing off Phil Collins’ worth as a drummer, and the amazing guitar solo at the end, this song is my personal favorite song of any Genesis song. If there is anything on this album that’s not perfect, it’s “Battle Of Epping Forrest”, one of those songs where the band got a little carried away with their jamming. If someone stole this from me I would probably slit their wrists with a rusty fish hook! If you are not sure what Genesis album to get, “Selling England By The Pound” is a good start! // 10

Sound: Genesis (with Peter Gabriel) is commonly know as one of the greatest progressive rock bands out there. After you listen to this album, it will be difficult for you to disagree. “Selling England by the Pound” is Genesis’ fifth studio album, and was a large step forward for the band. Out of the eight tracks on the album (clocking just over 50 minutes), only one comes to mind that is a bit of a let down, being “The Battle of Epping Forest” (there is such a thing as TOO much jamming).

Each member of the band has grown as a musician, and the band itself has grown much tighter. You can really tell these guys know each others styles and easily make all of their parts fit wonderfully with each other. It’s very rare that you hear a band that is this close together in terms of sound.

This album has a ton of great songs, and many of them you will want to listen to again. The great thing about them is that they’re constantly moving. Often a song ends in an entirely different way then it started, and this constant change really makes the music interesting to listen to. From the flute solos, to the guitar solos, to the piano solos, this band really pulls off great music. The music is catchy, while at the same time being interesting and techinically complicated.

In terms of actual instrumentation, Genesis is no let down. Tony Banks, the pianist / synthist, begins to play a more dominant part in the band, having more complex solos and parts in the songs. His playing has definitely gotten even better from the last album, and even when his part isn’t as important he manages to make it sound amazing. Phil Collins does a fantastic job on drums, able to keep up with strange time signature while still keeping things interesting and moving. Steve Hackett’s guitar playing is also nearly flawless. He is able to acheive a very amazing tone, and while for the most part his guitar playing is not overly complicated, the feeling and emotion in it can really be heard. It may be strange to say, but I almost felt like there wasn’t enough guitar however.. Other than that though, the guitar is fantastic. Mike Rutherford’s bass is good.. when it’s there. When he plays, he plays beautifully, but there could definitely be a lot more of it. Many songs feel slightly lacking without a powerful bass part. Finally, Peter Gabriel’s flute parts are breathtaking. They fit in perfectly with the style of song and sound amazing.

So basically, this album is great. The band obviously consists of very talented musicians who know what they’re doing and do it well. There are a few downsides, including some of the extended jamming and lack of guitar solos and bass, but these are relatively minor when compared to all of the good parts. // 9

Lyrics and Singing: The lyrics on this album are really great. Catchy, but not too catchy. Deep, but not so deep you don’t understand what they’re talking about. Intelligent, but not so intelligent you need a new dictionary. The lyrics avoid the two extremes, and fall almost perfectly in the middle. The lyrics go along with the music too, and cover a variety of topics, making the album even more of an enjoyable experience.

On actual vocals, we have Peter Gabriel (and Phil Collins on “More Fool Me”). Peter Gabriel is obviously a professional at what he does and is clearly an amazing singer. His voice fits perfectly with the music, and it is outstanding the way his voice can really make the song. Phil Collins also does a great job on the one song he sings on the album.

The lyrics and vocals are a strong point of the album, and I think without Peter Gabriel, Genesis wouldn’t be the same (as is proven by Genesis turning into a lame pop band after his leave). // 9

Impression: This album is great. It is probably my absolute favourite Genesis album. It’s very progressive, but it’s not just limited to that. Some of my favourite songs from the album (and probably favourite Genesis songs ever) include the amazing “Firth of Fifth” with all of its solos and sheer awesomness, and the mellow instrumental “After the Ordeal”. “Dancing With the Moonlit Knight” also deserves some honourable mention. So if you’re a fan of prog, rock in general, or Genesis, this is a great album. In my opinion it is the greatest Genesis album made, and although it is lacking in some parts, overall it’s fantastic. //9

February 23, 2013 - Posted by | Genesis Selling England By The Pound |

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