Classic Rock Review

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Genesis Archives Vol. 2 1976 – 1992


After the release and subsequent success of the four-disc box set of rare material from the Gabriel years, the next logical step for Genesis was to release one from the Phil Collins years. I admit, I wasn’t terribly eager to give the volume a listen, but after doing so, I discovered to my delight that it contains quite a lot of gems in it. There are even a staggering amount of non-LP B-sides, which are miles more entertaining than their accompanying A-sides. For instance, remember that awful song from Invisible Touch called “In Too Deep?” …I would never have suspected that the B-side of its single release, “Do the Neurotic,” is a vastly entertaining exploration of different textures, and … gasp … it shows Michael Rutherford coming out of his shell to shred his guitar in a blistering way!

“Paperlate” is one of the catchier songs they’d ever done, and it had originally appeared on the vinyl release of Three Sides Live. However, come its CD release, they cut the studio songs in favor of more live cuts. …Thankfully, that nearly forgotten song is available here. Not only is it catchy, but I will always love it for its full, bubbly horn section. There were four other songs originally included on that vinyl release, and three of them are included here (“You Might Recall,” “Evidence of Autumn,” and “Open Door.”) The one conspicuously absent is “Me and Virgil” Granted, that song isn’t their most inspired moment, but why leave it off?

An even greater crime is that they left off a song called “Match of the Day,” which was written by Steve Hackett. It’s a beautiful pop song that he had intended it for Wind & Wuthering, but it had been unceremoniously left off for being “uncharacteristic.” (I guess there’s no love for “Match of the Day.”) Another rejected song by Hackett, however, is thankfully included here, and it’s called “Inside and Out.” It’s easily one of the best folk-ballads they’d ever done. Leaving a song like that off the most boring album of their discography goes to show precisely where their heads were in relation to their bottoms at the time.

The second disc is the least interesting of the lot, filled with live performances from the Collins era. Considering there were already three double live albums from the Collins era, I don’t think there were too many fans out there thirsting for more. (In contrast, there was merely one live album from the Gabriel era, and it wasn’t double.) With that said, it’s not completely worthless. For example, it starts out with a rousing rendition of “Illegal Alien.” Collins sounds as excited and boisterous as ever. You can’t go wrong with that.

Where you can’t go right is covering a song like “Dreaming While You Sleep,” which was one of the crappier songs from We Can’t Dance… *Groan* But then there are also a few picks from A Trick of the Tail: “Ripples” and “Entangled.” The latter song was surely one of their finer moments, and the live rendition is gorgeous. Unfortunately, the inclusion of that song can’t liven up the last half of the album, which is otherwise plagued with some of the most horribly tedious songs of their repertoire. …I’ll tell you what they are, but please be careful, because these songs are so boring that evoking their names have been known to make people pass out: “Your Own Special Way,” “Burning Rope,” and “Duke’s Travels.” Blech!!!! …If you’re looking for a powerful, non-prescription sedative, then I think I found one!

There are also a handful of remixes here, which are almost entirely pointless. All the songs they remixed had already been perfected in their final studio form… or at least as perfect as they were ever going to get. All they really do, mostly, is add extra clicky percussion noises and put an annoying echoing effect on Phil Collins’ vocals. They even lengthened the some of the songs significantly, which in the case of “Land of Confusion” and “Tonight, Tonight, Tonight” gets on my nerves terribly. …With all that said, they did a number on “I Can’t Dance” by adding a flurry of synthesizers on top of it, which made it far quirkier than the original.

Even though sitting through some of this box set was a real chore—particularly the live performances and remixes—I had an all-around good time with this release. While this doesn’t amaze me quite like Genesis’ first archival box set, it’s certainly worthwhile enough for it to earn that 11 I so graciously decided to award it. I not appreciate that it’s around, but it also has its fair share of rare gems on it that I know I’m going to come to treasure in the years to come. I didn’t even talk about a few of the gems in the main body of this review, so please do peruse the track reviews for more information about them. (And perhaps even some confusing sentences?)

March 23, 2013 - Posted by | Genesis Archives Vol 2 1976-1992 |

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