This Genesis compilation, as the second part of the title says, focuses on the band’s hits. The group have had some hits that were substantial – and some that weren’t. All are represented here. Personally, I think this is quite a listenable disc, with a couple tracks here and there that fall short. I have previously reviewed several of these tracks on their original albums. In those cases the track review here is modified from that one for the sake of consistency.
Track by Track Review
Turn It On Again
This pop dittie is just about as clichéd and mainstream as Genesis ever got. It’s very much like something you’d expect on a Phil Collins solo disc. The thing is, it’s catchy and entertaining anyway.
Mama Rhythmically driven, this is actually kind of a cool tune. It’s moody and rather creative – although rather like “In The Air Tonight” from Phil Collins’ Face Value album. I’d actually say that it has quite a bit in common with Peter Gabriel’s solo output. I really like this track to be honest.
Land Of Confusion
Say what you like about this track, but it was cool in the day and it’s cool now – with or without the video. There’s actually a decent amount of old school Genesis on this, delivered up with a catchy pop rock sensibility. I really think this is still a killer tune.
I Can't Dance
While not overly annoying in terms of pop music, this is quite far from progressive rock. It’s a bit entertaining, but also kind of weird and not really all that strong. The chorus is catchy, though.
Follow You Follow Me
A definite hit for the band, this cut has been raked over the coals by a lot of people, but frankly, I think it’s a great number.
Hold On My Heart There’s a bit of a Genesis sound on this, but overall it’s really got a lot of that too pop oriented Phil Collins solo sound. I’d have to chalk this one up as a “skip it” song.
Abacab This is one of the proggier songs on the Abacab disc. It’s hard rocking and a good tune (hit or not). This feels like it could have been a leftover from the Duke sessions. I really like the “C” part of this composition. For those who never heard the story, “abacab” refers to a song writing principle. You do section “a,” followed by section “b,” and then repeat “a,” and then do a section “c,” --- you get the idea. Of course, somehow it seems to me that they add a “d” into this (the percussive section that gives way to some killer keyboard textures), although I remember them saying that was the song structure of this. Perhaps they were referring to the single version, which I believe skipped this extended instrumental outro segment.
I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) This is an old school Genesis song – a Gabriel era one. I like the track and it’s one of the more purely progressive rock tunes here. Other than the live rendition of “The Carpet Crawlers” that closes the set, this is the only song from that period of the band.
No Son Of Mine Here’s another example of how that more modern pop sound can be combined with proggy elements to create a song that works really well. This is moody and powerful and I’ve always liked it a lot.
Tonight, Tonight, Tonight
Take the percussion based sound of Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight”. Blend in some old Genesis and you’ve got a good idea of this track. It feels like it could have fit quite nicely on Duke. I like this track a lot. It’s moody and mysterious and yet catchy at the same time. That’s a hard balance to pull off. The little electronic music section mid-track doesn’t do a lot for me, though.
In Too Deep
And the train comes off the tracks with this schmaltzy ballad. It’s just too precious and formulaic. Phil Collins’ vocal performance is evocative, but not powerful enough to save this. There’s a reason it gets played on light hits radio.
Starting off with a nice carribean/African tribal feel, Congo is another textural, moody piece that somewhat brings to mind And Then There Were Three, although the first break is more typical of newer Genesis. There are a few moments toward the end of the song that almost seem influenced by Peter Gabriel`s world music endeavors. This one has Ray Wilson providing the vocals.
Jesus He Knows Me A faster paced pop rocker, this is not terrible, but it’s also not very substantial. Still, there are some cool moments.
That's All Bouncy and quite pop oriented, somehow I’ve always liked this one. Don’t ask me why. It’s catchy and very mainstream – perhaps a bit like Supertramp – but it’s good – that’s all.
Misunderstanding This hit comes from Duke. One the earlier hits from the group this feels quite a bit like something from And Then There Were Three. It fares much better than much of the pop music the band delivered over the years.
Throwing It All Away
Another hunk of pop near drivel, this one’s not quite as bad as “In Too Deep”. This track and that one are quite literally throwaway songs, though.
The Carpet Crawlers 1999 Here’s a live version of a Gabriel era song. I’ve always loved this track and the band did a great job of it here. It’s a cool addition and by itself makes this set worth having.
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