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Phil Collins

Face Value

Review by Gary Hill

So, let’s be clear right at the start. I’m not saying this album is progressive rock. Clearly, it’s not. Sure, there are some proggy moments, but it’s really just a pop rock album. It’s under prog rock because Phil Collins is prog guy through his work in Genesis and Brand X. Now, onto the review itself. This disc is quite a listenable release. It’s got some classic material and Collins hadn’t gone fully into his Motown inspired pop phase yet. I’d have to say that I like the disc a lot. I’m not crazy about the fact that this type of sound wound up dominating Genesis later. But taken outside of that context, the musical motifs are tasty.


This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
In The Air Tonight

It’s a safe bet that pretty much everyone on the planet has heard this moody piece. It’s mellow and sparse, and very cool. I’ve always loved this track. I know there are a lot of people who think it’s overplayed and over-rated, but I’d say that it holds up. I still think it’s a great piece of music.

This Must Be Love
Another mellow piece, this seems to combine R & B and jazz in a balladic arrangement. 
Behind The Lines
This bouncy piece is an alternate take on the song from Genesis Duke album. Take that cut and give it a Motown treatment and you’ll have a good idea of what this sounds like. 
The Roof Is Leaking
Here’s another sparse cut. It’s kind of cool, but doesn’t have the same killer mood as the opening number. It’s a piano based number and rather like something Genesis might have done as a band. 
Droned
This instrumental is very much in keeping with a progressive rock aesthetic and it wouldn’t be hard to imagine it coming from Genesis. It’s a cool piece. 
Hand In Hand
Here’s another that really feels to me like Genesis could have done it, but in a bit different format. It’s a mellow number that has a catchy melody and some proggy changes. There’s a horn section that brings in more of that Motown element that Collins frequently sought in his solo works. It’s another instrumental, although there are some non-lyrical vocals. 
I Missed Again
There’s more of that Motown feeling on this hit. It’s got a killer hook and some great vocals. While this is very much along the lines of the type of Genesis music that I don’t like, coming from Phil Collins solo, I love it. It’s one of my favorites of his solo repertoire. 
You Know What I Mean
This is a pretty ballad. It’s not exceptional, but it’s a nice change of pace and works rather well.
Thunder And Lightning
A rocker that combines some proggy, Genesis like sounds with more standard pop rock, this is tasty. It’s definitely got a lot in common with the Genesis sounds that would dominate that band later. 
I'm Not Moving
A bouncy little cut, this reminds me a bit of some of the Genesis music. In a way, it’s a more pop oriented take on sounds from the Gabriel era of Genesis, at least in the first half of the track. We’re taken into more Motown like territory later. 
If Leaving Me Is Easy
This ballad is the most sedate cut on show. It’s not bad, but a little lackluster. It does get some cool revamping later, though.
Tomorrow Never Knows
Here Collins covers The Beatles. His take has an almost early Pink Floyd element to it at times. It captures the psychedelic texture of the original while bringing a more modern sound to the table, too.
 
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