Even though some fans were disappointed by the lack of new material, the Platinum Collection deserves a closer look, not least because it is the first compilation of Genesis songs to cover the band’s whole career. Genesis buffs will be delighted to find that many of the older songs were carefully remixed so that they appear in a whole new light. The reason why Genesis went to such lengths with the songs is, of course, the upcoming release of the band’s complete back catalogue on SACD in 5.1 surround mixes, their very first album From Genesis To Revelation, however, excepted. To accomplish the remixes, one has to separate the original multitrack recordings and remix them completely. Many of these songs have been treated like that already. The by-products of the 5.1 mixes, i.e. the all-new stereo mixes, were used for this Genesis starter kit. The Platinum Collection does not consist of newly recorded or restructured versions of the songs, which is what many people would call a ‘remix’. There were neither additions nor was anything left out. The songs were simply brushed up using modern technology. The net result is a much more homogenous audio tour through the history of Genesis than it was hitherto possible to have. People who are familiar only with the more recent and better-known output of our heroes will find it much easier to discover Genesis’ past. That’s why the tracks are in an (almost correctly) anti-chronological order, starting with more recent material and proceeding to older songs.
CD1 1997 – 1982
CD1 covers the last four studio releases. There may not be a lot of material to choose from from those last 15 years, in particular if you compare it to the output of their first 15 years. But it certainly was the period in which the band were at their most popular and successful. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that many of the songs featured here also appeared on the 1999 Hits Collection. On this CD, however, you will find almost nothing but complete album versions.
The disc opens with hits from the 1992 We Can’t Dance album. Not only fans of post-Collins Genesis and Ray Wilson’s voice won’t find that too logical, but it makes sense for people who are not yet familiar with the band: It is familiar sounds that lead them into the world of Genesis. The following songs make their appearance: No Son Of Mine (with an intro shortened by two bars), I Can’t Dance, Jesus He Knows Me and Hold On My Heart.
The next five songs take you back in time, precisely to 1986, because they are all from Invisible Touch. Again, the focus was on single releases. The live classic Domino would have been a very welcome addition to many, but, well, these are the songs: Invisible Touch, Tonight, Tonight, Tonight (shortened single version), Land Of Confusion and In Too Deep.
The self-titled album from 1983 was worthily represented by all tracks from side one of the album, i.e. the single hits Mama and That’s All, the live classic Home By The Sea and its other half, Second Home By The Sea. Illegal Alien was not quite as successful a single, but it is included here, too. We are pleased to note that it is a remixed version of the song and that the backing vocals are much more differentiated.
The next song, Paperlate, was never released on a regular album but only as a single / EP (in 1982). It is a leftover from the 1981 Abacab sessions. This is a new mix compared to Paperlate’s latest appearance on the Archive 2 box set. The brass is much stronger, the vocals were moved into the foreground and some of the keyboard parts are more prominent than before.
The title song of the first album the band released with new singer Ray Wilson after Collins‘ departure closes the first disc. Curiously enough, it was Calling all stations and not the album’s most successful single Congo that was picked. Apparently, even One Man’s Fool was shortlisted for this box at one time. It seems that the band felt they did not need any other tracks from that album, though.
The Platinum Collection is not just another 3CD compilation. It is the only release so far to include all eras of the band’s history and provide a decent general view of the three decades of this unique band for newcomers. It is regrettable that some classics had to be left out (had they really?) because not all songs fully represent the variety of music on the album they come from. With 15 albums under their belt, the band should have gone for a 4CD box with the appropriate layout. The 20 page booklet is another missed opportunity. It only includes brief texts by Hugh Fielder, fotos of the album covers but no single image of the band. Surely there would have been a way to tell the history of the band in a more interesting way. We applaud the fact that most of the older tracks were used in the remixed versions made by Genesis’ mixer-in-residence Nick Davis. Still it may be asked why some of the songs did not get a thorough overhaul. There would have been space for the odd single mix to please collectors of rarities, particularly since this collection has such a strong focus on single releases. Be that as it may, a price of around EUR 20 is quite attractive. The Genesis fan community will hopefully grow strongly this Christmas.