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The good and bad of Genesis

The Good

The Carpet Crawlers (The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, 1974) The best Genesis number from the best Genesis period - the early seventies. Featuring a grand melodic tension, oddball lyrics and sweeping instrumentals, it features all of the characteristics that typified Progressive Rock during its finest moments. Alan Niester

Squonk (A Trick of the Tail, 1976) With a big, Bonham-like beat and a searing vocal performance, Phil Collins establishes himself firmly as frontman on the first post-Gabriel album. Fairytale lyrics describe a sly, shy mythical creature who dissolves into a puddle of tears when captured. Hmmm, wonder who that's about, then. Brad Wheeler

Land of Confusion (Invisible Touch, 1986) Late-period Genesis was a hit machine for a reason - their songs were hooky, well crafted and impeccably played. Land of Confusion is all that, of course, but it also has an edge, combining a critique of Reagan/Thatcher politics with riffs metallic enough that Disturbed covered the tune two decades later. J.D. Considine

The Bad

Misunderstanding (Duke, 1980) Even though this broken-heart ballad was a personal breakthrough for Phil Collins, moving him from singing drummer to full-fledged songwriter, that achievement is undercut by the bluesy blandness of the monotonous arrangement. Genesis as a bar band? Now that's a misunderstanding. J.D.C.

Illegal Alien (Genesis, 1983) Sometimes harmless fun hurts. Let's hope the border guards keep this mock mariachi thing out of the country. B.W.

I Can't Dance (We Can't Dance, 1991) Understandably this is from the Hits period of the nineties as opposed to the Underground period of the sixties and seventies, but even so! Inane by any standards, with a cloying Collins vocal and annoying melody line, this was just a mistake by a band that really didn't make very many. A.N.

© Globe and Mail, by Alan Niester, Brad Wheeler and J.D. Considine

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