Genesis frontman Phil Collins invented the bitter yet deceptively upbeat '80s pop song with his gloomy solo debut Face Value, but it's his 1982 sophomore effort that—of all his solo offerings—has aged the best. Ironically remembered best for his upbeat, note-perfect take on The Supremes' "You Can't Hurry Love", Hello, I Must Be Going! is a bitter, resentful record cloaked in a shimmering coat of punchy horn arrangements, aggressive drumming (Collins' trademark gated reverb sounds devastating on spiteful opener "I Don't Care Anymore"), and moody keyboard backdrops. Predating No Jacket Required's headfirst dive into synth-rock commercialism, Hello, I Must Be Going! stands the test of time as arguably the best album he ever recorded (on his own) and perhaps the closest he has or will ever get to being "cool".
"I Don't Care Anymore"
Collins spits out one of pop music's greatest "f—k you"s over a stomping, minimal groove with little more than a lone keyboard and jangling electric guitar... barely registering beneath the monolithic crunch of his drumming.
"I Cannot Believe It's True"
The first of three uptempo, almost swaggering R&B/Soul jams hiding heartbroken post-breakup lyrics. Seriously, has anyone in pop history ever demonstrated more disbelief that his lady has left him?
Phil's answer to Springsteen's "Rosalita"—Cockney loser falls in love with an Uptown Girl, parents obviously disapprove. A little embarrassing, but strangely endearing.
"Do You Know, Do You Care?"
A gloomy, cavernous synth rock dirge with more harsh post-relationship lyrical hashing.
"You Can't Hurry Love"
One of Phil's all-time biggest hits... couldn't be any more out of place on a record this dark.
"It Don't Matter To Me"
Another snappy, horn-driven R&B jam. It's all doom and gloom from here on in, I'm afraid...
"Thru These Walls"
Over somber, funereal keyboard chords, Phil pretends to be (I'm not joking) a pedophile shut-in who listens to his neighbors through the walls with an empty glass and watches children playing in a nearby playground from his apartment window. Yeah, no comment...
"Don't Let Him Steal Your Heart Away"
Wistful piano chords kick off this heavy sigh of a breakup ballad... Phil pleads with his ex-wife to take him back, promising that she'll never be anywhere near as happy with her new fella. In my opinion, one of the most emotionally endearing songs he ever wrote.
"The West Side"
An unexpected blast of horn-driven instrumental jazz, accented by Phil's limber drumming and a mournful saxophone solo. Okay, so maybe this one hasn't aged quite so well... although 2011 was the year of the sax solo, so maybe this song could see something of a resurgence.
"Why Can't It Wait 'Til Morning"
Wouldn't be a proper Phil Collins record with a sad-sap ballad to finish with, right?
© Musicology, by Brett Warner