Having the promise of a good day-with those of us here at the Nielsen home for underemployed sots getting out early for a midweek holiday of dubious value. What could be better? How about today’s artist? They started in England way back in 1967, but today’s album is a 1986 release replete with puppeteering. This album was their lucky # 13th release.
Genesis – Invisible Touch
Listen here: http://grooveshark.com/#!/playlist/Gensis+Invisible+Touch/74650813
Read About it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_Touch
One year Ago – Gravediggaz -6 Feet Deep
Fun Facts: “Land of Confusion” was used in “Freefall,” the final episode of the 1980s cop show Miami Vice (a show on which Phil Collins had guest starred) during a scene in which the characters Crockett (Don Johnson) and Tubbs (Philip Michael Thomas) were in the middle of a stakeout. The song implied the complexity of the story during the finale.
Original Date Assigned: 7/3/12
Genesis – Invisible Touch
Preconceptions: My sister gave me the 12th Genesis album (the cleverly titled “Genesis”) for my 16th birthday, knowing full well that I didn’t care for them. She then played it for the entire summer. Dick move, sis.
After: Invisible Touch is better than the worst birthday present ever, but not by much.
Favorite Track: Let’s say… Land of Confusion? For the Reagan puppet video.
Least Favorite: Really, Phil? Domino couldn’t have been cut down to under six minutes? I know this is my penance for a few of my season 3 picks. It’s pre-karma. I should have picked The Getaway as a preemptive strike…
Overall: While I had never listened to this album (probably because my sister didn’t get me any present that year), I have heard all of these songs before. This album was so huge when I was in high school that it was everywhere. It’s monolithic crossover appeal clogged both the top 40 and rock stations and simply ownd MTV. I guess I owe this album for my interest in punk rock, as I switched to college radio to avoid Phil Collins and his ilk. When my weird 80s albums come up, don’t blame me. It’s Phil’s fault.
Prelistening guess: 1.0
Season 3 to date: +2.1
Genesis – Invisible Touch
Admittedly, I don’t know as much about Genesis as I should. I remember summer shindigs where Phil Collins would be crooning in the huge random playlist my dad would create, followed by Roy Orbison and Carly Simon. I do know that they ended up breaking up and Phil Collins had several solo albums and penned the soundtrack for Disney’s Tarzan.
Holy crap, the album started and it felt like I needed to crimp my hair and slide on the neon spandex and affix the adhesive 3-D Synergy earrings and cosplay the crap outta Jem and the Holograms (the Misfits songs WERE better, FYI).
There were only two songs that I actually knew.
Also? Random thought: Colin Hay and Phil Collins look ridiculously similar.
Land of Confusion – I loves me an epic rock story.
In Too Deep – This is the Genesis equivalent of a Peter Gabriel boombox moment in a movie. I think I remember hearing this on an episode of Kids Incorporated when a guy was singing it to another guy. Did that actually happen or am I going insane?
Anything She Does – This would have been fantastic if they had ever made a movie that was a mix between Short Circuit and Weird Science, where two pubescent boys build an android. Actually, Weird Science’s Lisa had a flawed creation. All they did was cut and scan things. For it to turn out as Kelly LeBrock and not some sort of grotesquely malformed creature is highly unlikely. Shame on young me, for thinking “THIS IS TOTALLY PLAUSIBLE AND RAD!”
Least favorite track/tracks:
Tonight, Tonight, Tonight – I’ve never liked this song. I don’t know why.
Domino (Part 1 & 2) – It seemed to go on forever. That’s not a hard thing when the song is ten minutes long.
Overall (1-5 stars): 3
Genesis – Invisible Touch- I hate Phil Collins. I’d like to bully him. Therefore, i hate Genesis. I’ve tried to like them but they’re like The Police, they sizzuck. .3
Preconceived Notions: My pick, and yes, I bought this on vinyl. Not during the original time, of course, I was 3. But sometime in the last three years, I’ve realized that my supposed “ironic” liking of things that the educated masses deem simple, over-exposed, or useless, isn’t ironic at all, but instead, very earnest. I like Phil Collins; I like 80s music even more. I think the first time I became aware of Genesis, as a band, was when I went through my Peter Gabriel phase. It wasn’t really a phase, it was an inability to stop watching “Say Anything” accompanied by the predictable side effect of feeling the need to listen to “In Your Eyes” in a loop repeat for about 3 days, then repeated once every 2 weeks. It’s a common symptom of being a teenage girl. But then I realized that Phil Collins took over and the band embraced the always-dumped-on pop scene as opposed to the “artistic” oeuvre of Gabriel, and somehow one day on Youtube I got sucked down the 80s video rabbit hole and ended up on the video for “Invisible Touch” recorded during one of the band’s world tours. When I found the album in a Goodwill, it was clearly meant to be
Invisible Touch – If this doesn’t put some pep in your step this morning, well, then I guess the only thing that will get you through this day is either your extreme hatred of everything or an adrenaline shot directly in to your heart. I wish I was driving a DeLorean with the windows rolled down right now, wearing a baby pink Members Only jacket with the sleeves rolled and pushed up.
Tonight, Tonight, Tonight-It’s easy for anyone’s brain to automatically confuse this with “In The Air Tonight”, and while we never really get the full release that that oft-air-drummed moment in the previously mentioned song provides, the musical breakdown in the middle is at least acceptable, and I like the foreshadowing in the lyrics by using “in too deep” about 5 minutes through the song.
In Too Deep- So who’s NOT going to mention “American Psycho” “Patrick Bateman” or “Bret Easton Ellis” in their review? If someone DOES NOT do this, I’ll buy you one business card of your own design. I don’t care if this song has been forever altered by an axe-wielding serial killer (OR IS HE?!) this song is friggin’ wonderful. It’s designed for maximum sobbage during a break-up. It could also make a wonderful scene at a karaoke bar. Oh man, those Casio settings are in full force here, and the chorus just rhymes so perfectly, even if it only makes 50% sense. This seems like one of those songs that gets played at proms or weddings when a DJ has no idea what the song actually says. It’s the perfect tempo for awkward swaying. I listened to this song 4 times before moving on to the rest of the album, I’ll accept your Facebook Friend resignations through the end of the week if this offends you.
Anything She Does- I wish they didn’t say what the song is about on Wikipedia. I like the super 80’s-ness of the song though. It makes me wish Eddie Murphy and Judge Reinhold would do Beverly Hills Cop IV.
Domino- We’ve listened to worse songs that went on for 10 minutes. While this doesn’t have radio airplay written all over it, it still fits in with the sound of the rest of the album, and I don’t think it tries anyone’s patience, but I’m sure I’ll be proven incorrect in that assumption.
Throwing It All Away –another Sunday morning 80’s jam! While this is probably best listened to as background music for making pancakes, and technically now goes under the category of the dreaded “easy listening”, if it’s between this and Drake on the radio, Phil gets the listen every time. It’s also acceptable for playing during the first hour of Delilah’s syndicated show. I’m guessing that the story that gets this song played involved a woman named Missy calling from Wisconsin talking about her boyfriend George. George is a constant cheater but he always apologizes so nicely that Missy takes him back, but this time, she can’t forgive him. Delilah assures Missy that she is a kind, loving, wonderful woman who deserves more than George.
The Brazilian- For all of the uber-80s feel of the rest of this album, I actually think, perhaps with a different sound on the drum machine, you could hear this at a summer outdoor festival today, probably as the intro to an M-83 song.
After Listening- I loved it, I probably always will, let the panning from our far more “knowledgeable” and irascible members begin!
Favorite Tracks: Invisible Touch, In Too Deep
Least Favorite-I’ll go with Domino, for sheer length (don’t make that joke kids). It wouldn’t be fair for me to criticize other albums for having 8+ minute songs and not one of my album picks.
Preconceived Notions: For reasons we’ll get to, I was hoping one Mr Phil Collins would not make an appearance in anything RC remotely touched with a proverbial 10 foot pole. It’s a very awkward test of my rampant predilection for early & mid 80’s pop music. But let’s take a deep breath and deal with this…
After Listening: This did not age well at all. Even the “hits” I thought I’d get some enjoyment from –fall a bit flat– almost a dull assault which instead of causing pain has you checking your pulse every 30 seconds or so to make sure you’re not dead. In a way it’s pretty remarkable that this record steered clear of a lot of 80’s cliché’s, oh sure with the sound of the drums – and some synth stuff toward the middle and end of the record you easily pinpoint it as an 80’s era creation, but it’s carried with a little restraint. And therein lies the downfall – if this record say had more over the top synth lines like Yes’s opening to “Owner of a Lonely Heart” or the cheesy chorus structure to say a Baltimora’s “Tarzan Boy” then maybe something would get interesting. I mean it was an era to embrace the big insane sounds – and yet this record is giving us a middle of the road work which tries to pass itself off as art rock and pop all at once. They should’ve taken the advice of the greatest sensei of the decade “Walk on road, hm? Walk left side, safe. Walk right side, safe. Walk middle, sooner or later….get squish just like grape.” If you’re telling me this record is just the product of the band’s natural evolution (or lack thereof) combined with the technology of the day rather than a consciousness attempt to walk this middle grapey squish blandness…well I can accept that as well – but it doesn’t make it better.
If you want to discuss the “singing” on this record and give a bigger assignment of this band’s struggles on Phil…well I suppose it’s time for the awkward part of this review…
I don’t mind Phil Collins, in fact Phil has several songs I enjoy (not all – dear god not all- especially his Disney associated content)…in fact as a fictional contemporary of mine famously said about Phil… “ I have two ears and a heart don’t I?” At his best Phil embodies the cartoonish side of sentimentality – it’s big, bold schmaltzy – and lyrically has moments of absurd clarity.
There isn’t enough of this on this record – the rock stuff –even “Land Of Confusion” takes away from the side of Phil that’s most attractive – we get rocker and self deprecator Phil mostly on here, and that’s simply not good enough.
Favorite Tracks: “In too Deep” & “Throwing it all Away” – these are the 2 closest Phil songs in the vein that I respect him most. Even though they fall a bit short of the grandeur of a “One more Night” , “Against All Odds” or “Separate Lives” – they are still admirable efforts. “In too Deep” is the weaker of the two, but it has a great keyboard tone at the end – which makes you think the record is going to turn into a more 80’s affair…unfortunately it only leads to…
Least Favorite Tracks “Anything She does”, “Domino” & “The Brazilian” – These are the tracks that Genesis fans probably point to as a badge of honor – yeah man “Domino” that’s the peak of their musical talents. Thankfully, removed from that subset of humanity I can rather flatly determine that 10mins of Genesis is at least 8 mins more than necessary.
Overall 2.73 I really thought I’d have enjoyed this more, I mean I recognized “Land Of Confusion” and “Tonight, Tonight” off the bat but the former seemed to lack the punch I remembered and the latter dragged on to an absurd length for what it was (the must’ve had a radio edit no?). And those examples sum up this album – there’s no punch, and most of the songs are mindless jams – that never even so much as modulate. Again, Genesis fans might scoff at the notion of me harping so much on Phil – but really without his more outlandishly (some say awful – some say so awful it’s good) sentimental side – this record just doesn’t have many memorable characteristics.
Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going go pop in some White Nights…