Play Me My Song, Here It Comes Again...
Year everyone! Hopefully some of you will be relieved to hear that
I haven't left the group to grow cabbages or to start a solo career :)
The truth is, I am spending my winter break at my parents' place, lost
within this half-world of no internet connection. But it hardly
seems to matter now..., as a few generous friends have given me the
permission to use their computer while they are away. Even though
I will be flying back to Chicago tomorrow, I just can't resist the
temptation of posting something today.
You probably guessed it by now that I bought Nursery Cryme for New Year (from the Virgin Megastore in San Francisco), making Trespass the last item missing from my collection of G official catalog. The fact that I recently downloaded "For Absent Friends" and a live version of "Harlequin" from Audiogalaxy leaving "Seven Stones" and "Harold the Barrel" as the only 2 tunes from the album brand new to me did little to stop me from purchasing it anyway (my adventure on Audiogalaxy shall be the subject of a separate e-mail). Overall I am glad to report that I greatly enjoyed the album, it certainly gave me a better first impression than Foxtrot. So without further ado, here is a quick track-by-track:
The Musical Box - The perfect marriage of lyrics and melody, in other words, I LOVE this song! Although I have heard this song before on "LIVE", I never bothered to figure out the exact words so I missed an opportunity to appreciate this song fully. But when I sat down in the quiet and listened to this original studio version with the lyric sheet in my hands for the first time, I immediately understood why this had been such a great favorite among the fans. Although I have often objected when others on the list had overstated Peter's genius, I must give him a whole lot of credit here for concocting that twisted tale and making it work like magic lyrically. If ever there was a point in time when Genesis had achieved a state of synergy between music and pose, this would be it. This intoxicating blend keeps swirling round and round, slowly but surely building toward a richly rewarding climax. For me this track alone is worth the price of the CD.
For Absent Friends - Another great tune, short and sweet. The lyrics paint a vivid picture, and while there is a hint of emptiness and loss between the lines, Phil's sunny vocals somehow buoy above them and provide a gentle comfort. This adds to a long line of evidence that Phil does not and has never really sounded like Peter.
The Return of the Giant Hogweed - Another song that I have heard before on "LIVE". Here however, I must give the edge to the live version. While The words are quite amusing, Peter's voice during the opening lines of the song is so repulsive that "turn and run" is usually my first compulsion when I hear it.
Seven Stones - This is my least favorite track on the album. The melody doesn't seem to flow naturally and the lyrics are somewhat awkward at times.
Harold the Barrel - Not great, but I don't mind this song. A lot of people on the list seem to detest it, maybe they can't picture Peter singing with this comical style which they associate with Phil. Or maybe they don't like any song that doesn't have some "deep" meaning. I think it's just a fun song like "Hogweed", it doesn't deserve all the bashing it gets.
Harlequin - Nice harmonies and stylistically similar to "For Absent Friends". I find it interesting how the band put these two sister tracks at symmetrical positions on the album. I wonder if it was on purpose.
The Fountain of Salmacis - This is no "Musical Box", but I have always liked the version on 3SL. Possibly Mike's finest lyrical moments. On the plus side, this studio version features more subtle instrumental touches. On the minus side, I have to tell it like it is, I find Peter's lead vocals once again leave something to be desired. Was it because he did not write the words?
There it is, my review of Nursery Cryme, an album made before I was born. Btw I would like to mention that I played some of the G albums for my parents over the last few weeks, and was surprised to find that my dad loved "That's All" and get this, my mom's fave was none other than "Apocalypse" and Tony's piano solo at the beginning of "Firth of Fifth". Cool!