Flamer's Alert (My Reaction to Foxtrot)


Dear all:

I recently took a step closer to completing my Genesis collection by purchasing Foxtrot.  Although a lot of you won't like me for saying this, the album turned out to be a major disappointment.

There were a few things I liked.  "Time Table" was by far my favorite.  The middle section of "Can-utility and the Coastliners" had some nice instrumental moments, but the melody line began to fragment towards the end, then Peter went psycho and let off sudden screams no doubt designed to test the listeners' startle reaction (I almost hit a car in front of me).  By itself "Horizon's" was a very pretty tune but it seemed a little out of place on this album, I felt it probably would fit much better on SEBTP or Ant's "The Geese and the Ghost". 

I guess it was no coincidence that my main problem with the album happened to be with the three tunes I had been previously familiar with through listening to Live and SO.  Actually "Watcher of the Skies" and "Get 'em out by Friday" were not entirely bad, they just somehow felt less intense and exciting than their respective live versions.  Also I always feel the latter song dragged on a few minutes too long. 

Then we come to that 20 plus minute epic which topped my favorite song list in my self-introduction message when I joined Paperlate.  Unfortunately here also lies my major objection to the album.  I was frankly shocked by how different the studio and the live versions of the song sounded.  Before I bought the album, I had innocently thought that the studio version of "Supper's Ready" would be exactly like the SO version save for Peter's deeper voice replacing Phil's lead vocal.  Boy was I wrong!  To Peter's credit, his pronunciation was clearer than Phil's.  However, he utterly failed to move me during most of this song.  In contrast to "Time Table", which showcased his strengths as a lead singer, "Supper's Ready" exposed some of his major weaknesses vocal-wise.  From "Lover's Leap" to "Willow Farm", he sounded a little distant and detached.  I wonder if Peter focused a little too much on trying to sound interesting and odd at the expense of relating warmth.  He also sounded a bit too serious during "Willow Farm".  Some members of the list had previously voiced the opinion that Peter did a better job towards the end of the song.  I beg to differ.  Granted he sounded much more emotional at this point and tried admirably to build a climax, it was still hard to ignore the fact that he was severely limited by his upper range during this attempt.  To my ears it sounded more painful than moving as he was attacking those high notes.  I ended up frowning throughout "As Sure as Eggs is Eggs" as I was listening to this for the first 3 or 4 times in my car (notice unlike some people I don't put away a Genesis album forever if I don't like it on first listen, I always give it plenty of chances to grow on me).  I would forgive this performance if it were a live version, but are you telling me this was the best out of many takes??  Guess now I have to clarify that my favorite Genesis song is "Supper's Ready", the SO version.  

A note to you would-be flamers:  Of course I don't post a message like this on Paperlate without expecting a storm of disagreement.  But before you unleash your wrath on me, first consider this inconsistency - why is it that Doug Boucher could get away with saying that the last 20 years of Genesis output was not worth a listen, yet you are going to bash me for not liking Foxtrot after many listens?                            

Take care,



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