From Genesis To Revelation


Dear Paperlaters:

Disclaimer:  this post contains long-winded analysis of a Genesis album by someone who knows nothing about musical theory and has only been a Genesis fan for 3 years.  Read it at your own risk.

This past weekend I visited a brand new music store in my neighborhood.  In fact the place was so new that it hadn't even officially opened for business and was still in the process of stocking up their merchandise.  I must have been one of the first 10 customers they had.  I went in with nothing but Nursery Cryme in mind (it was the next in line according to my reverse chronological Genesis buying schedule).  I wasn't that surprised to find that they did not have NC or Trespass but unexpectedly discovered a copy of From Genesis to Revelation.  This version was a 2000 release by Snapper Music with 2 discs including the original 13 songs plus the B-sides, demos of "Try a Little Sadness" and "Patricia" and an interview (which I only later realized to be involving the ever-obnoxious Jonathan King, more on this later).  At about 15 dollars I thought it was pretty cheap for a double CD so I bought this even though I hadn't been looking for it.

All in all I must say that FGTR turned out to be a very pleasant surprise, in contrast to Foxtrot which was somewhat of a let-down as I detailed earlier on the list.  Being the only 60's offer from our favorite band, this was a very unique album in their catalogue, sounding like a mix of the Beatles, the Bee Gees and the Carpenters IMO.  Without further delay, here is a brief track-by-track:

Where the Sour turns to Sweet - strong start, established the dominance of acoustic guitars.     
In the Beginning - I like it even better than the previous track.

Fireside Song - The prettiest song on the album, excellent for slow-dances (and perfect for the AC radio stations for that matter).  The little instrumental bit at the end is out of place and unnecessary though.

The Serpent - I'm not sophisticated enough to appreciate this song.

Am I Very Wrong? - incredible verses and very good Gabriel vocals towards the end, but the background vocals (whoever did them) could have been stronger.

In the Wilderness - very promising start, but then goes into a chorus that is less than remarkable.  Almost sounds like a Barry Manilow song at one point(!).

The Conqueror - see "The Serpent".

In Hiding - the best part is the first few seconds of guitars which led me to anticipate for something insanely gorgeous, but the rest of the song was less than impressive.

One Day - an all-around excellent song, should have been a single.

Window - anticlimactic chorus ruins an otherwise fine composition.

In Limbo - good song, particularly liked the drums.  On this song Pete gave us a hint of what he would sound like later on.

The Silent Sun - Pete's vocal was flat during part of the verses and again the song was hurt by a weak chorus.  I thought it was a mistake for this to be chosen as a single. 

A Place to Call My Own - a brief and appropriate wrap-up for the concept. 

Of the B-sides, I like "One Eyed Hound" where the boys tried to get a little more soulful and largely succeeded.  I also love "Image Blown Out" although it was far too short. 

Maybe you couldn't tell by my comments so far, but for the record I was highly impressed by this album.  It was a shame that FGTR became one of the first casualties on Survivor.  Sure it was not as musically developed as some of their subsequent albums, but an unmistaken intelligence and genuine emotions shine through regardless.  These schoolboys showed a level of musical maturity and ambition that went way beyond their years.  And forgive me for saying this, but judging from the promotional photo of the band in the CD booklet they also looked 10 times as cute as any of the prominent boybands today (especially Tony and Pete, they were so dashing!).       

One thing I must mention, though.  The 22 minute interview with Jonathan King at the end of the second CD was mostly a waste of space.  The guy was so unmodest it was nauseating.  He was so self-indulgent that he spent the first 5 minutes talking about his own pop career and calling himself "an international star".  Not only did he give himself sole credit for discovering Genesis, but he bragged about giving musical advice to each and everyone in the band.  Just when I thought he had reached the limit, he topped it all by telling us that he was "always ahead of everyone else by ten steps".  Note my quotes may not be 100% accurate since I could only suffer through his speech once and could never force myself to listen to it again.



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