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Awesome Music / Genesis

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Widely considered to be the greatest progressive rock band in history, a colossal amount of the Genesis discography can be described as this:

  • Their first album proper (From Genesis to Relevation isn't always counted as an album), Trespass, instantly demonstrated what was to come.
    • The album contains two early classics, "Stagnation" and "The Knife", both of which are masterful in their own ways. The former is beautiful and mysterious; the latter is heavy and dark.
    • "Visions of Angels" is a beautiful, epic ballad with some excellent mellotron work (especially near the end), thoughtful lyrics and seamless transitions from quiet and melancholy verses to a soaring, yearning chorus.
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  • Their second album, Nursery Cryme, opens with the magnificent proto-metal "The Musical Box" and also features the stunning "The Return of the Giant Hogweed" and "The Fountain of Salmacis". The album was clearly a big influence on the heavy metal musicians of the late 70s and early 80s.
  • "Supper's Ready" is considered their crowning achievement. A 23-minute epic suite of seven songs that fit together very well, the song is an absolutely enthralling journey through different styles of music, featuring near-perfect performances from all five original Genesis members. It also includes an immensely complicated keyboard solo from Tony Banks, in a section called "Apocalypse in 9/8". The best parts, unsurprisingly, come near the end, where, after being plunged in darkness near the end of the section about the Antichrist, the stage explodes in light and Peter Gabriel, bathed in white, sings his heart out in an adaptation of the last few lines of the Bible. The album the song is on, Foxtrot, is considered a classic of the prog genre, also featuring other two other famous early Genesis songs, "Watcher of the Skies" and "Get 'Em Out by Friday". The former of these two opened many Genesis concerts in the Peter Gabriel era.
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  • Selling England by the Pound, though undeniably flawed in some areas, is considered a landmark in progressive rock. It notably features three songs considered solid-gold Genesis classics, "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight", "Firth of Fifth", and "The Cinema Show". It also contains the second-longest Genesis studio album track, "The Battle of Epping Forest", which, despite being over-the-top and a bit messy, still shows the band's timeless talent and ability to weave so many ideas together. And "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)", the band's first single to hit the charts (peaking at #21), is a fine example of psychedelic rock. The album itself has been regularly duking it out with Jethro Tull's Thick as a Brick for the spot of the #2 rated prog album of all time on Prog Archives (behind Yes' Close to the Edge). Even lesser pieces like the instrumental "After the Ordeal" would still be standouts on other albums.
  • The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway is seen by many progressive rock fans as the greatest concept album in music history. A 90-minute journey under New York City, the album contains a lot of everything that makes Genesis such an extraordinary band, and much more. Though to many the first half is better than the second, the entire album is a monumental achievement that few fans can criticize.
    • The title track is especially awesome. "And the laaaaamb... lies doooooooown... on BROOOOADWAY!"
    • Just slightly behind "Supper's Ready" in the list of great Genesis tracks is the "In the Cage" medley from Three Sides Live, consisting of "In the Cage," "The Cinema Show," "The Colony of Slippermen," and "Afterglow" (some shows also included "Unquiet Sleep for the Slumberers" between The Cinema Show and The Colony of Slippermen.) During a handful of shows on the Invisible Touch tour, they pulled out a different version of the "In the Cage" medley, culminating in the finale of "Supper's Ready". Considering most of the people at these shows had probably only heard the hit radio songs from the band, this probably made their heads explode. The medley would be dusted off for the 2007 tour, and made even better by incorporating "Duke's Travels" into it.
    • One Lamb song, "Carpet Crawlers", is awesome in its own right, but in 1998 all five members of Genesis who worked on the Lamb album (Gabriel, Collins, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford, and Steve Hackett) went back to to the studio and re-recorded it for the upcoming Turn It On Again: The Hits Greatest Hits Album. The result, "The Carpet Crawlers 1999", manages to be even more awesome.
  • The two albums released after the departure of Peter Gabriel (with Phil Collins becoming lead vocalist), A Trick of the Tail and Wind & Wuthering, are where the band arguably hit perfection. Both of them are considered absolutely flawless by many (especially when put together), with some of the best lyrics, keyboard solos, guitar solos, drumming and vocals that the band has to offer. "Dance on a Volcano", "Squonk", and "Mad Man Moon" are standout tracks on A Trick of the Tail, while "Your Own Special Way", "One for the Vine", and "Eleventh Earl of Mar" are a sample of the best of Wind and Wuthering.
  • Between A Trick of the Tail and Wind and Wuthering, the band released the Spot the Pigeon EP, a return to the early prog rock sound of such albums as Trespass. The standout track, "Inside and Out", takes up the second side and is a brilliant exercise in gradually building the energy of a song, all four band members giving of their very best.
  • Seconds Out is the band's absolutely essential live album, capturing them at their very best in 1977; many call it the best live album in progressive rock history. It contains an excellent performance of "Supper's Ready", as well, which some fans even consider better than the studio version!
  • The band themselves aren't very fond of ...And Then There Were Three..., but it still has a number of gems on it. "Snowbound" is a gorgeous ballad... about hiding a dismembered body in a snowman. Opener "Down and Out" is a complex progressive rock piece that often resembles "Dance on a Volcano". "The Lady Lies", "Deep in the Motherlode", and "Burning Rope" are other highlights.
  • As divisive as Duke, the second album released after Steve Hackett's departure, may be, "Duchess" is a fascinating part of the musical portrait of the rise and fall of a diva, and stands out as Genesis' first track to use a drum machine. The "hidden" side-long progressive epic ("Behind the Lines"/"Duchess"/"Guide Vocal"/"Turn It On Again"/"Duke's Travels"/"Duke's End") anchors the album, which, combined with the radio-friendly pop tracks ("Misunderstanding"/"Man of Our Times/"Alone Tonight"/"Heathaze"), make it probably the only album in the entire Genesis discography that strikes a balance between the band's progressive rock roots and the more mainstream pop albums the band wrote later on. "Heathaze" may be one of the few tracks fans of the band's pop material and fans of the group's prog material can agree on. It's widely praised on prog sites like Prog Archives as well.
  • Abacab gives us the seven-minute title track and "Dodo/Lurker", both proving that just because a band goes for a more commercial sound, they don't have to leave instrumental sophistication behind.
  • From Genesis we have the eleven-minute epic "Home by the Sea"/"Second Home by the Sea", which manages to be a both catchy pop song and a sophisticated prog epic at the same time. "Mama" also straddles the division to a certain extent, and also somehow manages to be both sexy and terrifying at the same time.
  • Invisible Touch has "Domino", a ten-minute epic that goes from a tragic romance to The End of the World as We Know It, and "The Brazilian", an instrumental that manages to update the band's classic prog sound to the mid-'80s. The instrumental break of "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight" also bears mention, proving that even at their most commercial, Genesis could still be pretty adventurous when they wanted to be. "Land of Confusion" definitely deserves a mention too, as well as the twelve-inch remix.
  • We Can't Dance has "Driving the Last Spike", an often tragic ten-minute tribute to the labourers who built the railroads; "Dreaming While You Sleep", a condensed Rock Opera from the point of view of a guilt-wracked hit-and-run driver; and "Fading Lights", which, fittingly for the Grand Finale of their last album with Collins, serves as a fitting capstone to their entire career dating back to Trespass, somehow managing to combine elements of the band's sound across that entire period.


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