Follow TV Tropes


YMMV / Phil Collins

Go To

  • Award Snub: A number of people felt "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" was snubbed in the Best Original Song categories in both the Academy Awards and Golden Globes; it lost both to "I Just Called to Say I Love You" by Stevie Wonder. The argument is that it's one of Wonder's weaker songs and essentially served as a lifetime achievement award, while "Against All Odds" is one of Collins' best songs and one of the most memorable parts of its eponymous film (to almost Watch It for the Meme status). Collins also wasn't invited to perform the song - which he wrote - at the Academy Awards, and was not amused by the largely lip-synced vocal performance of the song at the ceremony (he wasn't alone; the Los Angeles Times and People didn't like the performance either). "Against All Odds" did win the Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male, so it didn't go completely unrecognised.
  • Awesome Music:
    • "In the Air Tonight". Even people who don't normally like Collins' music are willing to make an exception for this song, particularly because of the drum break near the end. Additionally, the composer for ''Donkey Kong Country 2'' admitted to borrowing the music for the swamp level theme, and it works really well for it.
    • "Against All Odds" is one of the greatest Power Ballads of The '80s, covering most of the best aspects of Collins' mid-eighties sound in roughly three and a half minutes, and also managing to embody the strengths of the power ballad itself. No less a source than RZA said it was his favourite power ballad.
    • "Easy Lover" is a banger that became the theme tune for the first Wrestlemania, and had a Suspiciously Similar Song based on it for the intro stage in Double Dragon II.
  • Covered Up: "You Can't Hurry Love" was a song originally done by The Supremes in 1966.
  • Advertisement:
  • Creator Worship: He's divisive as a solo performer, but beloved as the drummer for Genesis.
  • Critical Dissonance: "Another Day in Paradise" was panned by music critics due to finding it hypocritical that a multi-million-selling musician is singing about homelessness and poverty, while general audiences love it for touching on said message. (Apparently some of these critics believed one needs to donate one's entire fortune to charity and live an ascetic lifestyle in order not to be a hypocrite for caring about homelessness or poverty, which carries with it some Unfortunate Implications.)
  • Epic Riff: The gated reverb drum break on "In the Air Tonight".
  • Face of the Band: He was definitely this for Genesis back in The '80s. Some radio DJs would even announce Genesis songs as being by "Phil Collins and Genesis", making it sound like the other members of Genesis were just his backing band who he sometimes performed with (and that's assuming they gave Genesis any credit — some DJs would announce Genesis songs as being Phil Collins songs instead).
  • Advertisement:
  • First Installment Wins: Face Value is easily regarded as his best album, to the point where even Collins' detractors are willing to agree that it's good. Beyond that, its first song, "In the Air Tonight", is his Signature Song and easily the best loved track in his solo discography, again, even among his critics.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: In the UK, Collins is extremely successful, but aside from "In the Air Tonight" his solo work is considered to be fairly naff by most people. Not so in the USA where, while still having his share of critics, he is revered as an icon by many R&B and hip-hop artists. They even put out a tribute album to him.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Phil sang at a Prince's Trust concert not long before Prince Charles and Princess Diana divorced. One of the songs was "Doesn't Anybody Stay Together Anymore", which Phil later on expressed discomfort at. The song itself is even less comfortable when you know that, since releasing it, not only did Phil end up divorcing his then-wife, but his eventual third marriage ended up failing as well (though on much more amicable terms than his first two divorces; they even reunited in 2016).
    • The song "I Don't Care Anymore", which was released in the early '80s when he was still gaining ground as a music star, was written about his first divorce. However, many of the lyrics in the song seem eerily prophetic regarding the hatedom that he would develop a decade later (and, to this day, still has yet to completely fade away).
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: One of the lines in "Doesn't Anybody Stay Together Anymore" goes:
    "My friends have fallen and they can't get up, it's the same old story."
  • Hype Backlash:
    • By the nineties Collins got overtaken by one of the biggest backlashes popular culture has ever seen (as the backlash for his Oscar win showed). It has definitely mellowed out over the years, but back in 2000, admitting that you were a still a fan of Phil Collins was the equivalent of saying you were a convicted murderer.
    • Word of God says that this was a major factor in the emergence of Britpop in the early 1990's. Those who were thoroughly tired of Collins got together to make "better" music with the intention of using it to push him off the airwaves. Explains why the old Britpop musicians (ESPECIALLY the Gallagher Brothers) continue to be his harshest critics.
  • Memetic Loser: He often gets this from music critics.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • From South Park: "Oim Phil Collins!"
    • The drum break from "In the Air Tonight", and the act of playing air drums to it. Listeners love it so much that, even at concerts where he's playing a solo piano rendition of the song, the audience will (vocally) provide the drum break at the appropriate moment. (Of particular note: Mike Tyson in The Hangover).
    • The fact that his first solo album was inspired by the break-up of his first marriage became the source of a lot of ribbing in British pop culture, such as in this Spitting Image sketch.
    • "Sussudio" in particular seems to be a magnet for these:
  • Never Live It Down: He divorced his second wife via fax machine.
    • Or at least that's what the tabloids said. According to Collins, their marriage had been on the rocks for some time and the infamous fax was continued expression of old information. Regardless, the tabloids ran with it and the trope applies to this day.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • "In the Air Tonight". Especially the music video.
    • "I Don't Care Anymore" has a similar ominous tone to "In the Air Tonight", and for most of the song, his vocal delivery is pure Tranquil Fury... until the end of the last verse, where he dispenses with the "tranquil" part and sings the last part of the song in one of his angriest vocal deliveries to date. Not long after this, the instrumentation gets louder to match. Even soft-rockers like him have their limits.
  • Periphery Demographic: Despite being well out of his heyday by the time they were born, there are several Gen Z kids who are fond of him and his music, thanks to him having done the soundtrack to Tarzan.
  • Popularity Polynomial:
    • Starting in the late 00's his hatedom started to fade, and now in The New '10s numerous music journalists have opined it's time Collins be "forgiven." It does appear that it is becoming acceptable to at least appreciate Collins again.
    • His Greatest Hits Album, originally released in 1998, shot back up to #6 on the Billboard 200 in July 2012 when temporarily discounted its price.
  • Replacement Scrappy: The (at least initial) reaction to him replacing Peter Gabriel as Genesis's lead singer.
  • Retroactive Recognition: The harried theater director in the "I Wish It Would Rain Down" video is George Bluth, Sr.
  • Sampled Up: The melody to "Take Me Home" was used as the melody for rap/R&B group Bone Thugz & Harmony's song "Home", which also included Collins' vocals on the chorus. Notably, Collins himself appears in the video with the band.
  • Signature Song: Hard to pick one. "In the Air Tonight", "Sussudio", "One More Night", and "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" are definite contenders though.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: "Another Day in Paradise" paints a very pretty picture about how homeless people are often rejected by society.
  • Song Association:
    • Rockstar Games love this guy, and Collins himself loves video games, which explains the use of many of his songs in the Grand Theft Auto series as well as his in-game appearance in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories.
    • If you've ever seen American Psycho, you'll likely never be able to listen to "Sussudio" again without thinking of Patrick Bateman plowing two chicks at the same time. "Do you like Phil Collins?"
    • "In the Air Tonight" is almost always associated with its use in either The Hangover or the two episodes of Miami Vice in which it appeared. In fact, a lot of his early 80s music is associated with Miami Vice, which isn't surprising considering that not only were several other songs of his were used, including "I Don't Care Anymore" and "A Long, Long Way to Go" (which is also associated with Cold Case, albeit to a much lesser degree), but Collins was even a guest star at one point. The 2006 movie even includes a cover of "In The Air Tonight" by nu metal band Nonpoint.
    • For countries (such as the UK and Australia) that sell Cadbury chocolate, "In the Air Tonight" is often associated with a commercial from the mid-2000s that featured a gorilla playing the drum solo from near the end of the song.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: Several noted that "Sussudio" sounds similar to Prince's "1999"; Collins himself even confirmed this as not entirely coincidental, as he reportedly listened to "1999" a lot around the time "Sussudio" was made.
  • Tear Jerker:
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: He was cast as the voice of Muk and Luk, a pair of non-singing comic relief polar bear cubs, in Balto.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: