My Record Collection: We Can't Dance - Genesis (1991)
Band Name: Genesis
Album Name: We Can't Dance
Release Date: 28 October, 1991
Band Members: Tony Banks (keyboards), Phil Collins (drums, percussion, vocals, drum machines) and Mike Rutherford (guitars, bass guitar)
Genre: Soft Rock, Progressive Rock
I have been a fan of Genesis for a very long time. It is one of my favourite albums from the group.There is just something about the lyrics that always got me back listening to this album. Let us go into the details of the album and see if after 28 years, it is still holding up well.
1. No Son of Mine
2. Jesus He Knows Me
3. Driving the Last Spike
4. I Can't Dance
5. Never a Time
6. Dreaming While You Sleep
7. Tell Me Why
8. Living Forever
9. Hold on My Heart
10. Way of the World
11. Since I Lost You
12. Fading Lights
No Son of Mine - Genesis Official Video
I personally think that this is one of the strongest albums from Genesis. I know some hardcore fans from the Peter Gabriel years will advise that this is rubbish. How can you like the later years of Genesis? They lost their identity.
You may have a point. It is true that the Phil Collins era had a more mainstream sound. In fact, it was getting more and more difficult to separate the Phil Collins solo efforts with the albums released under Genesis.
On the flip side though, if Genesis would have stayed with the same sound, we would not have liked the band so much. One of the reasons they were popular at the beginning was due to Peter Gabriel and his more progressive sound. Instead of continuing with a sound that Collins probably could not contribute to make better, he decided to make it his own. His decision is hard to argue because their previous album to this one, Invisible Touch was their biggest financial success.
The argument that Phil Collins sold out, Peter Gabriel did as well. You cannot say that Sledgehammer and Shock the Monkey are not mainstream sounding hits. Both went their way and carved a path that is their own. It just so happens that Phil Collins continued under the Genesis banner.
Back to the review at hand with We Can't Dance. As mentioned above this is their follow up album to their very successful Invisible Touch, which had such hits as Invisible Touch, Land of Confusion and In Too Deep.
Did they manage to make a good follow up to that album? I personally think that they did.
No Son of Mine is a strong start to this album. It is about a son having a falling out with his parents as there was abuse in the household. He could not stand it so he left. Years later he decides to return. Does time heal all wounds? His father does not think so as he tells his son, "You're No Son of Mine".
Then there is a song that you can at first think it is a humorous take on TV Evangelists with Jesus He Knows Me. However, as years pass by, I realize how true this is. Especially when you see TV Evangelists buying jet planes and in some cases 3 cause Jesus told them to do it.
Never a Time is a really well written break up song. Yes, it has that Phil Collins sound but it does not mean that it is not a good track. It feels like a song where he is just sitting alone trying to understand what has happened to the relationship.
Dreaming While You Sleep is about a hit and run and how the protagonist has a very guilty conscious and cannot get away from it. This is a good piece of storytelling. I do not know what inspired this song but it has to be from a true story. In addition, the music for this track is fantastic.
A really good storytelling track is Driving the Last Spike. This is a song written in the memory of workers whom lost their lives building the British railways in the 19th century. it is the second longest song on the album after Fading Lights. The strange thing is that it never feels that long. You are taken in by the lyrics and learning a little about British history. Is it accurate, I could not tell but it is convincing.
Since I Lost You, I learned about the true meaning of this song a long time ago. One of Phil Collin's good friends, Eric Clapton, had lost one of his sons. This was a dedication to Clapton's son. Although it is not as popular as Tears in Heaven by Clapton himself, it is still a strong entry and surprised it falls at the end of the track listing.
Since I Lost You - Genesis
There you have it, my favourite tracks on the album. How is this album overall? It is a good album.
The album charted pretty well going platinum in various countries including Canada and the United States. However, I feel that most people only remember We Can't Dance and may be Hold on My Heart. The album is good from beginning to end. I would even argue that it is the last good complete Phil Collins album since that time.
Sadly, this would be the last album with Phil Collins as lead singer of Genesis.
The progressive crowd will see hints of their roots in the Living Forever and Fading Lights.There are long instrumental stretches in there that takes you back to the early years. However, this is about it, the rest is more mainstream, radio friendly material.
This is really worth a listen and forget that this is a mainstream album. To be honest, listening to it today, it has aged pretty well. You could not tell that this came out in the early 90's. This album could have come out today and it would sound just as good.
What do you think? Is this is decent album or did I miss the mark. Let us know in the coordinates below.