Genesis Archive, Vol. 2: 1976-1992


Atlantic, 2000

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


Picking up where the first Genesis Archive set left off, this box set covers the pop-oriented years of the band, the period where Phil Collins took over as lead singer and the band moved away from its art rock roots and into platinum success.

Much like the first set, this one includes live tracks, B-sides, and rarities; unlike the first, it includes remixes and is shortened to three discs. This release rounds up most of the stray tracks from this era, such as most of the studio songs on the original version of Three Sides Live (sans “Me And Virgil”) and two of the three songs from the Spot The Pigeon EP (leaving off “Match Of The Day”), plus pretty much every studio song recorded in this time frame but never released.

Most, if not all, of these studio rarities have since been released on the 2007 box sets that remastered every Genesis album and added a bonus disc. For those unwilling to upgrade their entire CD library to those sets, or who want all of these tracks in one convenient place plus some live souvenirs and dance remixes, this set fits the bill.

Many people discovered Genesis in the ‘80s through pop hits like “Invisible Touch,” “Misunderstanding,” “Abacab,” and “That’s All,” as well as 1992’s “I Can’t Dance” and “No Son Of Mine,” and much of the music is in the same style and spirit as those songs, a sort of art pop hybrid nearly devoid of guitars, lyrical depth, or the sense of adventure that characterized the Peter Gabriel era of the band. Those devoted to the Collins era will find something to love here, those devoted to Foxtrot will not be interested, and those who love all Genesis will probably find a few gems buried across these discs.

Disc one opens with “On The Shoreline” and “Hearts On Fire,” both of which should have appeared on We Can’t Dance and which would have strengthened that album (the latter was the B-side to “Jesus He Knows Me”). “You Might Recall” and “Paperlate” are leftovers from the my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Abacab era that don’t go anywhere, while “Evidence Of Autumn” is a melancholy tune that would have fit in nicely with anything on Wind & Wuthering. The instrumentals “Submarine” and “Naminanu” are fine, if inconsequential.

A few wince-worthy reminders of how far Genesis fell from the days of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway are present on this disc, such as the banal “I’d Rather Be You,” the overlong instrumental “Do The Neurotic,” and “Feeding The Fire,” the latter two of which originally appeared on the “Land Of Confusion” single. Skip those and go to the forgotten gem “Inside And Out,” a story song about a freed prisoner trying to fit into society, told through lyrics and Steve Hackett’s acoustic guitar on the first half and through keyboard solos in the second half. This is one of Hackett’s few appearances on this set, and it is wonderful.

Disc two is a collection of live tracks that add little to the studio versions save for three exceptions, although this is pretty much universal among all Genesis live albums, as the band tends to play as close to the studio versions as possible (being songwriters first, this is understandable). As it would have been redundant to present the hits (which already appeared on Three Sides Live and both The Way We Walk sets), the selections here are album tracks like “Dreaming While You Sleep,” “Entangled,” “Deep In The Motherlode,” and “Duke’s Travels.”

The take on “Ripples” slows the tempo and accentuates the moody guitar solo, retaining its status as one of the best post-Gabriel Genesis songs, while “Your Own Special Way” is remade as a torch song, complete with a string section, lack of drums under the first chorus, and some of Collins’ best singing. The drummer also gets to have some fun with “Duke’s Travels,” which is an improvement on the studio version and a reminder of the band’s art-rock past, despite the synthesizer overkill.

Disc three starts with remixes of three big pop hits; if extended dance versions of “Land Of Confusion,” “Tonight Tonight Tonight,” and “Invisible Touch” sound appealing, you’re all set. A few more needless live tracks come next (although “The Lady Lies” is redeemed in this setting), and then things come full circle with stray studio tracks, although they are all pretty dull (save for the loopy “Pigeons”). The project closes with “Mama” presented as a work in progress, which is 11 minutes of the song’s electronic drum beat with various words, keyboard effects and such on top of it, obviously meant to show the different ideas that were created before the band picked their favorites and cut a final version. It’s interesting but hardly necessary.

The same can be said for Vol. 2 as a whole. The band’s songwriting took a turn for the simplistic and inessential during this time period, so hearing the songs that did not make the albums and live versions of those that did, plus the remixes, renders most of this pretty bland and unnecessary. If you love all Genesis and the Collins era in particular, or are looking to pick up the stray B-sides and rarities, this is for you, but for everyone else this can be skipped.

Rating: C-

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© 2012 Benjamin Ray and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Atlantic, and is used for informational purposes only.