Dance Into The Light

Phil Collins

Face Value / Atlantic Records, 1996

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Phil Collins has a lot of nerve.

After a public divorce from his wife (and the rumor he told her of his plans via fax machine) and splitting from Genesis after over two decades with the band, Collins announced he wanted to concentrate on his solo career - a decision which had critics snickering, after the commercial flop of his album Both Sides.

Collins had critics like myself thinking he had committed career suicide. He has a lot of nerve to prove me wrong with his latest release, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Dance Into The Light.

The album features Collins taking himself much less serious than previous efforts. Indeed, a lightness seems to flow through the music, as if he had lifted the weight of the world from his shoulders. The title track, with its different rhythm pattern, instantly engages the listener, and is one of the best singles Collins has written in a long time.

Don't think that all the songs are about giddiness and dancing, however. "That's What You Said," despite its peppy beat, sounds like it could have been written by the ex-Mrs. Collins. The message of someone who had loved, lost and was deeply hurt is almost lost in the pop jingle, but repeated listenings reveal the song for what it is.

Collins even takes on a cover of Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin'" and breathes some life into it. This isn't the same person who drudged through "Another Day In Paradise" a few years ago - it sounds like Collins is having fun again.

With the addition of an international percussion feel, Collins revives his solo career in a manner similar to the way Paul Simon did back on Graceland. Songs like "Lorenzo" and "Wear My Hat" capture that groove, and are very satisfying - "Lorenzo" reminds me a bit of "Driving The Last Spike" from Genesis' We Can't Dance.

There are so many hits on the album, it's hard to find any boat anchors. There is one, albeit a minor one - "Just Another Story" almost sounds too Don Henley-ish for the album, but the cut grows on the listener after a few spins in the CD player.

I really wanted to hate this album - hell, I almost didn't even buy it - but Collins manages to win over even the toughest critic with Dance Into The Light. This is probably his best album ever, and will probably be heard for months to come with all the potential hit singles on it.

So what are you waiting for? Get up and Dance. (And while I'm up, does anyone have Phil's fax number? I'd love to let him know I was wrong.)

Rating: A

User Rating: B



© 1997 Christopher Thelen 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 Face Value / Atlantic Records, and is used for informational purposes only.