Phil Collins debut, an instant smash, revealed why Genesis' music was taking a more mainstream direction, and is far more impressive than that band's contemporaneous release, 'Duke.' I wasn't keen on that album's 'Behind The Lines,' but here Collins funks it up which seems to suit it better. Despite the brassiness of several other tracks, the overall feel of 'Face Values' draws comparisons with Peter Gabriel's third album, released in 1980. While Gabriel evokes Cold War age stress and politics, Collins uses the same barbed wire desolation to explore personal relationships. There are signs of his aptitude for balladeering, especially on 'You Know What I Mean' and the biting, intense 'If Leaving Me Is Easy.' He experiments on the instrumentals 'Droned' and 'Hand In Hand,' the former uncomfortably, the latter exaltingly. Of course, this album also gives him the opportunity to show his prowess and scope as a percussionist. It isn't only 'In The Air Tonight' that showcases his excellence in this area. His choice of 'Tomorrow Never Knows' to close the album is no mere token Beatles cover; it's a track that begs Collins to drum on. Despite an increasing run of stellar hits, this is, in my opinion, still his best album.