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Showing 1-2 of 2 reviews(3 star). Show all reviews
on 22 August 2014
A gift for a friend.
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on 10 June 2004
These three albums -- from 1981, 1985 and 1989 -- clearly delineate the downward sweep of Phil Collin's musical career. He wasn't helped by 1980s music technology innovations, which of all instruments, did most damage to the drummer's craft. (Even Bill Bruford was taken in by the craze for Simmons electronic drum sounds.)
But it's not just the technology that lets Collins down. It's that he's a good drummer, but only a fair pianist, fair singer and fair composer. Put together, these ingredients don't add up to sufficient justification for three 'solo' albums. In Collins' case, 'solo' simply means that no members of Genesis took part in the recordings; actually the cast of musicians on these solo albums is far larger than on any Genesis album.
In retrospect, his compositions are thin -- hear 10 seconds of most of his tunes, and you can guess precisely how the rest of the tune will go. But this doesn't stop them being catchy. Despite my wondering how I ever liked Collins' albums, I still caught myself humming 'Another Day in Paradise' yesterday. It's just the formulaic nature of Collins' compositions that bugs me: "If in doubt, change key and start shouting."
The trilogy started off quite promisingly, when Collins was at the of of his game. After rescuing Genesis from Gabriel's departure, and having built up much credibility with the jazz-rock band, Brand X, Collins produced 'Face Value'. Its key influence seemed to be Weather Report (try out either 'Tale Spinnin' or 'Black Market' for a real education). And his key model seemed to be Joe Vitale's 'Roller Coaster Weekend' -- a magnificent example of a drummer (in this case, Joe Walsh's) suddenly revealing a talent for writing catchy pop tunes.
But the follow-up albums -- 'No Jacket Required' and 'But Seriously' -- saw Collins abandon any jazz-rock pretensions and go wherever the money led him. He had enjoyed his involvement in 1985's Live Aid, and 'But Seriously' tries to extend his concern for the downtrodden and disadvantaged. His heart seemed to be in the right place, and perhaps we overestimated his music at the time.
This triple-CD box set is being marketed, as I write, as a great gift for Father's Day. Somehow I don't think so. All it will trigger is the pained thought "What did I ever see in this stuff?".
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