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Third Time's A Charm
on 18 June 2009
On January 25, 1985, Phil Collins released "No Jacket Required", perhaps the best of his solo work. As has been talked about many times, the title of the album refers to an incident where Phil was denied admittance to an establishment (The Pump Room in Chicago) because of his attire. This has some of Phil's best known work, and in many ways some of the most contrasting work he has ever done. There are songs on here which people don't like mixed in with people's favorites. The album won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1985.
The album opens with "Sussudio", a rather unlikely single and hit, and yet it managed to reach number one in the U.S. What I remember most about the song is the way David Letterman used to make fun of it. The song isn't one I care for much, but it obviously had great appeal to a large number of listeners. "Only You Know and I Know" is next, a more likeable track for me, and one of three for which Daryl Stuermer wrote the music. "Long Long Way to Go" is a song which has Sting providing backing vocals and his voice works well with Phil's. I don't really care for the somewhat gimmicky end, but all in all it is a pretty good piece. "I Don't Wanna Know" is a more lively piece at just the right time. This is the second of the pieces where the Stuermer wrote the music and Phil provided the lyrics. "One More Night" is one of those songs which the critics panned but Phil's fans like. It made it to number one in the U.S., and while clearly not the deepest lyric or most complex piece, it does provide a nice ending to the first half of the album.
"Don't Lose My Number" is a high energy piece to open the second half of the album. Lyrically it doesn't really explain itself, but it is catchy and grabs the listener's ear, at least the first few times one hears it. "Who Said I Would?" is another high energy piece, though not as interesting as the ones which have come before. "Doesn't Anybody Stay Together Anymore?" is a piece about everyone splitting up, and is one of the better pieces on the album for me. It is also the last of the three pieces where Daryl Stuermer wrote the music. "Inside Out" is next and it adds to the strong closing section of the album, though perhaps not quite as strong as the songs on either side of it. "Take Me Home" is the show piece of the album, a very nice song which is either about going home, or about an inmate in a mental institution, depending on who you believe. The song also features Sting, Peter Gabriel, and Helen Terry on backing vocals. It was the closer on the album, but the CD also includes "We Said Hello Goodbye", a B-side release on singles, a nice enough song, but not quite up to the closing pieces which precede it.
Phil Collins did a bit of everything on this album: vocals, drums, percussion, keyboards, vocoder, kalimba, backing vocals, and bass. He didn't do it all alone though as also appearing are David Frank (keyboards), Daryl Stuermer (guitars), Lee Sklar (bass), The Phenix Horns, Gary Barnacle (saxophone), Don Myrick (saxophone), Sting (backing vocals), Peter Gabriel (backing vocals), Helen Terry (backing vocals), and Nick Glennie-Smith (keyboards).