Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Now That's A Pretty Song

Driving The Last Spike by Genesis, from their 1991 album We Can't Dance.

The album itself is a mixed bag, and I've found myself skipping tracks when it's been on the player, but Driving The Last Spike stands out as a particularly good swan song for the Rutherford/Banks/Collins line up. Great production, interesting subject (The life of the 19th century railway navvies in general, centering on a tunnel collapse) with superb melodies. I am particularly fond of the middle movement of the three-part piece. Genesis at their best in their long form, and one I find myself wanting to hear live at Jones Beach on a cool evening in late July with an onshore breeze, when the inversion layer forms and the acoustics in the amphitheater become something transcendant.

Which will never happen of course, since a reformed Rutherford/Banks/Collins Genesis probably wouldn't even consider playing a venue any smaller than Lichtenstein.

You either love Genesis or hate 'em, and there's some justification for arguing that a certain "sameness" has occasionally entered the formula under the Collins-as-songwriter lineup. Collins brought the band the commercial success they couldn't find during the years prior to the breakthrough with Follow You, Follow Me, but his style isn't to some tastes.

I've been an avid consumer of genesidal sounds since Selling England By The Pound, and was one of the few people who didn't think it was all over for the band when Peter Gabriel quit in '75 since Collins had performed one track, More Fool Me, on Selling England By The Pound and most people didn't know it wasn't Gabriel singing.

I think it was the last time I was right about anything.

You can also find Driving The Last Spike on the live album The Way We Walk, Volume Two: The Longs if my vague comments about track skipping put you off the idea of We Can't Dance.

I prefer the studio version, but the live one is pretty damned good too.

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