Tag Archives: Genesis

Acclaimed Albums – Selling England by the Pound by Genesis

List item: Listen to the 1000 Most Acclaimed Albums
Progress: 335/1000
Title: Selling England by the Pound
Artist: Genesis
Year: 1973

It’s taken nearly two months, and twenty albums, before I was statistically able to listen to an album from the 1970s. Like with Paul Simon this is an album that my husband was also doing as part of his own blog efforts – otherwise I probably wouldn’t have gone for a Genesis album. At least I had some familiarity with one of the tracks from a 1001 song post, even if I did end the post with “Did I like it? Honestly, I don’t really know”.

At least when I listened to Selling England by the Pound as a whole album rather than the single song, it made sense in the wider context. Honestly, it does make me wonder just how many of the 1001 songs I would have liked more when I heard them in their album’s surroundings. Well, ‘I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)’ is one of those, although it would not have been my favourite track on the album.

In the end, this album is a brand of art pop or whatever you would like to call this vague collection of genres that exploded in the early 1970s. This is one of those albums where I knew at the end of it that I enjoyed it and that I appreciated the work that went into this prog-rock/baroque pop hour. It is also, like a number of albums I have listened to for this blog (and will still encounter in the future) that I liked in the moment and I know that I am unlikely to go back to.

Honestly though, I preferred the solo Peter Gabriel album I listened to whilst I was getting over COVID-19. I appreciate the complexity in what they were doing, although I wasn’t entirely on board with what they were doing lyrically. It’ll be interesting to see what their following 1974 album ends up sounding like – when I eventually get around to it.

1001 Songs – 1974: Part One

List Item:  Listen to the 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die

Essiniya – Nass El Ghiwane

So, we are starting out 1974 with something I’ve never heard before – Moroccan music. As a group, Nass El Ghiwane broke the mold in their native country. They brought in Western instruments, grew their hair long and refused to write songs that praised the king of Morocco (as was the custom at the time).

My husband described this as being the equivalent to the punk movement within Moroccan music, which really helps to give the perspective of what they were up to. The song starts out sounding fairly folksy and (I guess) borderline traditional and then – at about two and a half minutes in – the song picks up the pace and truly gets started.

It’s still not quite my kind of music, but this did go on to inspire modern groups like Tinariwen whose music I do like. Kinda cool to now have this song as a bit of a touchstone. I wish that this list had more songs like this.

Carpet Crawlers – Genesis

So whilst in Morocco boundaries were being pushed, the west had prog rock. This is the second song from Genesis that I’ve listened to as part of the list and, interestingly, this is also their last… which coincides with this being the last song of theirs featuring Peter Gabriel.

As with ‘I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)’, this song is telling a story that I cannot make head nor tale of without help from Wikipedia. What’s different, however, is how lush their music has become. The underlying piano part is gorgeous and their harmonies are really on point.

Aguas de marco – Antonio Carlos Jobim & Elis Regina

This is starting to feel like a proper trip around the world now. This song finds us in Brazil… where bossa nova is still top dog. ‘Aguas de marco’ (or ‘The Waters of March’ in English) was written by the man behind who introduced bossa nova to the English-speaking world via a little song called ‘The Girl From Ipanema‘.

Going with the water theme, it’s impressive how the entire song has been written with the notes of each line going down the scale. It’s been done to mimic the falling of the March rains, but to me it felt more like the rise and fall of a tide – so at least I’m still getting the water.

It’s also lovely to hear, towards the end, both singers really enjoying themselves with Elis Regina tripping slightly on her line and suppressing a laugh in her singing. This feels like one of those untranslatable songs because of the wordplay element to the lyrics, so I’m glad that it’s the Portuguese version on the list.

Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City – Bobby Bland

Our world tour is going to land in the USA for the rest of this post… and it starts off with a fairly bland R&B song. Spotify cut out part way through this and, honestly, I wasn’t best pleased that we needed to start it over.

I get that this song is meant to be referencing inner city poverty, but we’ve already heard so many good songs on similar topics for this list; so I’m not sure what this adds by its presence. Then again this is one of those songs that has been covered semi-regularly, which means I am clearly missing something.

(Looking for) The Heart of Saturday Night – Tom Waits

This is so not the Tom Waits that I’ve gotten to know via Swordfishtrombones and Rain Dogs. Then again, no songs from those albums appear on the 1001 – so I wonder if this list is going to really show him at his vaudeville experimental best.

The fact is that this list completely avoids his mid-career shift and that is so wrong to do. It was in that period that he was making music like I’ve never heard before, unlike ‘(Looking for) The Heart of Saturday Night’ which is a competent folk-blues pre- major Bruce Springsteen look at the working man getting drunk on the weekend.

This may be the first time that the list has majorly pissed me off… and it’s over Tom Waits. Who knew!?

Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd

Now for a song we all now and have heard people sing along to at a wedding on the way to getting plastered. And who can blame them, this is one of those songs that I think it’s hard to dislike – or at least the chorus is.

Written as an answer song to two songs that Neil Young had written about Alabama and the American South in general, ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ pulls off the impressive Southern trick of slighting someone (Neil Young in this instance) with a smile on their face. Then again, they agreed with Neil Young’s stance, just not on how he painted the whole South as being the problem… so they went a little easy on him.

Piss Factory – Patti Smith Group

What a lovely song name to finish on.

We’re still in the era where punk music hasn’t quite started, so we have a lot of different kinds of proto-punk songs that will later feed into the more centralised punk core. With ‘Piss Factory’ the punk elements of aggression are there in full force as Patti Smith reads her long poem as she slams on the piano.

At times humorous and at other times enraged, ‘Piss Factory’ is a more stripped down and feminine sounding Patti Smith than what you later see on Horses (where her voice deepens and she augments her sound with more instruments). I guess I’ll be talking more on that when 1975 hits and we get to her other song on the list: ‘Gloria’.

Progress: 396/1021

1001 Songs – 1973: Part Two

Child’s Christmas in Wales – John Cale

Whilst sharing the name with a work by Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, John Cale’s song was inspired by it rather than set it to music. I guess like ‘Wuthering Heights’, but not as inspiring. Seriously though, having not done anything for this list in over three months.

It’s interesting to note that this is someone who worked for some serious big hitters back in the day and his album is on the 1001 Albums list… and that this appears to have been picked for the list as it is an accessible work. Honestly it was pretty milquetoast and is a bit of an odd choice for a list like this.

Solid Air – John Martyn

Whilst this is technically a folk song ‘Solid Air’ feels like a real oddball compared to a lot of the other folk out at the time. This is such a hodge-podge of different styles – some jazzy instrumentation, a bit of dreamy rock and such a chilled out feeling that it feels like this should be playing in the background of a cinematic sequence of people taking drugs and getting super mellow.

Not that all this is necessarily a bad thing, although I do wish I could understand what he was saying more of the time. Also worth noting that this song was dedicated to Nick Drake – who would die 18 months after this song was released. So sad.

I Know What I Like (in Your Wardrobe) – Genesis

Right, so I was disappointed that this song wasn’t about a man coming out to his wife about being a cross-dresser.

From the get-go this is a weird song in the tradition of psychedelic rock with the addition of spoken word elements. The topic is someone who is a lawnmower and is perfectly happy with this as a job despite what others say. Not entirely sure where the wardrobe comes into it – but I’m not going to press that too much.

It’s a very odd song as it combines the elements of psychedelia with more modern studio effects and an incredibly down-to-earth message. Did I like it? Honestly, I don’t really know.

Cum on Feel the Noize – Slade

I don’t think I’ve ever heard this song other than the choral chant – which I’ve never really liked. So imagine how weird it was to start on this song, realise how little of this I’ve actually heard and then end up really liking it.

In context this chorus is brilliant and works so well with the rest of the song as the high energy points, on it’s own it just feels a bit like something you’d hear chanted in a football stadium. This is the second time I’ve been pleasantly surprised by this style of rock – could this mean I may end up liking it.

Living for the City – Stevie Wonder

Why have I not listened to this song’s parent album yet. Innervisions is so high on my album list and this song is a reason why I should make that one of the next things I listen to and blog about. Stevie Wonder in this era was funk-soul magic and something I need to educate myself more in.

The version I listened to was the single edit, which cuts out the story element of the song whereby a black man escapes to New York City to try and leave behind his life of racial discrimination – only to be racially profiled by the police and sent to jail. I wish this message was ‘of the time’, but we really aren’t there yet.

I Can’t Stand the Rain – Ann Peebles

When this song started I thought I had a modern sampled version of it because of those electric timbales doing a distorted mimicry of raindrops. That must have been really weird and futuristic to hear back in 1973. That electronic riff really makes this song, and I love the sentiment of someone singing to bemoan the rain. It appeals to the British majority of my being.

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road – Elton John

Back when I listened to the Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album this was a song that struck a chord. It’s one of those songs that I have come back to again and again in the four years since. The rest of the album not so much, even though I did grow to love a lot of the songs on it.

I can’t quite pinpoint what makes this song so magical for me, but it’s something a lot of other people seem to feel as well.

Future Days – Can

For a krautrock band this is not what I expected. ‘Future Days’ is basically a precursor to ambient music and really feels like the grandfather of tracks from Air’s Moon Safari released some 35 years later (especially ‘Ce Matin La’).

I’ve been putting off Can’s entry from my album list (their earlier album Tago Mago) because I was expecting some heavier rock, but if it’s like this… then I think I’ll love it.

Progress: 389/1021