"Selling Music By The Pound" - an album review by Jen Selinsky.
Of all the Gabriel era Genesis albums, I must admit that Selling England by the Pound was the which one I liked the least. It wasn't until I gave it a second, or third, chance that I actually found myself addicted to the song, "The Battle of Epping Forest," which tells about the carnage, due to an alleged gang fight that took place at that location. Since most of the song is upbeat, complete with silly Peter Gabriel vocal sounds, the message is sometimes hard to decipher.
As was the case with Trespass, I was only familiar with the album songs that were featured on the Genesis Platinum album, "I Know What I Like (in Your Wardrobe)," "Firth of Fifth," and "Cinema Show." I then snatched this album off of my fiancé (now husband) so that I could give the rest of it a listen. Years later, I found out that Selling England by the Pound is Steve Hackett’s favorite Genesis album.
I have to say that the only other track I liked at first was "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight." It may be considered a romantic song by many, though it definitely falls into the prog. rock category because of the light music mixed with rock guitar. Since the album does not have a title track, per se, this song is the closest that it comes in that respect.
It was during this time when the band was starting to receive some acclaim outside of England because of the mini hit "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)." The song was based off the cover art for the album, which features a man lying on a park bench, which is right next to a lawnmower. Even though the track had helped the band in getting a good start establishing their name, they would not make much of an impact in the United States until the release of Duke in 1980.
"Firth of Fifth" and "More Fool Me" are interesting tracks within themselves because of the contrast. "Firth of Fifth" includes an elaborate instrumental by Tony Banks at the beginning of the song. Whenever the band performed it live, they always skipped to the first line. Many fans speculate that, once Tony perfected the beginning instrumental in the studio, he did not want to have to play it again. "More Fool Me" was actually written by Mike Rutherford, though Phil Collins sang the vocals. Some say, because of its nature, that it sounds like a trademark song by Phil.
Again, I would recommend Selling England by the Pound for anyone who wishes to complete their Genesis collection. All the songs provide a unique sound that fits right in with the prog. rock genre. Even though the album may take some getting used to at first, it is well worth the wait, and the purchase.