Genesis - We Can’t Dance album review by Peter Morton.
On November 11th after a wait of over five years, Genesis released We Can’t Dance, a worthy successor to the previously hugely successful album: Invisible Touch.
A couple of weeks prior to the album coming out, we were treated to the first single release from the album: No Son Of Mine which was coupled with a B side which seemed surprise many with its superb vocal and brilliant instrumental break towards the end.
The album opens with the above mentioned single - at over six minutes long boasting the quality musically and lyrically of one of the band’s finest and most original singles since Mama back in 1983.
With Jesus He Knows Me which follows, we get a song with a great chorus and a lyric that reminds us just how easily people can believe the things they hear and see - in this case the subject matter dealt with is TV evangelism. On this album and as has previously been seen in Phil’s recent solo projects social subjects such as the problems with homelessness and feeding the starving around the world are brought into the lyrics of the songs. Tell me why includes a classic example:
Mothers crying in the street
Children starving at their feet, tell me why
People starving everywhere
There’s too much food but none to spare, tell me why…
I Can’t Dance, the current single takes a humorous look at the recent jeans commercials that are gracing our TV screens. Musically this is a different direction for Genesis and it works. A great guitar riff from Mike and a wonderful video accompaniment to boot.
Never A Time and Dreaming While You Sleep take us nicely through the middle of the album with the latter telling us of the dangers of falling asleep at the wheel of a vehicle and the recurring memories of a fatality that this caused.
Hold On My Heart and Since I Lost You provide us with the love songs on the album. The first, written by Tony with lyrics from Phil is one of a number of songs on the album that unfortunately suffers from the over use of the drum machine - this is something that is becoming more prevalent on Genesis albums these days. In my opinion it would be nice to hear more of Phil’s real drum sounds in the future than the created rhythms that these songs are being written around.
Probably the strongest works on the album are the two longest songs - Driving The Last Spike and Fading Lights - both running at over ten minutes respectively. The first tells of the unskilled labourers of the early 1800s who built England’s railways and the latter reflects on the past. Fading Lights in particular includes one of the finest instrumental pieces the band have written for many a year. Tony Banks in particular is in fine form (reminiscent of the Wind & Wuthering days I hear you ask?)
To sum up, We Can’t Dance with twelve good solid songs and a total running time of over 72 minutes, has a great deal to offer the Genesis fan both old and new. The five year wait has been well worth it.