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13 octobre 2005

Retro Review: Genesis' Album Foxtrot

Just when psychedelic music was reaching its peak, a new musical style was coming of age. In the late 1960's, the progressive rock era was just beginning. With bands like The Beatles, The Beach Boys and The Byrds evolving their musical styles, classic rock and psychedlia were on a crazy train to a prog era of greatness. Taking elements from classical music to classic rock, and lyrical elements from poetry and myth, prog was an evolutionary leap for music. The stage was set for a showing of unimaginable power and magic, making an impact that would forever be engrossing and influential for decades.

Before the great decline of their musical greatness, Genesis was once led by the power and genius of a progressive mastermind. Peter Gabriel, now known for his solo work on "Solsbury Hill" and "Sledgehammer," once ruled the progressive rock kingdom with sheer musical brilliance. Genesis released seven albums in the early 70's, all of which reach near perfection, while Gabriel was leader.

"Foxtrot" is the fourth album released by Genesis in the 1970's. Genesis, being part of the great progressive movement, was searching for their sound and experimenting with new ideas on every album. Due to the absolute wonder of this album, it is safe to say Genesis was a tight, solid band at this time. The album begins with the classic 70's hit, "Watcher of the Skies." The bassist, Mike Rutherford, shines through on this track, giving the song its unique, moving beat. Tony Banks is absolutely outstanding, as usual, using the mellotron to obtain some very deep and moving sound. Extraordinary drumming by Phil Collins and the amazing guitar work by Steve Hackett all come together to support the phenomenal vocals of Gabriel. This general outlook applies to every track on the album, proving that "Foxtrot" is an absolute masterpiece.

The next three tracks are typical Genesis greats. The second song, "Time Table," is a peaceful, melodic tune with some of the best piano work by Tony Banks. It is difficult to understand that this band was not touched by some alien race, giving them the ability to write such amazing music. The lyrics to "Time Table" are absolutely great, and the song itself is simple but amazing. Next is "Get Em' Out by Friday," a mini-epic clocking in at just about nine minutes. This exciting, storytelling track is heavy on Hackett's guitar and Collins' drums and is a faster-paced song. The tempo changes often to parallel the song's emotion and not make the tune constantly aggressive. Following that piece is "Can-Utility and the Coastliners," which is similar in style to "Get Em' Out by Friday." Yet again, this track baffles with some of the most amazing lyrical work ever done in music. The song immediately captivates the listener and is perfect in every aspect. The melody is stunning, and the constant build-up of instrumental usage works perfectly. Gabriel may well have been from a different planet once you reach this point in the album.

Now the album drifts into its final two tracks, which may as well be one, due to the astronomical construction of the final piece. "Horizons," an instrumental song by Hackett, is utterly beautiful and melodic. On this album, Hackett has shown great improvement compared to previous albums and is set in the Genesis mold of perfection. "Horizons" drifts into "Supper's Ready," the ever-so-hailed, 23-minute epic masterpiece. Every track to this point on "Foxtrot" lasts the standard times, but enesis throws this in to take things a step higher, if that is even possible. "Supper's Ready" is amazing, with every band member contributing to its greatness. Lyrically, the song is confusing and probably has some underlying mystical meaning which only Gabriel and few others can truly understand. Interpretations have been made many times in the past on the lyrics of many Genesis songs, and "Supper's Ready" is considered by most as quite possibly the best progressive rock track ever recorded. This is good enough reason to pick up "Foxtrot." The track is broken into many separate, mini songs. In the end, everything comes right back around and holds perfect construction. A few listens and any human being will be entranced like never before.

"Foxtrot" is really just a perfect example of Genesis when Gabriel led the group. If there is anything more than perfect in this world, it is "Foxtrot." Two years after its release, Gabriel left the greatness of Genesis. The epic nature of this album will always be remembered, and many still hail it today as their best work and a timeless classic.

By Brian Travers

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