Saturday, October 31, 2015

Saturday Night Live Music: "In The Air Tonight"

So, Phil Collins is coming out of retirement. Does that scare you, this Halloween night? It shouldn't. No, Collins isn't a profound musical genius. But he's a capable, hard-working, and sometimes almost freakishly talented pop musician. So let's get in the mood to be spooked again, shall we?


John B. said...

Collins is a puzzle to me. He loves pop and he was good at making it, but once upon a time he worked very much in the art/prog-rock vein. I liked his artier work on those early solo albums of his, as well as his work with Genesis before Peter Gabriel left and he (Collins) took over front-man duties. He's also the principal drummer on Robert Plant's excellent early-'80s album _The Principle of Moments_, and I learned just recently that he plays on a few tracks of Brian Eno's _Another Green World_.

Collins doesn't need the money, I wouldn't imagine, and so I hope he'll be a bit more musically adventurous this time around. In short: I'm curious, but I'm not too scared.

Russell Arben Fox said...


Genesis's move away from progressive rock is actually somewhat interesting to me. It's too easy to talk about Collins or others "selling out"--among other things, that doesn't address the fact that, as time went by into the 1980s and beyond, he and Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks in many ways we're becoming even more skilled at their instruments. I think part of the answer is really just changing cultural tastes--I suspect that in the late 60s and 70s, applying the their skills to making art rock was what appealed to them, in the quest for gigs and record deals and simply making a living as musicians...but as the market changed, so did their own focus. I don't think Collins as some prog soul inside of his that he had to deny or leave behind to achieve success; I just think he's a performer, and pop performances are, to musicians of a certain level of talent, probably just as demanding and satisfying as prog rock performances. (Note that Peter Gabriel followed pretty much the same path, only the change wasn't quick so dramatic.)

My favorite Phil Collins, for what it's worth, are on the Genesis albums And then There Were Three and Duke, because they chronicle exactly the most of the band's transformation.