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Genesis - Selling England By The Pound CD (album) cover

SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

4.63 | 3726 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Luqueasaur
5 stars My country lies within your heart, Genesis: 10/10

SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND is perhaps my favorite progressive rock album, and thusly, deserving of the highly-sought "five stars" rating. What matters here is that there's quality both emotionally and rationally here, or better, both on lyrics, melodies & what they make you feel and the structural quality of the album.

Needless to say, Peter Gabriel is a terrific songwriter and vocalist. Anyone who has listened to a few Genesis songs is able to notice that, as Gabriel manages to make lyrics that verges - or pretty much fits in - poetry.

Peter Collins, Tony Banks, Steve Hackett & Michael Rutherford are all accomplished musicians that deliver a superb performance on this album. I claim so because it's the type of album of which, uncommonly, all instruments are highlighted - every song has a section which one instrument or another awes you - and actively present in every song they're participating. If there's guitar, you will notice to details such as the strumming; if there's drumming, you will be awed at the complexity Collins plays to accompany the song.

Aside from Aisle of Plenty, each track is individually unique, which is an important factor to take note of. The songs are fresh, creative, and unconnected to each other, but with an unconscious connection among all of them (maybe its symphonic feel). That being said, the album is coherent.

Now to each individual song:

Dancing Out With the Moonlit Knight starts slow, calm, emotional, with a medievalesque feeling. Slowly, it builds up, and by the chorus, you already take note of the harmony among the instruments. Afterwards, Hackett's individual performance comes in with a rather lenghty solo. Now, what makes this solo particularly impressive is its creativity and uncanny playstyle and techniques employed, bringing a variety of inventive sounds and making it very enjoyable to sit through. Collins' speedy drumming is also noticeable, for as much as it is technical it is FITTING. The chorus kicks back in, followed by the second part of the solo, which now has a much, MUCH more jazzy feeling to it. I can easily portrait it as those "relaxed/laid-back yet still fast-paced jazz songs", with fast tempo but slow notes. Lastly, the song ends with a two-minutes long ambient outro, that personally reminds me of nature above everything else. The musician which is mostly highlighted here is, naturally, HACKETT.

I Know What I Like (in Your Wardrobe) is a relaxed tale of a... I honestly don't know. A lawnmower, as he presents himself in the end? Regardless of the lyrical value, the song is quite enjoyable, not much progressive but still delightful. Gabriel's British accent is very noticeable here, especially by the first and last verses. The song ends with a flute solo, well-fit for the song. I think GABRIEL (both for his vocals & flute solo) is deserving to be the highlighted man.

Fifth of Firth is terrific. Banks' intro is equally complex and beautiful. The song continues with a lyrical part, which is slow but still interesting to listen to. Here, once again, Gabriel's vocals are in a tone and style that is standard for many other songs of the album. After the lyrical part, a whopping four-minutes-long solo arrives - Banks returns with his intro arrangement, this time on the organ/keyboards (personally, I prefer the piano version over the aforementioned). Afterward, Banks arrives with a slow, melodic and acute solo that is smooth and emotional enough to soothe anyone's mind but still being thoroughly enjoyable. Thereafter, Gabriel returns to close the song. Undeniably, TONY BANKS is the highlighted musician in this song. His keyboard-ing is too awing.

TO SUMMARIZE, the keyboards are omnipresent in this song.

More Fool Me, as stated in Rolling Stones' 50 Greatest Prog Rock Albums of All Time, is "a taste of poppier things to come" by Genesis. Certainly, a quality track when you're evaluating from a pop-ish standpoint, slow paced, with high octaves and a melancholic yet warm melody. I don't think there's someone else to be more highlighted than COLLINS here.

Battle of Epping Forest. Oh, Battle O' Epping Forest. Honestly, I don't know the consensus among Genesis' fans regarding this song, but from my perspective, it is an amusing song. It initiates with a military march, rapidly followed by the first main section - "Along the forest roads, there's hundreds of cars - luxury cars!" which introduces the tale of a clash between gangs over a "gangland boundary". I'm no lyrics man, but this song catches my attention like no other. Not only because the riffs are interesting to listen to, but because so are the lyrics. Gabriel is very sarcastic here, and his vocal style is HEAVILY accented and detailed with grimaces and impersonations. There are four main sections - the first two very resembling and dynamic, speedy but more much cheerful than a battle report would feel; the third being acoustic, as if it's a storyteller telling his story accompanied by a guitar; and the fourth being a Hackett-Banks outro. As said thus far, the lyricism here is amazingly poetic. Cheerfully sarcastic, and deceivingly complex - a casual listen will deem this song as simple, although it is anything BUT simple. Also, I must note the spacerockish solo Banks plays every time Gabriel announces "Here comes the cavalry!". GABRIEL's lyrical and vocals skills deems him as the highlighted mate of this song.

After the Ordeal is an instrumental piece. It has quality, but it never called my attention or fondness. Since I don't give many listens to it, I don't think I have enough information to say my opinion about it. It's not INHERENTLY uninteresting - just personally.

The Cinema Show is an epic piece that starts slow and a little unhopeful but proceeds to sound more cheerful and lovely after every verse. Lastly, the main melodic composition arrives and it's delightful to listen to. Gabriel showcases his skills again. "Once a man, like the sea I raged. Once a woman, like the earth I gave". Thereafter, Banks returns with a very distorted, very jazzy and very interesting solo; not akin, sonorously, to any other solos in the album. It has a fast tempo, it is set in 7/8 - as evidenced by the drums -, but it is generally slow played, with few notes, and accompanied inwardly by Collins. It goes building up, building up, building up... until eventually it morphs into a melody that is continued by the next track. BANKS is the highlighted man, although COLLINS also deserves an honorable mention.

Aisle of Plenty is the album outro. It returns to the first track's initial feeling, albeit a little more acoustic. The album begins and ends likewise, which in my opinion was a brilliant idea.

In general, those are my views on Selling England. I might not have expressed myself as well as I hoped to, but needlessly I have expressed myself sufficiently.

Luqueasaur | 5/5 |

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