The Second Disc

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Archive for March 14th, 2010

Reissue Theory x2: Phil Collins – “No Jacket Required” and Peter Gabriel – “So”

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It has been encouraging to see, in light of Genesis’ impending induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a number of commenters showing their respect for the Phil Collins-led, pop-savvy incarnation of the band. The group’s output was always listenable – one could argue the 1990s was largely an exception – but it always seemed popular opinion was against them around the Invisible Touch era.

This is ironic, since the same year Invisible Touch was released, former Genesis frontman Peter Gabriel released his most pop-savvy record, So. The two of those records – Invisible Touch and So – are fascinating, but So has an atmospheric quality to its songs that no pop album from that year could lay claim to. And the hits kept coming – “Sledgehammer,” “Don’t Give Up,” “Big Time,” “Red Rain” (but not “In Your Eyes,” which missed the U.S. Top 20 on its first run and didn’t even crack the Top 40 after Say Anything… used the song to massive effect).

But one should not discount Collins’ ability to craft really effective pop. He did it with Genesis, Philip Bailey, Anni-Frid Lyngstad of ABBA and of course himself, scoring in 1985 with No Jacket Required, an LP that even featured the talents of Gabriel on closing track “Take Me Home.”

To honor the two vocalists of Genesis, here’s a special reissue theory look at their most beloved solo discs. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

March 14, 2010 at 12:33

Back Tracks: ABBA

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Continuing the Rock and Rall Hall of Fame coverage leading up to Monday night’s induction, here is another catalogue retrospective for one of┬áthe artist inductees.

In his latest book, 2009’s Eating the Dinosaur, Chuck Klosterman includes an essay praising ABBA for their intriguing critical status (contending that, like AC/DC, ABBA’s work never operated near relevance or irrelevance, thereby guaranteeing that it will have a more lasting impact) as well as their somewhat unusual commercial reception. “It’s not unusual to see artists who are (a) initially appreciated before (b) falling out of favor, and then (c) returning to prominence after the fact,” he writes. “But it’s more pronounced here. The highs were crazier and the lows were grosser.”

He’s right on both counts. ABBA was, in their heyday, a band that everyone knew but nobody particularly liked, at least not to the extent they do now. The ABBA cottage industry that exists now, bolstered by things like the Mamma Mia! musical, didn’t seem possible during the group’s eight-year recording career. Now, though, ABBA comes with pure pandemonium, perhaps best bolstered by the undying rumor that the band has turned down as much as a billion dollars to reunite for a tour.

None of this particularly explains how the band earned a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – it’s doubtful that any explanation or justification will satisfy anyone – but they’re going to be inducted on Monday, thanks to a relatively catchy discography that attracted a large portion of the world’s population to the nearest dance floor. And those who find ABBA a worthy target for rediscovery after the induction have plenty of catalogue offerings to choose from, as seen after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

March 14, 2010 at 00:30