We Can't Dance (1991)


 
1.No Son of Mine 2.Jesus He Knows Me 3.Driving the Last Spike 4.I Can't Dance 5.Never A Time 6.Dreaming While You Sleep 7.Tell Me Why 8.Living Forever 9.Hold On My Heart 10.Way of the World 11.Since I Lost You 12.Fading Lights

 

With more and more solo projects and outside activities amongst the members, the band took an unprecedented five years between their last album and this release. What finally emerged is quite possibly the best thing this band (in any lineup form) has ever done. Quick history: Five years prior in 1986, the majority of the record buying public had not discovered compact discs yet and recordings were tailored to the time restrictions of vinyl. In 1991, albums were gone for good and cassettes were starting to slowly die as well. The band chose to release over seventy minutes of music (almost the limit) on this release and gave the consumer more than they ever hoped. All of this, of course, would be irrelevant if the material were subpar with "fillers" throughout. There are happily none - or at least very few.

Whether it was intended or not, what did emerge on this disc was an attempt to please two kinds of fans. The "pop" kids, mostly new to the band's audience have a great deal of material to enjoy and the older, more artsy crowd got a lot to enjoy from this package as well - something that had been missing on the last couple of releases. To date, this package has sold in excess of three million copies - a little bit of a let down since their last album, Invisible TouchA>, sold five million. Perhaps it was the less saturation of airplay that makes this one a better deal.

The first song and first single No Son of Mine is one of the strongest tracks featured. It's a nice mixture of older songs Abacab and Mama with an unusually serious lyrical message for the socially conscious. The second single I Can't Dance is a classic as well. It has a nice bluesy guitar riff throughout sythesized pops and comical lyrics poking fun at blue jean commercials. Other singles Jesus He Knows Me and Never A Time sound a little too much like past hits but that was probably intentional. Hold on My Heart wins the "It Sounds The Most Like A Phil Collins Solo Song" award but it's a beautiful piece, so who cares?

Then we have some of the less friendly radio songs that do equally as well. One of the finest is Driving the Last Spike about the dangers of working in the nineteenth century railways. Ten minutes has never gone by so quickly. Dreaming While You Sleep is another fun listen that also lets Collins remind us he's still a great drummer. Living Forever is another one of those songs that creeps into your head every now and then. It starts off as a nice single wannabe, and then turns into a cool jam-like session. It's probably one of the most underrated songs on the disc. Since I Lost You is a song that many would argue could be a single. It's another beautiful piece that sounds like it was written about a broken romance. It was actually written for Eric Clapton after he tragically lost his young son. The band saves the best for last with Fading Lights another ten minute plus epic that has elements of older songs such as Duke's Travels and Afterglow. You just have to hear it. Although no one knew it at the time, this album would be Collins' last studio record as a member of Genesis. This last song on his last album was a beautiful exit.

If you had to pick a bone with this album it would be Tell Me Why. It's one of those "the world is so messed up an no one seems to care" songs. Way of the World is a little similar in lyrical structure but it's great music gives it a passing grade. A minor infraction. A great ending to yet another era in the career of Genesis.

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