Saturday, October 12, 2013

40 Year Itch : Till The Gold Is Cold

I was very keen to try and focus our Englishness because American music at the time was the critics' darling and I thought it would be nice to respond with something of our own. -Peter Gabriel

On October 12, 1973 Genesis released their fifth studio album Selling England By The Pound, their most commercially successful, and arguably their most creative effort to date. The album rose to #3 in the UK while the single "I Know What I Like ( In Your Wardrobe)", released in the Spring of '74,  peaked at #21 in their native country.

The song is sung from the point of view of a young groundskeeper pictured on the album cover.

"What I like about that song ," Gabriel has said, "is the fact that here's a character in a rural situation where he's being dominated by the people around him. He's lacking an identity of his own. He lives a life that is preconceived by the people around him and the only time that his own identity comes out is when he's actually on the lawn, mowing the grass. I mean, I get this tremendous, physical buzz by the sensation of cutters slicing through a whole layer of grass, There's really sort of a therapeutic ultra-violence in the act of mowing the lawn."

"Wardrobe" may have been the doorway for new fans. But once they entered the surreal world of Selling England, they were treated to some epic Genesis suites, two of which ran over 11 minutes in length. Fan favorite "Firth of Firth" may be the album's highlight, a brilliant nine and a half minute suite combing three ideas Tony Banks had come up with. The album also features "More Fool Me" , a bittersweet love tune sung by Phil Collins. Talk about foreshadowing! 

       The band probably could have used some editing. Selling England ran over 53 minutes in length, so the vinyl pressings could be less dynamic than the songs deserved. So here's at least one hurrah for the CD age.


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