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Thursday, September 08, 2005

YAMR: Phil Collins (Doesn't Suck)

Playing this week on Yet Another Music Radio: Phil Collins (Doesn't Suck).

But wait, I hear you say, doesn't Phil Collins, y'know, suck?

No he doesn't--and this week's YAMR playlist aims to prove to you that Phil Collins is, in fact, cool.

Now pay attention:

Phil Collins is perhaps best known as a solo artist. And while his recent albums have been lacking, well, that happens to just about every aging pop.rock star, yes? But in his early 80's heyday, Phil was putting out some damn fine pop recordings. While everyone knows the hits, I've included some of his lesser-known solo tracks: "I Missed Again" and "Hand in Hand" come from his first solo album, Face Value. Phil frequently employed the Earth, Wind & Fire horns on his solo albums, and "I Missed Again" showcases them to great effect; he also tended to put an instrumental on his albums, and "Hand in Hand" is one of the best. "Don't Let Him Steal Your Heart Away" comes from Phil's second solo album, Hello, I Must Be Going!, and it's a piano ballad with a great melody and heart-felt lyrics. No Jacket Required was Phil's big breakout album, and one of the best though least-played song from it is "Doesn't Anybody Stay Together Anymore?" with its pounding drums on the chorus.

Of course, Phil was first and foremost a drummer, specifically coming to fame as the drummer for the 70s prog-rock band Genesis. When lead vocalist Peter Gabriel left the band, Phil stepped out from behind the drum set to become the lead singer. "Dance on a Volcano" is the lead track from Genesis's first post-Gabriel album, A Trick of the Tail, and shows off Phil's rock drumming techniques in a song that hues rather tightly to the Genesis storytelling song style. "Down and Out" comes from the first post-Steve Hackett Genesis album, ...And Then There Were Three..., and is another drumming showcase for Phil ina song that's rhythmically all over the place.

My all-time favorite Genesis album is Duke, which for me strikes the perfect balance between their old storytelling days and their modern pop/rock albums; my favorite song from Duke--and in fact on my top ten list of songs ever--is "Turn it On Again," a song that at first listen appears to be a simple pop song, until you realize that the verses aren't in straight 4/4, but rather in 13/4, and the rhythm is slyly traveling all over the place.

Rounding out the Genesis selections is a live recording from one of their concerts, an "Old Medley" that features Phil doing vocals on many of the old songs that Peter Gabriel originally sang.

Phil was not only the drummer for Genesis, but also for Brand X, a jazz-rock fusion band that Phil worked with as a side project in the mid-70's. I've included three tracks from one of their albums, Moroccan Roll: "Sun in the Night," "Why Should I Lend You Mine (When You’ve Broken Yours Off Already) ..." and "Macrocosm." Not the Phil Collins you're used to, right?

One way that you can judge the coolness of an artist is by the others who cover his songs. Here are some of the Phil Collins cover songs I've included:

The Postal Service cover "Against All Odds" in an alt-rock style.

Dennis Brown gives "Another Day in Paradise" a reggae flavor.

Both Angry Chiwawah and From Zero give "I Don't Care Anymore" an angry rock edge.

Changing Faces give us an R&B version of the ballad "One More Night."

There are two versions of "Something Happened On the Way to Heaven" by Deborah Cox: An R&B version and a dance version.

Ol' Dirty Bastard recasts "Sussudio" as a Hip-Hop track.

The Matthew Show do "The Roof is Leaking."

Fourplay give "Why Can't It Wait 'Til Morning" the smooth jazz treatment.

And there are five covers of Phil's first big solo hit, "In the Air Tonight": Lisa Brandt, Nonpoint, Robert Michaels, Touré Kunda, & DMX all give it a whirl.

In the late 90's, Phil played around with his own big band: The Phil Collins Big Band. They put together a live album of their performances, and I've included their versions of "Sussudio," "The Los Endos Suite" and "Pick Up the Pieces."

Back in the early 80's, Phil produced an album for Frida, ex- of the Swedish pop mega-group ABBA. The two songs from that album on this playlist are a cover of Phil's "You Know What I Mean" and "Here We'll Stay," a duet with Phil.

And that wraps up this week's playlist, over 3 hours of music proving that Phil Collins doesn't suck. Listen for yourself and find out!
|| Dave Carter, 8:21 PM


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