Let’s face it, a lot of people love music. From your family to your friends, there’s always somebody listening to music. The most interesting thing about music is that different people have different tastes. For example, while one person loves rap another person strongly dislikes it. Some people even like multiple types of music, which could consist of rap as well as rock. For me though, I have been most interested in 1970s and 1980s music, specifically the works of what they call progressive rock bands. Progressive Rock is usually defined as having complex strong structures and long keyboard-driven segments, but from band to band these elements can vary greatly. One of these bands in particular that has caught my attention in recent times is Genesis, an English band that has released fifteen studio albums in the time span of 1969 all the way to 1997. They have a very diverse array of music within their albums, and I believe they have something to offer for everyone. Essentially, I have grown to greatly enjoy the works of Genesis in recent times, and I thought that I would explain why.
One of the greatest elements of Genesis is their constant variation on the progressive rock style. When they began, they experimented with complex combinations of guitar drums and keyboard. This was due to the influence of founding member Peter Gabriel, who often told side-long epics about mythical stories and elements. This period, ranging from their inception until 1975, leaves a lot of intrigue and curiously to those who listen to these particular albums. For example, 1975’s The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway functions as a complete narrative about a fictional person living in New York City and dealing with some very quaint situations. The songs were so artistically expressive that Peter Gabriel even wore costumes during live performances, which gave Genesis a theatrical edge. Essentially, these storytelling albums function as interesting pieces of artistic music.
However, the fun with listening to Genesis doesn’t stop here, as they step into the foray of streamlined pop as they make their way towards the 1980s. At this point, Phil Collins, the drummer, assumed leadership of the band following Gabriel’s departure. This era is definitely easier to get into than the story driven material from before, but it functions very well as catchy and memorable pop music. Although in this era there is more of a focus on simple musical arrangements, the fascinating keyboards and longer solos are still present. As a result, the pop era of Genesis is great as the previous era but for different reasons. It keeps things simple, with various synth and drum driven sections to mix things up a bit. Also the music still maintains the roots of what made Genesis great from the beginning. A lot of my favorite Genesis songs are from this era, such as “Land of Confusion”, “Abacab” and “Turn It On Again." Although Genesis had downsized and changed direction to a more simple style, their musical greatness is still present in its own special way (if you got that reference, congrats).
Although both eras of Genesis offer a different musical experience, I feel as though they are both very entertaining and enjoyable in different aspects. While a more poetic and theatrical Genesis shine through the 1970s, an equally entertaining pop-driven experience awaits in the 1980s. Although some people will pick a side in a sense (just look on any music forum on the internet, you will see “team-phil” and “team-peter” very quickly), I feel as though both sides of this progressive rock band can be greatly enjoyed. If I was to recommend an album from each era for a newcomer to start with, I would choose Selling England by the Pound for the Peter Gabriel Era and Invisible Touch for the Phil Collins era. Both I believe represent the pinnacle of their respective eras and will help listeners decide if they truly enjoy either or not. Hopefully, I have stated clearly why I love the band Genesis and hope to see new fans emerge in years to come.