Duke by Genesis

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Duke by Genesis
Duke by Genesis

Album Released: 1980

Duke ::: Artwork

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1.Behind The Lines5:30
3.Guide Vocal1:34
4.Man Of Our Times5:35
7.Turn It On Again3:51
8.Alone Tonight3:57
10.Please Don't Ask4:02
11.Duke's Travels8:39
12.Duke's End2:07


I got the notion in my head sometime in 2003 that Duke was the blandest album on the planet. I mean, I always thought it was a fairly entertaining record for passing the time, but it was instantly forgettable the moment it stopped playing. It was as if the 55-minutes it took to listen to the album had been sucked into a black hole.

Time has passed since 2003. Now, I've developed an appreciation for some things I used to consider boring. They include Beethoven symphonies, civil war museums, and soft cheeses. But for the life of me, I still find nothing memorable about Duke. It doesn't contain any singularly great moments, nor does it contain any singularly horrible moments - it's the most above-averagely consistent album that ever existed.

I usually start my reviews with a couple of introductory paragraphs, and then go on to talk about the songs. But I can't think of a song on Duke that I could talk about. For just a single millisecond, I wish at least something on Duke would outright suck so I could have something to talk about. This album is like rock'n'roll purgatory, a view I hold so strongly that I said it with capital letters and exclamation marks in my track reviews.

Absolutely, the music is expertly played - everything is flawless. I'm as sure about that statement as I'm sure that the Earth isn't flat (I mean, there are friggin' hills all over the place). Tony Banks plays straight piano and straight synthesizer, with the emphasis on straight. He plays good textures too, but he never ventures into playing anything mesmerizing like he did throughout The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, but there again he never plays anything dead boring like he did on Wind & Wuthering either. There is a brief moment in “Heathaze” when I thought he's about to get into something memorable, another brief moment in “Cul-de-Sac” where he's about to get out of something boring. But alas, those moments only come in flashes. Even so, the keyboards are always 'good', there's just no getting away from that.

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by Reviewer: Don Ignacio (blogging at Don Ignacio's Album Reviews)

Pop meets prog, sort of. The boring 10-minute instrumental "Duke's Travels" is the last great hurrah for 70's Genesis, and the opening "Behind the Lines" / "Duchess" / "Guide Vocal" suite melds lengthy instrumental sections with more conventional song structures.

The rest is pretty much straight pop'n'roll. Two big hits are here - "Misunderstanding" (hated by a lot of Genesis fans), and "Turn It On Again", and - aside from the awful Collins song "Please Don't Ask" - the rest is average-to-good straightforward rock.

As for highlights, "Heathaze" - aside from the typically bad lyrics - is a good Banks song, and "Alone Tonight" is another great ballad, and that's about it.

I refuse to mention the rest.

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by Reviewer: Cole Reviews

Duke was the first ever Genesis album I sat down and listened to from beginning to end. At the time, I'd never heard any of their more prog/rock material from the 70's.

Album opener "Behind the Lines" is pretty entertaining, with its great washes of keyboards and tight playing, whereas "Guide Vocal" is a short much softer number, before drums and keyboards are everywhere again on "Man of Our Times". The latter track drags, but whilst that makes it apparent that Genesis come from a prog background, the 80's hit-making years are also hinted at.

"Misunderstanding" and of course "Turn It On Again" see the future pop Genesis on display, the former working well and sounding nothing like the four preceding songs. The latter is a band composition - it's a very 80's-sounding pop song, in the same way that The Beatles sound very 60's.

The Rutherford-written "Alone Tonight" annoys the hell out of me. It's a slow song, a soaring ballad that just sounds too mawkish. "Cul-de-Sac" and "Please Don't Ask" are more mid-tempo and pleasant but hardly affecting pop/rock songs - there's nothing to hold onto really - they're very middle of the road.

"Duke's Travels" builds slowly, going on for over 8 minutes - it's mainly a prog instrumental, though some singing does come in later on - it tries my patience to be honest, and as Duke isn't really much of a 'prog' album it seems rather out-of-place.

Duke was very much a transitional album. It's OK, but that's all.

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by Reviewer: Adrian Denning (blogging at Adrian's Album Reviews)