After Phil Collins announced his departure from Genesis in 1996, it left the two remaining members with the keys to the parents' van. When they set out to find a quick replacement singer, they settled on 30-year-old Ray Wilson, the lead singer for a grunge band called Stiltskin. Then they composed about one million hours worth of dark, depressing, boring music and put it on this album (alright, Calling All Stations
is a 'mere' 67 minutes long, but what a boring, boring, boring monstrosity).
The album also sounds curiously like one of Peter Gabriel's solo albums, except it sucks. Could Banks and Rutherford have been secretly bitter at Gabriel for not taking them with him?
Probably the best song is “Congo”, which is directly out of Gabriel's Security
. The world-beat rhythms lend the song an actual texture, whereas most of the other songs rely merely on Banks' cloudy synthesizer tones. The chorus is also pretty decent whenever it comes up, though that also begs me to bring up the point that nothing about the song, or any other song on this album, sounds like it's from 1997. The synthesizers, bass-synths, and reverb-heavy drum machines have mid-80's written all over them. If these songs were well-written, I might not have cared about such datedness, but unfortunately they're so awful there's nothing left but call them embarrassments.
If you want to hear one of the worst ballads in the world, then look no further than “If That's What You Need”. Hilariously enough, it steals the same bubbly guitar texture from “Hold On My Heart” from We Can't Dance
, and makes even worse use of it. Wilson also over-sings the crap out of it, sounding like he was doing a horrible impersonation of Peter Gabriel on So
. I mean, I can hear his voice on the verge of cracking. So then, what pray tell did he find so important to be singing with such faux-passion? Talking makes us human that's what I was told. So why do I find it so difficult to let my feelings unfold. Had I the courage to tell you, I'd promise you this - if that's what you need, I'll be the river, I'll be the mountain always beside you. If that's what you need, I will be stronger, I will be braver than ever before
. Crap!!! I'm going to have to eat lunch again now, because I just lost it all over my carpet.
by Reviewer: Don Ignacio
(blogging at Don Ignacio's Album Reviews