The Genesis album was the first time I was really disappointed by Genesis. I had enjoyed much of Abacab and thought that Duke was a great album.
I think I may have originally bought the album on the day of release, I remember then being disappointed by the cover. It really must be the ugliest original Genesis album cover ever, which is saying a lot considering it’s predecessor and it’s many versions. It looked a little sickly as I carried it to the counter to pay.
Today when I bought this used copy in Goodwill I had a deep sense of shame at buying it, I was worried someone may notice what I was buying. That sickly brown, yellow cover with strange children’s toy shapes scattered around. I did however realize that for the majority of people this would be more familiar than the Lamb or Foxtrot.
Then to the music, it all starts off well with Mama, possibly one of the best later Genesis singles, I remember I went out and bought the 12 inch single I liked it so much, That’s All seemed like a pretty harmless pop song that was not too offensive. Home By The Sea and Second Home By The Sea constitute the long song on the album. I remember earnestly trying to explain to friends that this was Genesis still showing their prog roots and acknowledging their older fans. As I listen to it today it is the other highlight on the album but it never reaches prog territory really. It is fairly intense but no flesh eating plants here or apocalyptic visions.
Then it all derails on side two with the offensive Illegal Alien, I remember trying to find some humor in this song as it could only be a failed joke but it is really not even remotely funny. This is the point I really remember thinking things had derailed. When I bought the album this was the moment I was dreading listening to this again. I have images in my mind of the stupid almost racist MTV video as the song plays.
At this point I gave up, it is too hard.
My verdict after sitting down with a cup of tea and listening to Supper’s Ready is that side one is actually a lot better than I thought it would be. If they got rid of Illegal Alien and Just A Job To Do for the cringe-worthy factor alone then it would be an o.k. album.