Thursday, June 16, 2016

When Music Mattered - Foxtrot (1972)

I could have reviewed Selling England By The Pound, or I could have reviewed Foxtrot. I chose Foxtrot this time based almost solely on the strength of "Supper's Ready." My love of "prog rock" includes the bands that found a great deal of commercial success later in their careers. Pink Floyd, Rush, and Genesis all exploded when that one album launched them into the stratosphere. I am not sure that Foxtrot is that one album for Genesis, but it is definitely one album worth listening to.

I am an album type of guy. I like songs, but I need my music to progress from one song to the next. I need to at least feel like there is a story behind the record for me to get into it. I have no idea what the story is in Foxtrot, but I do know that this collection of songs belongs together. These are actually pieces of music and not so much songs. They don't follow conventional structure, and they are not songs you can tap your feet too.

If you like early Genesis, then you have no problem working a little bit to enjoy your music. Genesis is an acquired taste, but it is a taste that only takes one listen to acquire. Sure, the visual element of Genesis was important in gaining an audience early in the band's history. But if you listen to Foxtrot without watching the live performance video, then you can appreciate just how unbelievable this band really was.

I never saw Genesis live, but I did get the chance to see the Musical Box (a Genesis tribute band "endorsed" by Genesis themselves) perform Foxtrot live and even the tribute band had an energy that was hard to ignore. The music in Foxtrot moves all over the place, from low to high. There is unmistakable emotion, but the emotion is in the context of the music. The band was not angry about something else and put that anger into the album. The emotion of Foxtrot follows the record's story and helps to move the music along.

This is a tough review to write because you honestly have to listen to Foxtrot to understand what I am talking about. There is a life to this record that gives it a very unique dynamic. At points, it almost sounds like jazz fusion, but there is a structure to everything that is very important. If you don't want to listen to the entire album (which you should), then at least listen to "Supper's Ready." It is 22 minutes of excitement, content, and exploration tied into some of the most interesting music I have ever heard.

To be honest, I was first introduced to this record by watching the live performance video on YouTube a long time ago. But after a while, I found myself playing the video while I worked and appreciating just the music. This band was at its peak, in my opinion, when Hackett and Gabriel were in the band. Foxtrot shows what can happen when musicians who care about what they say and do get together and take the time to do it right. Instead of being grabbed by the invisible touch of later Genesis, I strongly recommend you give Foxtrot a try,

Rating: 4 out of 5

George N Root III is a music fan who continues to discover old Genesis whenever he listens to it. You can follow him on Twitter @georgenroot3, or send him an email at