Critics savage We Can’t Dance

This satirical article originally appeared on the now-defunct dbrmuz blog.

The half wit is revisiting an album originally played (to death, I might add!) while touring Bali in the mid-1990s. It was a wonderful soundtrack to the region. The album is Genesis’ We Can’t Dance. In order to arouse controversy, I am going to quote from this review which paints this album in an overwhelming negative light. That’s probably more interesting than a Genesis fanatic’s biased opinion. It may or may not also be because I am too lazy or gutless to critique this myself!

Driving The Last Spike is one of my favourite Genesis songs from the Phil-era. Let’s hear from the reviewer…

First of all, since they’d already stepped into the CD age, the album is deadly long – more than seventy minutes, which means that, good or bad the song, it’s bound to drag for ages until it sucks your brains out. Needless to say, the worse the song is, the longer it usually drags: the totally faceless pop rocker ‘Driving The Last Spike’, for instance, drives me so much outa my mind that I don’t even notice when it finally ceases to terrorize me, I’m already in a total state of coma. Had they sorted out things and reduced the song lengths and thrown out some of the more annoying filler, this might have been interpreted as a half-decent mainstream pop effort; as such, it is a grotesque, ridiculous brain-annihilating monster to be loathed.

 Now a reader’s comment…

How can anyone stand by “Driving The Last Spike”? It starts out as pretty decent, but just keeps repeating itself to the point where it sounds like self-parody. Really, really sad. And it’s one of the standout tracks! The rest of this stuff is boring as fuck (not to say that fuck is boring, I just need to draw some sort of crude analogy), with the exception of three very well done pop singles, which I love like children. They’re enough to give it a four. But no more! 

 An another…

The two extended pieces, ‘Driving The Last Spike’ and ‘Fading Lights’ have some mildly intersting solos but nothing that compares to the work done on ‘The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway’ (sic). Sometimes appeasing the masses of getting something mroe radio friendly can dilute one’s creativity and unfotunately Genesis did just that with the release of this CD (sic).

Acknowledgement: Vinyl Clocks

No Son of Mine is amongst the best songwriting efforts on the record, in my amateur opinion, but apparently…

There’s also the catchy ‘Jesus He Knows Me’, a song with more or less simple lyrics denouncing religious hypocrisy (didn’t the video feature Phil as a preacher?) and a ‘modern’ fast melody that still gets me going. Okay, at least it isn’t techno or something. ‘No Son Of Mine’ is also an interesting pop number. But that’s about it. The rest is either horrendous (‘highlights’ include the ridiculous save-the-poor-rocker ‘Tell Me Why’, not to be confused with the Beatles song), or, more often, just booorring.

Acknowledgement: Deejay Roger Alexis Flores’ blog

Jesus He Knows Me is another track I never get sick of, a pop song that still gets airplay on commercial radio. When the neighbours in another apartment on the same floor start singing the song in the lift on Christmas Eve, you know it has broad appeal. I thought I had the volume at a reasonably low level! Yeah, cool, huh?

To be fair to the reviewer, George Starostin, he does include the following disclaimer…

This page is not written by from the point of view of a Genesis fanatic and is not generally intended for narrow-perspective Genesis fanatics. If you are deeply offended by criticism, non-worshipping approach to your favourite artist, or opinions that do not match your own, do not read any further.

I admit, I do find myself agreeing with this reader’s comment, but I still enjoy this record immensely…

If I could reassemble this album from the available songs, it would go something like this: No Son Of Mine / I Can’t Dance / On The The Shoreline / Dreaming While You Sleep / Living Forever / Hearts On Fire / Way Of The World / Driving The Last Spike. That would have been about 48 minutes — not too short, not too long (unless you wanted to fit it on one side of a 90-minute tape), and no filler.

Reader’s comments which supplement George’s review can be found here.

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