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Five Years Later, Genesis Throws It All Away

GENESIS

“We Can’t Dance”

Atlantic

* * Genesis’ first album in five years is a self-conscious downer. At times, that works in its favor: The first single, “No Son of Mine,” is a regretful prodigal-son scenario similar to the saga in guitarist Mike Rutherford’s side-project hit with his Mechanics, “The Living Years.” But in this one, the son does try to reconcile with his estranged papa before it’s too late, only to get the bitter brushoff. The refusal to sweeten the outcome merges well with one of those musical moments in which Genesis’ prog-rock and pop sides come together forcefully.

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“We Can’t Dance” also recalls, of course, Phil Collins’ solo hits, with another homeless anthem and a fair share of love-gone-wrong dirges. Mixed in with this bathos are a few interesting ideas--such as “Dreaming While You Sleep,” the guilt ballad of a hit-and-run driver--and some awful ones, such as “Jesus He Knows Me,” a stupidly obvious, patronizing satire on televangelism five years after every other rocker did his requisite satire on televangelism.

What’s most striking is the almost complete dearth of intriguing musical touches. No one ever expected them to dance, but they used to at least play .


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