Phil Collins
Face Value


4.0
excellent

Review

by Jake C. Taylor USER (90 Reviews)
October 31st, 2008 | 40 replies


Release Date: 1981 | Tracklist


For a debut album, Face Value is truthful, and scented with departure and reminiscence. It is dark, yet also bright, complete with shades of grey, somewhat similar in contrast and tone to what the cover suggests. In comparison to this, Phil Collins’ face value it seems, is drastically polar to his progressive membership in the band, Genesis as their percussionist and vocalist. If Genesis were to be anything radical, it was because Peter Gabriel made it so. It is then quite understandable why Collins and his solo effort are significantly different affairs from Gabriel’s almost infamous flower and bunny stage costumes.

While Collins made himself out to be a fairly competent drummer in Genesis (and here also), his piano skills whilst fairly simple and predictable were worthy (at least for him) to be something to explore further. They are in fact nothing to what you’d expect from a drummer, so as the joke seems to follow they have no sense of melody. But melody here takes on a different form, and even while a pop track and wonderful opener such as “In the Air Tonight” may stink of cheesy early 80s soft rock, the clever progression that’s clearly been forged out of past influences is something to be appraised. Collins saw the potential to fuse synth-pop, soul, soft rock and world music at the same time, and still with enough weight to maintain a sense of balance to the musicality, even if that meant adhering to cliché instrumentation techniques such as awfully recorded brass sections. The problem is, this balance is very hard to maintain, and he certainly doesn’t master it, nor does he always show a sense of how to finalise a song properly, opting for the atypical fadeout a little too often, and in turn giving them an uncompleted feeling.

You yearn for more, and he does deliver unexpectedly in the album’s shorter entries. “Droned”, is an elaborate instrumental soundscape, wonderfully positioned between the sparse “The Roof is Leaking” and the more worldly “Hand in Hand”. Somehow, Collins and his lack of formal training has divided the album’s sound between his influences, and hence creates an experience that’s both engaging, and occasionally unbearable. This is showcased throughout – really anywhere you can find these qualities, and inferiorities. In essence, this is what makes Face Value both an important record of the time, and for Collins himself. Whether he’s tip toeing between synthetic ballads, or stamping through layered poppy forests, Collins seems to make up for the album’s predicaments.



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user ratings (110)
Chart.
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
badtaste
October 31st 2008


824 Comments


Gah, sickeningly nice review. I call staff promotion.

foreverendeared
October 31st 2008


14678 Comments


as always, review rules

ninjuice
October 31st 2008


6760 Comments


Really good review, although the rating seems a bit high.

Spamue1G
October 31st 2008


1292 Comments


Yeah, I was gonna say that the rating seems a bit high. Really good though, it's nice to see excellent short reviews on the site.
I've never been the greatest fan of Phil Collins' solo work apart from In The Air Tonight, I've always thought it's all just cheese really. Peter Gabriel, on the other hand...

AtavanHalen
October 31st 2008


17927 Comments


(puts on gorilla suit)
DUN-DUNN
DUN-DUNN
DUN-DUNN
DUN-DUNN
DUN-DUNN
DUN-DUNN
DUN-DUNN
DUN-DUNN
DUNN-DUNN

taylormemer
October 31st 2008


4917 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really good review, although the rating seems a bit high.
Yeah, I was gonna say that the rating seems a bit high.

I know, I know. But, that is what it is. I rated it accordingly to what it is meant to be, he did it well, and yeah some of it is certainly pretty cheesy, though it's quite different considering the use of some interesting instrumental arrangements, particularly in the percussion section. Compared to No Jacket Required this is epic.


Captain North
October 31st 2008


6789 Comments


I only have Both Sides...which is totally underrated.

taylormemer
October 31st 2008


4917 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'll review that too I think, after No Jacket.

Captain North
October 31st 2008


6789 Comments


You'll have to add it the database...this site only has his albums up to the early 90's. O.o

taylormemer
October 31st 2008


4917 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, I know. No surprise there.

AtavanHalen
October 31st 2008


17927 Comments


REVIEW THE TARZAN SOUNDTRACK

taylormemer
October 31st 2008


4917 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

No.

robin
Emeritus
November 1st 2008


4249 Comments


no jacket is awesome, this is his worst.
your review is great as always though~This Message Edited On 11.01.08

taylormemer
November 1st 2008


4917 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You thought No Jacket was better? Hmm interesting.

robin
Emeritus
November 1st 2008


4249 Comments


how would you rate it?

taylormemer
November 2nd 2008


4917 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Eh, probably a three, something like that.

WarAllTheTime988
January 25th 2009


360 Comments


The Roof Is Leaking is EPIC. This album is pretty sick too!

Nagrarok
November 17th 2010


8259 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

IT'S NO STRANGER TO YOU AND ME

clairvoyant
January 17th 2011


765 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

no jacket is awesome, this is his worst.
your review is great as always though~This Message Edited On 11.01.08


oh come, this is miles ahead of hello i must be going. that album (bar i dont care anymore) seems more like a bunch of leftovers from this album.

but anyways, good review, this a great album.

BigHans
November 3rd 2011


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

guys, In the Air Tonight is probably the best song ever



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