Genesis
Foxtrot


4.5
superb

Review

by Gastón P. Ro'o USER (6 Reviews)
October 14th, 2009 | 530 replies | 27,366 views


Release Date: 1972 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A quirky yet sophisticated progressive album that remains as one of the pillars of the genre.

11 of 11 thought this review was well written

1972 was truly an important year for progressive music. There were several artists that undeniably pushed the barriers of music and raised the bar really high. The most popular releases back then were "Close to the Edge" by Yes and "Thick as a Brick" by Jethro Tull. These albums were artistic statements whose influential impact on art rock cannot be denied. These bands were labeled as progressive.
Most of the bands that belonged to the progressive scene were known for composing music that had several intricacies; whether it was odd-time signatures, more technical use of the instruments, or 15+ minutes suites, these bands showed very respectable musicianship skills. Genesis definitely falls into this progressive category, and Foxtrot was the first album where they actually fulfilled this progressive approach towards music.

First of all, this album has every element one would expect from a progressive album; crafty use of time signatures, extended instrumental passages, symphonic keyboards, intricate guitar and bass lines, unconventional use of vocals, and highly poetic lyrics. However, something that distinguished Genesis from fellow progressive acts is the fact that they were the ones that mastered the subtle art of restraint. Every element is thrown in such a delicate way, musicianship never becomes overbearing or exceedingly pretentious. Now, pretentiousness is often associated with progressive music, and it's not hard to se why. Most of progressive music is more often thought-out and calculated than actually heartfelt, since creativity is something that has no real limits. But Genesis's compositions were more organic and heartfelt than most of their contemporary bands'.

Genesis's sound, however, is not easy to categorize. It's mellow and sophisticated, but at the same time it's quirky and colorful. They used 12-string acoustic guitars, mellotrons, organs, and keyboards. These elements were usually used to craft quirky, somewhat cartoonish verses connected by soothing atmospheric passages. Peter Gabriel had a very theatrical way of using his vocals, singing with many different accents and varying levels of intensity. When there are keyboards or guitar solos, they aren't thrown in a flashy way. They are more melodic and often convey some imagery that relates to the topic of the lyrics. However, that doesn't mean they aren't highlights of the music. Tony Banks is a very skilled keyboardist and classically trained piano player. And guitar player Steve Hackett was one of the first guitarists that used the tapping technique to speed up melodic patterns in solos. The rhythmic section is also really solid, Phil Collins is a very powerful drummer with a very delicate touch. And Rutherford's bass lines are perfect in the task of gluing everything together, sometimes becoming more than just a rhythmic instrument. It's also important to state that most of their songs are stories that successfully achieve the goal of creating visual imagery in one's mind.

Foxtrot is Genesis at their quirkiest, songs like Get 'Em Out by Friday and Supper's Ready show what Genesis is all about; quirkiness versus seriousness. Get 'em out by Friday is a story about the rudeness and cruelty that the government shows towards people who's economy is so limited, they can hardly keep up with the payments of the home they're renting. It shows Peter Gabriel taking the role of every character involved in the story, and the intensity of his vocals varies depending on what character he's representing. The rest of the band also follow this dynamic of shifting between mellow and intense to support Gabriel's performance. Most progressive acts were also known for overbearing lyrics. Yes had a very stream-of-consciousness approach towards lyrics, and King Crimson's lyrics were dark and haunting. Peter's lyrics are grandiose, articulate, sophisticated and theatrical. It's easy to notice that Gabriel was a very educated young man who was highly influenced by old English literature. His lyrics were sometimes hard to decipher, but they flowed smoothly and elegantly while still conveying fantastic imagery.

The highlight of the album is it's closing suite Supper's Ready. This song is a 23 minute monster that showcases the entire band's best performances in the whole album. Peter Gabriel's vocals are truly unique, especially in the "Willow Farm" middle section, where he sounds incredibly odd by mocking different accents, sounding clinical and almost bipolar. The acoustic passages of this song are just beautiful, excellent use of 12-string guitar. The keyboards takes the role of being an atmospheric element in the beginning of the song, and towards the end takes the role of being in the lead, with Banks's most impressive keyboard solo of his entire career. The guitar solo in the second quarter of the song is also a highlight of the song, Steve Hackett uses his tapping technique and other different techniques to create an odd sounding but still epic solo. This song is not just Genesis's best song, but also a landmark in progressive music right next to Yes's Gates of Delirium and Jethro Tull's Thick as a Brick. This album, however, is not perfect. It has got a couple of flaws which are thankfully easy to forgive. For instance, the mellotron intro to Watcher of the Skies drags too much, it would have worked better if it was a minute shorter. Also Time Table is somehow an underwhelming song compared to the rest of the songs, however this song is highlited by an emotional and memorable chorus. The production values are also a little rough around the edges, but this was perfected in their upcoming album Selling England by the Pound which may be the reason it's often considered Genesis's best album (though that's a debatable subject).

All in all, Foxtrot is a hugely influential album, and one of the genre's best. Whether it's for Watcher of the Skies's commanding 6/4 beat, Get'em Out by Friday's catchy and quirky verses linked by atmospheric passages, or Supper's Ready's vocal madness; Foxtrot is an album that is hard to forget. I would seriously recommend it not just to prog fans, but to every person who considers himself as a music aficionado. This album was one of the first that showed what progressive music is all about without the necessity of being self-indulgent and super pretentious.

4.6/5



Recent reviews by this author
36 Crazyfists The Tide and Its TakersKatatonia Tonight's Decision
Ill Nino ConfessionDeftones Saturday Night Wrist
Avenged Sevenfold Avenged Sevenfold
user ratings (645)
Chart.
4.4
superb
other reviews of this album
Matthijs van der Lee (4.5)
Now having become masters of the art, Genesis release a progressive classic....

sonictheplumber STAFF (4.5)
Genesis continue to grow....

newWorld (4)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
72haha72
October 14th 2009



436 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

It's my first review in ages, I hope it turned out well.
Please feel free to share your opinions about the album and the review.


I did a few edits on the review, I hope it's better now.

Kakz
October 14th 2009



3 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Bien hecho hermanín!

This is great album

Detritivore
October 14th 2009



269 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Solid Review and a wonderfull album. However its difficult to enjoy from the first listen.

"Genesis's compositions were more organic and heartfelt than most of their contemporary bands."

I think that is the great difference with all the wankering prog bands today.

A solid 4.5

EVedder27
October 14th 2009



6088 Comments


very good review. I will be checking this out in the near future since the band is great.

72haha72
October 15th 2009



436 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Sweet man, I see you liked Nursery Cryme, you're definitely going to like this. This album took every element of Nursery Cryme and perfected it.

Thanks for compliments and votes

I wish more people would listen to this album, it's better than Selling England by the Pound in my opinion.

Jethro42
October 23rd 2009



12377 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Very nice review for a masterpiece of progressive rock. I bought this in late 70's. It was my very first prog album. It grew on me pretty fast, and I still enjoy it today. I still remember when I first put 'Watcher Of The Skies'.
My mother asked me to turn down the tv sound lol.

PedroH
March 24th 2010



4 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Boring.

Jethro42
March 24th 2010



12377 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

ring ring ring

Avarangha
October 10th 2010



2 Comments


My favorite prog rock album, and possibly even my favorite of all time.


Jethro42
October 10th 2010



12377 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Lord of Lords
King of Kings
Has returned to take his children home
To take them to the new
JERUSALEEEEEEMMM

Jarvig
November 18th 2010



168 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Though I like prog many 70s prog band fast become too prog for me.
This is such a album. One of Genesis' best albums. The quality is high and if I was more of a true proghead this could easely be given a 4.5 rating.

For my taste we are at 4. But a very good album it is.

KILL
January 15th 2011



70599 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

fuck this is really good

Digging: Gal Costa - Gal Costa

Fugue
March 5th 2011



7352 Comments


Very good album. It's no Nursery Cryme though.

Jethro42
March 5th 2011



12377 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Foxtrot;
Watcher of the skies = 5/5
Time Table = 3.5/5
Get 'em out = 4.5/5
Can-Utility = 5/5
Horizons = 5/5
Supper's Ready = 5/5
_Score_ = 9.3/10

Nursery Cryme;
The musical box = 5/5
For absent friends = 4/5
The return of the giant Hogweed = 5/5
Seven stones = 4.5/5
Harold the barrel = 4/5
Harlequin = 4/5
The Fountain of Salmacis = 5/5
_Score_ = 9/10



Fugue
March 5th 2011



7352 Comments


Not giving The Musical Box 5/5 is a travesty Jethro.

Jethro42
March 5th 2011



12377 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

LOL I just edited one thing or two. But in my book, 'The Musical box' is not a big 5 like 'Fountain of salmacis' or 'Return'.

72haha72
June 7th 2011



436 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

My personal favourite Genesis album is The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. To me that album is simply PERFECT. But Foxtrot comes as second and very close comes Selling England as third. Everything they did between Trespass (1970) and ...And There Were Three... (1978) is worth at least one listen.

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
September 21st 2011



20004 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Been digging this album hard lately.

TheVoiceAndTheSnake
September 21st 2011



3663 Comments


Time Table is one of my favorites from them

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
September 21st 2011



20004 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Supper's Ready is my favourite from this.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy