Genesis
Duke


4.0
excellent

Review

by Matthijs van der Lee USER (219 Reviews)
May 22nd, 2012 | 65 replies | 6,505 views


Release Date: 1980 | Tracklist

Review Summary: 'Nobody must know my name/for nobody would understand'

4 of 4 thought this review was well written

Progressive rock was steadily becoming a thing of the past in the late 70’s/early 80’s, and many bands that had celebrated creative highs just a few years earlier were forced to adapt in order to survive the incoming trends. Genesis used to be a leading act in the genre, and were already battered pretty badly when two of their members had left within three years of each other. And yet, they came out with greater success than any other progressive group. Things really didn’t seem too promising when Tony Banks, Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford were initially left as a trio, but the more radio-friendly tendencies that had managed work their way in over the course of the band’s last few albums would be the key to their renewed popularity.

Duke is Genesis’ first proper venture into pop music, marking the start of an era that heavily divided fans. Its share of accessible, upbeat songs did not fare too well with all of their longer-serving supporters, but the hearts of the larger public were easily won. The album doesn’t deserve every bit of harsh judgement, as the band’s creative skills were anything but a spent force; within Duke’s conformity to pop are plenty of sections that match a certain reputation. It was a marriage doomed to fail, but for the time being, pop and prog lived in acceptance of each other. Genesis couldn’t have faced the 1980’s in a more fitting way.

At this point, their more adventurous writing was still coming out stronger; the album’s prog-oriented moments hold together its relatively straightforward portions. After the unsure direction of ...And Then There Were Three..., the band once more played to their strengths. Rutherford really wasn’t too capable of filling the gap that Steve Hackett left, and shifted some weight back to his tested role as bassist. In turn, this allowed him and Collins to put their fine rhythm work as usual. With Banks’ keyboards going unchallenged as instrumental lead, the trio’s slightly reformed sound remained very distinct.

The blazing two-minute intro to Behind the Lines kicks things off in that recognizable fashion, though some may be annoyed when Collins comes in singing of love slipping away. The man was going through an eventual divorce around the time of recording, and Duke’s themes tend to reflect it. Regardless, his performance is passionate and does suit the music exceedingly well. The opener segues into the atmospheric intro of Duchess, which follows as the second part of the album’s title suite, originally meant as a half-hour epic in the vein of Supper’s Ready, but eventually ending up divided over six tracks.

It’s actually an effective split, making the album feel like a whole instead of two halves (Rush’s 2112 and Hemispheres come to mind here). Guide Vocal is the last of the first row, merely setting up a theme for the finale. The material is all carefully divided indeed: a six-track suite with collective credit, and two solo pennings for each member, adding up to another six. Banks continues to uphold his position as superior composer, his contributions being the strongest overall. Heathaze follows the previously resembling ideas of Afterglow and Undertow; an emotional ballad with subtler instrumentation, bringing out the best in Collins’ voice. Cul-de-Sac is a gutsier counterpart, mid-paced yet empowering, featuring some of the greatest interplay on the album.

The other two ultimately can’t live it up on their own. Collins took two compositions intended for his solo debut Face Value, released a year later. Please Don’t Ask is a forgettable love song and a lower point, but the straight-up pop of Misunderstanding offers some entertainment in its cheesiness. Although Rutherford came up with another ballad too many in Alone Tonight, his other piece Man of Our Times competes well, packing a steady rhythm and enjoyable melodies to boot.

Then there’s Turn It On Again, not as clearly a part of the Duke epic since it isn’t connected to the more obvious start and finish. Known for a regularly alternating rhythm, it also became the album’s biggest hit. The damned catchiness explains itself, but the suite’s final section tops it all off. Duke’s Travels is a classy show of musicianship and arguably the proggiest thing here, growing more and more intense until it climaxes with the earlier-introduced theme; Duke’s End finally concludes by revisiting the record’s intro.

Opinions have always differed when it comes to final worthwhile Genesis release. Many progressive purists already find anything without the presence of Gabriel and/or Hackett unworthy of any claim, and the surviving formation didn’t build much of a better case for them. Duke however deserves plenty of credit, going far beyond blatant pop appeal. Despite the inclusion of a few average songs, Banks, Collins and Rutherford were still firmly rooted in established trademarks, delivering their first and finest work of the 1980’s; it has every right to be called the last truly great Genesis album.

Genesis Mark V:

Tony Banks – Keyboards, Vocals, Guitar
Phil Collins – Vocals, Drums, Percussion
Mike Rutherford – Bass, Guitar, Vocals

Highlights:

Behind the Lines
Duchess
Man of Our Times
Cul-de-Sac
Duke’s Travels/Duke’s End




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Comments:Add a Comment 
KILL
May 22nd 2012



71392 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

neckin

sweet review

Digging: Invisible - El jardin de los presentes

Nagrarok
May 22nd 2012



8184 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album rules, can't say the same for Abacab.

Thanks KILL.

Ballz3D
May 22nd 2012



552 Comments


Great review, Duke is a friggin' sweet album, man.

rockandmetaljunkie
May 22nd 2012



3302 Comments


It's always a pleasure reading your reviews dude. Keep them comin'.

Graveyard
May 22nd 2012



5699 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Sweet review. Pos'd

But Duke is where they kinda lost me

Digging: Total Control - Typical System

KILL
May 22nd 2012



71392 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

nah this is better than there were three

Nagrarok
May 22nd 2012



8184 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

agreed

mrguidogenio
May 22nd 2012



18 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Favourite Genesis album, The Duke suite is phenomenal.

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
May 22nd 2012



20380 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Great review as always, Nag. Quite surprised to see such a high rating but this album does have some enjoyable moments.

Jethro42
May 22nd 2012



12391 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

^^While I disagree with mrguido, it's far from being the first time Duke is mentioned as their best effort. Our sputmate Notrap also thinks so. Please Don't Ask is really the only let down song on here, so apart from that, the album is really enjoyable from start to finish.
@ Nag; Review is full of win as expected.

WeepingBanana
May 22nd 2012



10099 Comments


I've been a big Genesis fan ever since the release of their 1980 album, Duke. Before that, I really didn't understand any of their work. Too artsy, too intellectual. It was on Duke where Phil Collins' presence became more apparent. I think Invisible Touch was the group's undisputed masterpiece. It's an epic meditation on intangibility. At the same time, it deepens and enriches the meaning of the preceding three albums. Christy, take off your robe. Listen to the brilliant ensemble playing of Banks, Collins and Rutherford. You can practically hear every nuance of every instrument. Sabrina, remove your dress. In terms of lyrical craftsmanship, the sheer songwriting, this album hits a new peak of professionalism. Sabrina, why don't you, uh, dance a little. Take the lyrics to Land of Confusion. In this song, Phil Collins addresses the problems of abusive political authority. In Too Deep is the most moving pop song of the 1980s, about monogamy and commitment. The song is extremely uplifting. Their lyrics are as positive and affirmative as anything I've heard in rock. Christy, get down on your knees so Sabrina can see your asshole. Phil Collins' solo career seems to be more commercial and therefore more satisfying, in a narrower way. Especially songs like In the Air Tonight and Against All Odds. Sabrina, don't just stare at it, eat it. But I also think Phil Collins works best within the confines of the group, than as a solo artist, and I stress the word artist. This is Sussudio, a great, great song, a personal favorite.

Nagrarok
May 22nd 2012



8184 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Quite surprised to see such a high rating but this album does have some enjoyable moments.


Thought you might say that, I actually wasn't too familiar with this one compared to the Gabriel era and Invisible Touch specifically, but liked it soon enough.

it's far from being the first time Duke is mentioned as their best effort. Our sputmate Notrap also thinks so. Please Don't Ask is really the only let down song on here, so apart from that, the album is really enjoyable from start to finish.


Since Notrap also loves The Lamb I decided I should give Duke enough listens before deciding on that rating, and it was worth the time. I'd say Alone Tonight also isn't particulary interesting either, but t'is great stuff otherwise to be sure.

I've been a big Genesis fan ever since the release of their 1980 album, Duke...


Ah, I wondered when that was coming up.

Thanks for the comments, as always.





Jethro42
May 22nd 2012



12391 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Collins' Behind The Lines was transformed so beautifully for the purposes of Duke. What is the other song that were taken from a Collins' solo album I wonder...?

Nagrarok
May 22nd 2012



8184 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I thought it was the other way around. His solo version was released later, after all.

Jethro42
May 22nd 2012



12391 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ah really..I wasnt sure about that. My bad.

phishing
May 22nd 2012



395 Comments


i knew i'd see patrick bateman quoted in either the review or the comments

Jethro42
May 22nd 2012



12391 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Come on guys, this album deserves a bit more than a 3. Give an effort.

TheNotrap
May 22nd 2012



8035 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

This album means a lot me, love every single second here.

"Since Notrap also loves The Lamb I decided I should give Duke enough listens before deciding on that rating, and it was worth the time."
I'm glad you enjoyed Duke Nag and I believe your rate is quite fair.

The review is excellent. Well written and most of all intelligent, have a pos.

@Jethro
Cheers bud.

Digging: Savage Grace - Master Of Disguise

Ballz3D
May 22nd 2012



552 Comments


"I've been a big Genesis fan ever since the release of their 1980 album, Duke. Before that, I really didn't understand any of their work. Too artsy, too intellectual. It was on Duke where Phil Collins' presence became more apparent. I think Invisible Touch was the group's undisputed masterpiece. It's an epic meditation on intangibility. At the same time, it deepens and enriches the meaning of the preceding three albums. Christy, take off your robe. Listen to the brilliant ensemble playing of Banks, Collins and Rutherford. You can practically hear every nuance of every instrument. Sabrina, remove your dress. In terms of lyrical craftsmanship, the sheer songwriting, this album hits a new peak of professionalism. Sabrina, why don't you, uh, dance a little. Take the lyrics to Land of Confusion. In this song, Phil Collins addresses the problems of abusive political authority. In Too Deep is the most moving pop song of the 1980s, about monogamy and commitment. The song is extremely uplifting. Their lyrics are as positive and affirmative as anything I've heard in rock. Christy, get down on your knees so Sabrina can see your asshole. Phil Collins' solo career seems to be more commercial and therefore more satisfying, in a narrower way. Especially songs like In the Air Tonight and Against All Odds. Sabrina, don't just stare at it, eat it. But I also think Phil Collins works best within the confines of the group, than as a solo artist, and I stress the word artist. This is Sussudio, a great, great song, a personal favorite." [2]

Jethro42
May 22nd 2012



12391 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

P/ Notrap, my friend.



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