Genesis
Calling All Stations


1.5
very poor

Review

by Matthijs van der Lee USER (219 Reviews)
December 18th, 2013 | 35 replies | 2,011 views


Release Date: 1997 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The end of the line.

12 of 12 thought this review was well written

When Phil Collins quit Genesis in 1996 in order to focus on his already highly successful solo career, by any logic the band should have come to an end. Making it through the departures of original vocalist Peter Gabriel and then guitarist Steve Hackett, the remaining trio of Tony Banks, Collins and Mike Rutherford may have come out on top during the 1980's, but there's only so much of a beating that a group can take. Collins had been their leading force for years at this point, next to impossible to replace. Yet stubborn as they were in accepting that, Banks and Rutherford gave it a shot anyway.

The bloke they eventually ended up choosing as their new singer was Ray Wilson, coming off a younger Scottish band called Stiltskin. The motivation behind that choice could have been Wilson’s particular sound, closer to Gabriel's theatrical qualities than it was to Collins' popular charm. Based on this fact alone, many who were unhappy with Genesis' later direction might have seen his addition as a positive development, even a fresh start perhaps. The bitter truth however, was that Phil Collins would never have taken the group to a low such as this.

Calling All Stations was the fifteenth and final studio record under the Genesis name, and has more than earned its prestigious status as the lowest point in their career. The basis for this absolute disappointment was built on the Banks' and Rutherford's inability to commit to a musical direction. Now, of course the band’s material, even at its most commercial, had always retained at least some 'artful' elements. Many of these songs appear willing to return to a progressive sound, but try to accomplish this without sacrificing pop accessibility.

Whether they suffered from a temporary loss of creativity or just didn't care much one way or the other, the effort on the band's part seems minimal. The fact that two different drummers, Nir Zidkyahu and Nick D'Virgilio (ex-Spock's Beard), were brought in for the album only increases the sense that Genesis were no longer properly functioning as a group. Chester Thompson, who had been a constant additional live performer along with guitarist Daryl Stuermer for nearly 20 years, was actually denied permanent membership before this happened, and both joined Collins on his way out.

Ironically, it is Wilson who seems to have put the most heart in his performance. His voice is fairly distinguishable, but maintains a very similar tone throughout the album, severely lacking in character compared to that of Peter Gabriel or even Phil Collins. As the record moves forward, it becomes painfully clear that his typical crooning does more harm than good.

Any redeemable traits are difficult to pinpoint, as the instrumental portions feel drawn out and tend to meander on. The focus on keyboards here is strong even for Genesis, and that is where Banks especially mucks things up. Offering very little variety in his playing over the course of nearly 70 minutes, he contributes to the consistent lifelessness of the album more than anyone. Rutherford, for his part, was always better behind four strings rather than six, and when the guitar is brought up front every once in a while, the pervasive, cliché 80's tone that could at least be called effective in the past just doesn't cut it anymore.

The production, which appears to date way further back than the late 90's as well, only adds to the list of issues. The likes of Congo or the title track might have been potential radio hits a good ten years before, but they're a total bore regardless (even more so when compared to literally any song from Invisible Touch). The Dividing Line is the closest thing to a highlight that this album has, featuring some of that dynamic interplay the boys used to do so well. Unfortunately, the vocals partly ruin the potential when they come in.

Since it is already blessed with a fair share of truly lethargic compositions, one might almost forget to mention that Calling All Stations is home to some of Genesis' very worst ballads, dreadful lyrics and all. While it may be hard to pick a real winner among these, Small Talk takes home the trophy thanks to an unforgettable, heart-wrenching chorus:

'Say something to me, anything at all
I want you to mean what you say
I've seen all I want to see, and you mean the world to me
I've lived for each moment to be with you, with you, with you'


That said, 'I'll be the river/I'll be the mountain always beside you', from If That's What You Need, is a close second. So much for good ballads without Phil Collins, and so much for the group's respectability.

One of the most remarkable achievements in Genesis' history is that were able to master two styles that essentially contradict each other. Anyone slightly familiar with that history also knows full well that Selling England by the Pound and Invisible Touch were created in completely different eras, by partially different formations, however. Duke did end up proving that popular and progressive can be compatible in some cases, but right here, nothing came even remotely close to that level of innovation. All that was left of Genesis were two once-inspired musicians who sadly failed to recognize the group's expiration date.

Genesis Mark VI:

Tony Banks – Keyboards, Vocals
Mike Rutherford – Guitar, Bass, Vocals
Ray Wilson – Vocals

Highlights:

The Dividing Line




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user ratings (216)
Chart.
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other reviews of this album
SWORD (5)
This is the best album of all time, hands down no joke. Check it out....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Nagrarok
December 18th 2013



7957 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Finally it's done. What a relief.

KILL
December 18th 2013



67082 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

holy shit gonna read so hard im so excited wow

KILL
December 18th 2013



67082 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

"I'll be the river/I'll be the mountain always beside you" hell fuckin yea

great review perfectly sums up the suck what discog will you do next!

Mad.
December 18th 2013



2933 Comments


Do a more unusual discog without many reviews, that'd be awesome

Great review btw Pos'd

KILL
December 18th 2013



67082 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

should do the who, one of the biggest bands in the world but on sput theyre pretty much underground

Nagrarok
December 18th 2013



7957 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Thanks both. And as I'm sure you must have noticed, my drive to put out reviews simply isn't what it used to be, so a new discog isn't exactly planned anytime soon. Sorry!

rockandmetaljunkie
December 18th 2013



3302 Comments


With 219 reviews I would be surprised if you still had the desire.
Pos'd

rockandmetaljunkie
December 18th 2013



3302 Comments


Nag, do you think this the end of your line as a Sputnik reviewer ?

Nagrarok
December 18th 2013



7957 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Haha, now let's not get too dramatic.

MO
December 18th 2013



17367 Comments


good stuff nag as usual

Digging: Soundtrack - Turok 2: Seeds of Evil OST

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
December 18th 2013



14508 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

good read, pos

Digging: Atomic Ape - Swarm

Jethro42
December 18th 2013



12036 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

The end of the line indeed. This is the only Genesis album which really doesn't really sound like them. It's just a bunch of unattractive ballads unworthy of the ''Genesis'' name. The only reason this album takes the name''Genesis'' was to guarantee it a much bigger audience than it would otherwise have gained.

You conclude that mammoth discog in a beautiful way. I intend to read it with the help of the Google translator, just to make sure I don't miss anything of it. Congrats for your entire discog, Nag!!!

dannyboy89
December 18th 2013



7887 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Nice to see you got it done. Notrap still hasn't commented yet.

Digging: Agalloch - The Mantle

RobbaqPL
December 18th 2013



146 Comments


Wow, this only had a joke 5 review? Now that's saying something.
Good review as always. So how come you're not a contrib again...?

Nagrarok
December 18th 2013



7957 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Thanks guys.

This is the only Genesis album which really doesn't really sound like them. It's just a bunch of unattractive ballads unworthy of the ''Genesis'' name.


My thoughts exactly. And special thanks for your continuous support all the way through this discog Jethro ;)

Notrap still hasn't commented yet.


So what's your point?

dannyboy89
December 18th 2013



7887 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

I'd like to see what he has to say, that's all.

dannyboy89
December 18th 2013



7887 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

In any case, the review has my pos, so that's all that matters.

Jethro42
December 18th 2013



12036 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

And special thanks for your continuous support all the way through this discog Jethro ;)

It's my pleasure, mate. Sputnik is full of win with that discog. From now on I'll always have something to read about the best band of the world at will, one after the other review, or one after the other thread.

SmersH
December 18th 2013



385 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Excellent write-up! Album is trash, what a downfall.

DrHouseSchuldiner
December 18th 2013



5605 Comments


Never heard this,and prob won't



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