Genesis
Duke


4.5
superb

Review

by smaugman USER (19 Reviews)
August 6th, 2015 | 21 replies


Release Date: 1980 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A huge step up from the flawed And There Were Three...

In late 70s, prog was being buried in mainstream press and public opinion. People wanted something new, something fresher. Young people were going crazy with the new wave of music coming along known as punk. Punk was made popular with Sex Pistols' 1977 Never Mind the Bollocks . Complex playing and instrumental virtuoso became unwanted and unappreciated. Short, rocking radio singles were favored over prog, and took prog's place on the poll as one of the most popular genres. Genesis at least tried to keep on going with the prog on And There Were Three... , with just a little hint of pop, but managed successfully only to a certain degree.

Genesis ventured away from their well-known inner prog core, but maintained some of it to please older fans. Pop was mixed in to appeal to the younger generations, with a great risk of losing long time fans, but also meeting new ones. At the time it was released, and today, the album was met with dismay from Peter Gabriel era Genesis, who slandered the remaining members for selling out to the public. While this is sort of true, it does not affect the album in a particular bad way.

And Then There Were Three wasn't completely pathetic in any way, believe me, but when Steve Hackett chose to leave in 1977, he left a huge, unfilled ravine in their music. His tapping technique was gone, so was most guitars. Bassist Mike Rutherford occationally picked the guitar up and played it, but he isn't near as good, neither is his sound. In Duke , however, they freshen up their sound and make it different, making it better through careful attention detail, clearer production and instrumental refocusing. Tony steer away from the organ and mellotron in exchange for a nice synth/piano sound, Mike plays the guitar more often, with a brighter shine and attitude and Phil is pounding the drums harder and more intensely.

The pop experimentation isn't as strong here as it will be on their next releases. This leaves space for ballads, instrumentals and rockers. There are several tracks here that is pop orientated. None of these are bad, some of them are actually pretty good. The opener "Behind the Lines" is spectacular, with a grand opening with great guitar and synth play. This is a moment where the trio blasts the listener, and leaves a good first impression. The end of the song flows effortlessly into the atmospheric intro of "Duchess", a fan favorite. The two-minute intro is a part that I just love. It's something that I would call proto-ambient. It sounds very futuristic, with great chords coming out of Tony Banks' piano.

11 Minutes has now passed. These minutes very actually supossed to be near 1/3 of a side long track (the Albert suite), but instead of splitting the album into two completely different parts (Rush's 2112 side 1 vs side 2), they split the suite up in six parts and throw one song in at a time. "Guide Vocal" is merely an interlude, with little instrumental play, but rather a song to connect the different suite songs and bring them together to a coherent piece. The suite stops here, and is interrupted with "Man of Our Times", an arena rocker with a powerful chorus and a pace the listener can relate to. This song is great, especially the first few times.

"Misunderstanding" is one of Genesis' most popular singles. Written by Phil Collins, the song is melancholic and catchy at the same time, and serves as a pop interludes, along with some of the other pop songs such as "Please Don't Ask" and "Alone Tonight". Side one is ended with the calm nature of "Heathaze", written by Tony, it's quite a touching song. It doesn't blow up, instead, it seamlessly flows very well with piano and some of Phil's best vocals on the album. Its chorus is also very catchy, without being cheesy and poppy. Definitely a highlight.

Side two opens with the popular "Turn It On Again". The song revives the Albert suite, being the fourth part of it. Reaching #8 on U.K. singles chart, it's one of Genesis' most popular songs. It's simply a catchy prog-pop song and manages to deliver a great deal of good music in its near four minutes running time. Rutherford's second contribution (Man of Our Times being the first) "Alone Tonight" is sadly the worst song the album, being a cheesy, poor pop song. "Cul-De-Sac" manages to spark the listener's interest again, being a punchy and one of the most upbeat songs on the album, it makes up for its weak predecessor.

As usual, the best is saved for the end. "Duke's Travels/Duke' End" is one of my personal favorite songs that Genesis have produced. The two first minutes are
filled with great synths from Tony. The song has some great drum fills by Collins and jumping bass lines from Mike. It builds up greater and greater. It's the only intrumental on the album. There are some lyrics in the song, but they're not sung, they're spoken out by Phil in a robotic manner. A sudden, short moment of near silence (except some synth sounds) breaks the song up, before it explodes into the final piece "Duke's End". This part is mere two minutes in length, and repeats the first two minutes of "Behind the Lines". Definitely the proggiest song, definitely the best.

In the end, Duke's negative response from certain fans is unjustified, because even if they break off a brick or two from their musical foundation, the rest still stands and holds Genesis up. Being the last truly superb album, it serves as a very enjoyable album, filled with overall good songs.

Recommended tracks

Albert Suite (especially Duke's Travels/End)
Heathaze
Cul-De-Sac



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Comments:Add a Comment 
smaugman
August 6th 2015


5448 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

fifth review, seriously, give it a try

MrSirLordGentleman
August 6th 2015


15343 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is like a 3.3 from what I remember

smaugman
August 6th 2015


5448 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

that's like, your opinion man. give it another spin then come see me again

ILoveRadiohead
August 6th 2015


46 Comments


american psycho

smaugman
August 6th 2015


5448 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

is a good movie?

sonictheplumber
August 6th 2015


17533 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

:D

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
August 6th 2015


18936 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Awesome album.



Nice review&rating, have a pos.





smaugman
August 6th 2015


5448 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

thanks bro, nice dig you have atm

Jethro42
August 7th 2015


18281 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Really well written review, full of truth. I've read it with interest.



Here's the excerpt of American Psycho the guy is talking about;



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUytEXTdx9A



Hello Notrap ;)

TwigTW
August 7th 2015


3934 Comments


"Misunderstanding" is one of Genesis' most singles." Need to fix that, but pos--nice review.

American Psycho [2]

smaugman
August 7th 2015


5448 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

lol, I've seen american psycho two times, totally forgot about that



also, It's so annoying when my brain just slips out for a moment, and I jump over a word

e210013
August 8th 2015


5205 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice review.



However, I don't have the same opinion of most of you about the qulity of the album.



I'm a great fan of Genesis. Probably it's my favoutite band of the 70's. So, I'm perfectly comfortble to talk about their albums.



In relation to Duke, I don't consider it one of their best or even a great album, but only a good work.



Duke has two great progressive tracks Duke’s Travels and Duke’s End, a good track Heathaze, two great pop songs Misunderstanding and especially Turn It On Again, but the rest of the tracks are in general too much undefined. Some of them aren’t totally progressive songs and others are pop songs that failed, because they weren’t commercially big hits. The final result is an indefinite album.



So, I think the album deserves only 3 or 3.5 on the album rating.

smaugman
August 8th 2015


5448 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I still think it's consistant and has great quality, so 4.3 =4,5 is a fair rating imo

e210013
August 8th 2015


5205 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ok. It's your opinion.



I respect it.

TheIntruder
September 1st 2015


767 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

One more controversial album. Ok, it depends the point of view. In a matter of prog music, Duke is a weak album. It has only a great prog track Duke's Travels/Duke's End. If we see it with a more open mind, Duke is a very good album, with some other great songs, like Beyond the Lines, Misunderstanding and Turn it on Again. It's clearly a Genesis' transitional work. Anyway, this is really a good album.

smaugman
September 1st 2015


5448 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

but shouldn't you have an open mind whenever listening to albums? I mean, just because it's not very proggy at times, doesn't mean it's bad by any means

TheIntruder
September 1st 2015


767 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I don't said that. I said: " Anyway, this is really a good album and "Duke is a very good album, with some other great songs". I only want to say that you can see the album with two different perspectives. And rate it with 3.0, is to me a good album.

smaugman
September 2nd 2015


5448 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

" If we see it with a more open mind, Duke is a very good album"



Doesn't that means it's a neat album?

TheIntruder
September 2nd 2015


767 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I really don't think so. I think it's a mix album. Probably it's a transition album. It oscillates between prog and pop. I think the band, in that moment, was looking a new path. So, for me, it can't be a net album.

smaugman
September 2nd 2015


5448 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

oh well, it still has tons of great tracks



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