Genesis - Duke
When guitarist Steve Hackett left the band, Genesisí changed their music style from progressive rock to pop rock. This ofcourse this didnít happen overnight. They have two major transition albums: Duke and And Then There Were Three. The latter was more of an experiment. They were looking for a new sound, but kept using the previous wining formula. Two years later Duke came out and they created something great: a semi-concept progressive rock album with some pop songs woven in between the prog tracks.
As for the two hits Misunderstanding and Turn It On Again, theyíve done a pretty good job. Turn It On Again is great, and misunderstanding is a good pop song. Phil Collinsí voice is amazing as always and the instrumental parts are often very interesting.
The songs Behind The Lines, Duchess, Guide Vocal, Turn It On Again, Dukeís Travel and Dukeís End all belong together, thus making this a semi-concept album. Thereís some pop-parts in these songs but mostly theyíre prog. Especially The 8 minute Dukeís Travel which is nearly only instrumental.
Behind The Lines is a strong intro for this album, and fades out in Duchess which is probably my favourite on this album (next to Dukeís travel). The chorus is great, and the instrumental parts are really good. I donít really get Guide Vocal, but luckily itís only 1:21. Itís dull and I donít find it fitting together with the other songs.
Turn It On Again has one of the best vocals on the album, but the main instrumental melody starts to be anoying as hell after two listens. Dukeís Travel on the other side has no way of ever being anoying. It basically has everyting a good prog song should have. And after 8 minutes it only feels like two minutes are over and youíre sad that itís already over. This is by far the highlight on the album! And even though thereís only one little vocal section, Phil Collins only enriches the song with his voice. Lastly thereís Dukeís End, an instrumental summary of the other songs. Mostly just replaying the intro and ending with a great climax.
Besides this concept-part thereís 6 other songs on this album. Man of Our Times is in my opinion not really that much of a great song. Itís just like any pop song, and after a while the melody starts to become anoying. Misunderstanding is a lot better even though I used to skip this song, but now I think itís melody is fun and itís easy to start singing along with the chorus.
Heathaze is one of the better songs of this album, itís Collins in his best form. Even though itís nearly only vocal the song isnít written by Collins, but by Tony Banks. The lyrics are also very nice, and it has some great build up parts. Maybe one of the slower songs on this album, but itís one of the best.
Alone Tonight makes me think of some Disney movie. Itís a nice tune, but it really does not work with the rest of the album. On itís own the song is ok though. Cul-De-Sac recreates the atmosphere of the previous songs, sadly itís not one of the bands favourites and itís never been played live. Please Donít Ask is a necessary evil on this album. The song on itself is once again ok, but it doesnít really fit the album. Yet the song is necessary to increase the effect of Dukeís Travel, which follows this song.
Overall I would rate this album pretty high in a best-of-Genesis list. Thereís some downsides though, but Dukeís Travel on itself makes up for these minor slips.