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Genesis - Foxtrot

Foxtrot is Genesis’ fourth album. It was written over the summer of 1972 and released in October 1972.  It was Genesis’ first album to chart in the UK where it reached number twelve.  It was recorded from August to September of that year.


"Watcher of the Skies" opens with a two-chord intro (Bmaj7/F# and C#/F#) on the mellotron before crossfading into the main ensemble section with the whole band which features a single staccato note in 6/4.  As well as the iconic mellotron intro, the song makes great use of the Hammond organ, Hackett’s lead guitar and Rutherford’s bass playing but it is Collins’ polyrhythmic drumming that really make the seven-minute song work.  The lyrics were written by Rutherford and Bank and are about what a landscape of Earth would look like if was observed by an alien being.


"Time Table" is a slower and more gentle song compared to the first track.  Lasting just under five minutes, the song makes use of the piano and electric guitar playing arpeggios in unison and has a lovely twinkling piano riff about half-way through.  Collins’ drumming is more subdued on this song with more hi-hat work than tom-toms.


"Get 'Em Out by Friday" is a story set forty years in the future (in 2012) and is about the corporate greed and oppression of private landlords in the United Kingdom.  The song features three characters, one of which is a woman who is being evicted from her house and moved to a new block of flats but after she moves in they raise the rent again.  The story also mentions how the height of humans is being restricted to four-feet so they can get more people into the tower blocks.  The music features a lot of Hammond organ and electric piano and some lovely bits of flute played by Gabriel.


"Can-Utility and the Coastliners" is based on the story of King Canute and how he could not hold back the tide.  There is a lovely instrumental piece about two minutes in with a riff played on acoustic guitar and a string sound played on mellotron.  The flute and clarinet on the song are played on Hammond organ and not by Peter Gabriel.  A staccato Hammond organ riff also features a bit later in the song.


"Horizons" is a short one minute and forty second instrumental guitar piece played by Steve Hackett and recorded while Bob Potter was producer.  The inspiration for the piece came from Prelude of Suite No. 1 in G major, BWV 1007 for cello by Bach.  Hackett thought the band would reject it and not allow it onto the album. Phil Collins has said that it really should have applause at the end of it and apparently some people even think it is part of the final song on Foxtrot.


"Supper's Ready" is a twenty-three-minute song divided into seven sections with many different tempos, time signatures moods, motifs and musical and lyrical themes of good versus evil re-appearing throughout the song. The band have performed it regularly even after Gabriel had left the band in 1975 and Phil Collins had become Genesis’ vocalist. It is considered by many people to be Genesis’ masterpiece and the song that best describes their early-era musical output.


The rest of the album may be overshadowed by “Supper’s Ready” but this is a solid album and Foxtrot is considered one of the finest albums of 1972, a landmark album in progressive rock and one of the best in Genesis’ long career.

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