Sunday, March 13, 2005

"Invisible Touch" by Genesis

It's songs like this that make me love my random feature on my playlist. I would have never selected this song normally, but I found it early this afternoon and have played it about 15 times since then. I love Phil Collins' music and I'm not ashamed to admit that. This is one of those "'80's" songs that would never be made in this day and age. The entire song sounds like it's done on a synthesizer, even the bass and drums are electronically produced. We start with a drum fill to open before the synth plays the melody chorus as our introduction. Oddly enough after the introduction we shift to the relative minor for the verse, focusing our attention to the vi chord for most of the verse, we never really change the key, but just change where the focus of tonality lies. The verse ends on a half cadence, stepping up from iii to IV to V, building suspense until we finally get our I chord really sounding like tonic on the downbeat of the chorus. The chorus is simply a repeated phrase, repeating the same lyric twice with exactly the same progression. For the second verse, we return our tonality to the relative minor, with the same motion to return the second chorus. After our second verse we return to the chorus. Since I haven't talked about thevocal style, I'll do that now, Collin's staccato delivery on this song is spot on, he knows exactly how to balance his reserved side and the more emotional aspects of the lyric well. After our second chorus we have a synth solo, which was very normal for the New Age movement, experimenting with different ways of producing sound, the scattered feel of the notes (a phaser effect on the synth) varies with the more straightforward style of the rest of the song. It actually sounds like a vibraphone and marimba mixed, with the phaser effect mixed with the wood-block sound of a marimba. After this we return to a final verse/bridge. I really see that the verse have this same feel, not really separate sections, but more of a feel of transitioning from chorus to chorus. At the end of the bridge-ish verse, we do a sudden step-up key change for our chorus. This chorus is a little different this time around, adding a descant about the original line, which deepen our texture even further, making it seem really hectic and busy as we fade out to the end, repeating the chorus.

Surprisingly enough, I believe that Genesis was actually a very influential band. Not amazing musicians like YES and Rush, but creating more true "pop" hits than either of those two combined. Genesis had two of the 80's/early 90's best songwriters in Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins and just knew how to write music that people would respond to...

(Am I the only one who thinks this? I believe that if we had a radio station that only played U2, Genesis, Billy Joel, Eric Clapton, and The Police that I would listen to it at least 2 hours a day just to see how they went from song to song and artist to artist. We need a government study into this...)

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