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Someone, Please, Help Me Like Genesis!

‘ve been a prog fan for a long time, so I’m used to not having an appreciation for music that everyone else loves. As I’ve said before, this is a source of amusement and confusion for my friends when I don’t appreciate a lot of ‘good’ bands like The Rolling Stones or The Flaming Lips, and I’ve come to accept this (and hopefully they will too, some day). But when I don’t appreciate the music that even other prog fans love, I have to admit that I feel a little guilty, and will try harder to give those artists a chance on my playlist.

Genesis for the longest time has been one of those bands for me. I understand that they’re super-duper significant in the history of the genre. I understand that they were the basis for a lot of bands that I DO like, like Transatlantic and Spock’s Beard. I can even give you a number songs that I like, and on good days, love! Here, have some examples:

Still, there’s something about the majority of their music that I haven’t been able to wrap my head around thus far. Maybe it’s because I’m not British. Maybe it’s because I’m a twenty-something in 2010 and not 1973. Maybe I’m just not comfortable with every single prog stereotype being so prominently displayed and celebrated for the first 10-ish years of the band’s career (and if there’s one thing I love, it’s stereotypes). In all likelihood it’s probably some combination of those factors, along with some others that I will never be able to identify. Regardless, as it currently stands I find myself incapable of enjoying the one of the few prog artists inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on the same level that I enjoy so many other artists, and part of my really hates that. (note: I’m not validating the RRHOF. Those douche bags and their Rolling Stone overlords lost all relevance years ago in the prog community).

I realize this shouldn’t be something that bothers me. If I don’t like a band then I don’t like a band, right? It’s not like my friends are all laughing at me for my lack of appreciation of these prog legends (they’re laughing at me for totally different reasons). Certainly I’ve criticized friends and strangers for similar flaws in their musical tastes. My response to this possible hypocrisy? Shut up and help me learn to like Genesis.

I can’t honestly say that my previous experiences with ‘forcing’ myself to like a band have ever been successful. I tried to make myself like Rush in high school, and I failed horribly. It wasn’t until college that a more natural appreciation for the trio developed, and through that process I learned a lot about why I liked music, why I liked specific bands and genres, and how my music tastes had evolved up to that point. Maybe one day, years from now, my tastes will have evolved further and Genesis will ‘click’ for me without any effort. Until that day however, my goal is to at least have a healthy appreciation for the band and their place in history. I don’t expect them to assume some lofty place in my pantheon of prog, but I at least want to be able to listen all the way through The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway without feeling the need to skip half of the tracks.

If I fail, and months from now Genesis still seems as inaccessible to me as The Jonas Brothers, then I will at least be able to say that I gave them a honest listen, which I admittedly do not give a lot of other bands who probably deserve it. (Note to my friends: No, I will not buy the Mumford and Sons album, shut up). I just want to understand what other people see in the group, which I don’t think is so irrational a behavior.

Also, I just want to throw this out there right now, because I haven’t seen anyone else make this connection yet. You better credit me when you use one of these as a halloween costume though:

Crazy Costume-Off: Lady Gaga vs Peter Gabriel


Fairly normal
Kind of the opposite of corpsepaint…..life-paint?


















Kind of flower-looking












We’ve all seen her poker face
I think giant bat wings coming out of your head are a tell…













Your daughter may want to wear this as a costume this year
No one has ever wanted to wear this as a costume, not even Peter Gabriel





7 responses

  1. Maybe this will help, I find there is a little Genesis I love and lots that I find OK. Have you ever given “Wind & Wuthering” a spin?

    October 27, 2010 at 12:59 pm

  2. If you consider The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway as their last album and work backwards from there (or indeed forwards from Trespass) you will discover that this is what the legacy is based on.
    I have met other people born later that (like you) don’t really ‘get’ Genesis. One was a Marillion fan who couldn’t even see an influence!

    It is the post LLDOB period that colours the legacy. It did affect my view of them slightly because it became embarrassing to mention that you ‘liked’ Genesis. Maybe this subliminal commercial effect had an even bigger derogatory overtone than we all wished.

    March 20, 2011 at 7:35 am

  3. henry warwick

    dude – I don’t know where you live but go see Musical Box. They EXACTLY replicate early Genesis, and Genesis and Gabriel support their efforts. Watch them and you will understand what it was like to see that stuff live.

    May 16, 2011 at 9:58 pm

  4. Hahahaha, the crazy costume-off is brilliant. 🙂

    Peter was an original, for sure.

    I can’t help you like Genesis….some of the older stuff approaches “greatness” but never quite seems to achieve it for me.

    However, I’m a big fan of Peter’s solo work, especially his soundtrack work.

    May 27, 2011 at 5:06 pm

  5. Dalton

    The difference between lady gaga and Genesis is that Genesis had the talent and skill to provide good music along with Gabriel’s stage act. Lady gaga just seems to be doing all the weird stuff to make up for her lousy music.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:11 pm

  6. You know, I found Genesis in my late teens, and was very intrigued by what I had heard…”I know what I like and I like what I know”? Right? Being a t40 listener, it blew me away, the depth of the musicality, rhythms that were beyond the mighty Zeppelin…and real virtuoso musicianship. But, I have to say honestly, to this day I have a hard time listening to LLDOB in its entirety as well.
    I have the same issues with albums like Steve Vai’s “fire garden”, and Zeppelin’s “song remains the same”…
    Steve is an incredible guitarist and songwriter in the vein of Zappa ( if you get Zappa, I don’t always do, you get Vai…) , a true Paganini of his generation.
    The issue is information, and the overload therein.
    Music like this is dense, like a poundcake, better in small portions with coffee…while Carpet Crawlers is cool, can you say the same of Riding the Skree? When they meander for 5 minutes, at what point do you say, ” I am so done…”?
    Would you say the same for Dream Theater, or, god help us, Yes? At a point, the old adage of ” just because you can, does it mean you should”, comes fully forefront…
    Don’t get me wrong, I love prog, grew up with it in medium doses, and as an accomplished guitarist, can appreciate the level of musicians, but, enough already…I get it..fortunately, I did not have to work to like Rush, when I found them was 2112….an era of the band that was rock, and hints if prog throughout…after hearing that, Elp took a back seat…. IMO of course…
    Great insights from a new prog fan…keep it up…

    August 29, 2011 at 8:36 pm

  7. Paul

    I don’t get Genesis at all.I’m in my 60’s and none of my contemporaries do. Friends in their 50,s do though, so every now and then I listen to suggested tracks and try again. Nothing.Just sounds a bit clever but don’t detect any emotion at all.

    January 6, 2016 at 11:10 am

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