Genesis: Self-Titled (1983)

Genesis: Genesis (1983)

Atlantic 80116-1

Side One:

  1. Mama
  2. That’s All
  3. Home by the Sea
  4. Second Home by the Sea

Side Two:

  1. Illegal Alien
  2. Taking It All Too Hard
  3. Just a Job to Do
  4. Silver Rainbow
  5. It’s Gonna Get Better


It isn’t the most common route to have a self-titled album as a band’s twelfth album, but there was a simple reason;  it was the first album the entire band participated in writing all the tracks.  The band had been working their way to a poppier sound since hitting the charts with, Follow You, Follow Me (1978).  The band seems to have finally arrived where they wanted to be with this album (for better or worse).

The album kicks off with a harsh drum machine introduction on Mama and delves into some eerie synthesizers before the vocals give it a slightly sinister edge.  The song is a catchy, yet not overly poppy introduction to the pop that follows.  The second song, That’s All has got to be one of the catchiest songs of 1983, if not ever.  Everyone either loves it or hates it, but everyone knows it.  The third and fourth songs combine to form a mini-suite: Home by the Sea and Second Home by the Sea.  It tells the creepy story of a burglar breaking into a house, only to find it haunted.  Once trapped by the spirit inhabitants, the burglar must listen to their stories for all time.  It is my favorite song on the album and a great way to finish the side.


Side B opens with Illegal Alien.  It is an annoyingly catchy, humorous tune with Phil Collins adopting a not very politically correct accent for the duration.  Taking It All Too Hard is a nice little ballad that seems to pave the way for the sound the band would develop for the Invisible Touch (1986) album.  Just a Job to Do is a catchy song about a hit man.  Silver Rainbow is a mixed bag of a song.  It starts out like a forgotten scrap from …and Then There Were Three (1978) and then moves into a much more interesting second half.  The album concludes with It’s Gonna Get Better which may be the weakest song on the album.  It has some interesting synthesizer work by Tony Banks, but is not the best track to end an album on.

Genesis had come a long way since the days of Peter Gabriel.  Some people prefer the pop band found on this album, others prefer the prog-rock of the Gabriel days.  I personally, like both incarnations of Genesis.  This happens to be one of the first albums I remember.  Almost everyone over a certain age is familiar with the Tuppertoys Shape-O toy pieces on the cover.  Plus, I remember playing That’s All ad nauseam…sadly, I still have That’s All marathons on long drives.


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