The GB Album Club 036 - Selling England by the Pound by Genesis

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unclejam23

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Duders! Welcome to the 36th edition of the Unofficial Giant Bomb Album Club! We began this cycle with some proggy/techy post-rock with The Contortionist. After that, we did some proggy/techy pop-rock-that-eventually-turned-into-outright-prog with King Crimson. This week, we're doing... MORE PROG!!!! What? Were you not expecting more nerdy prog rock from the album club on the video game website??? Anyway, our album this week is Selling England by the Pound by Genesis! It was selected by our good friend @redwing42, and you can listen with these links:

Spotify

Apple Music

Youtube

Here at the Unofficial Giant Bomb Album Club, we gathered in a Discord, made a pool of random albums, and choose one to listen to at random to discuss every week. If you want to submit your own album, you're more than welcome to join us at the aforementioned Discord! Perhaps you want to submit some prog rock? Or how about some prog rock? Or maybe even some prog rock! Whatever you want, you can submit it there!

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redwing42

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For a long time, this was my favorite Genesis album. I'm not going to hand wave away the more commercial sound of 80s Genesis, as songs like ABACAB, Land of Confusion, and Jesus He Knows Me are all catchy enough. But I've always been drawn to the weirdness of the Peter Gabriel years of Genesis. This album has the weirdness mostly contained to a couple songs, which really lets the virtuosity of the rest of the band shine. This is a beautiful sounding album, but moreover, with a heavy dose of mandolins, 12-strings, and flutes, this is a very "British" sounding album to me. Almost reminiscent of a Ren fair at times.

There is not a low point on this album in my mind. The simple word play at the beginning of The Cinema Show always gets me, the piano solo intro in Firth of Fifth is burned into my brain, and More Fool Me is a sad, wistful, beautiful tune. I really do love this album.

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unclejam23

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I feel like a lot of what I'm about to say is going to sound like I'm making fun of this album, so let me be clear up front: I like this album a lot. Unlike a lot of proggy/techy music, the technical aspects don't drown out the aesthetic elements, and by and large, it's a lot of insanely talented musicians that made a gorgeous album. Not a whole lot more you could want provided you're willing to pick up what this album is putting down.

So, as this is our 3rd proggy/techy album in a row, I decided going into it that I wanted the dorkiest prog album imaginable. I wanted time signature changes and tempo shifts for no reason. I wanted songs about knights fighting dragons. I wanted these songs to be super long because they can't stop soloing. If the accidental theme of this cycle is going to be prog, give me prog.

And you know what? This album gave me prog. Both the dorky version I wanted semi-ironically, but also the actual substantive prog that draws people in.

I said I wanted dorky shit, and on that front we get "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight," the words "Take a little trip with father Tiresias" get belted on "The Cinema Show," and there's a bunch of other examples you could point to. But it's not just mythological and literary references for their own sake. There are points being made about the state of the UK and the internal culture tearing it apart, and it has an aesthetic to match. (@redwing42 I feel you on how "British" it sounds.) It's a stunningly cohesive album, and if said cohesion just so happens to include a bunch of nerd shit, then that's just gravy.

I know there's proggier stuff out there, and one day, I look forward to laughing with and/or at those albums. But as far as Selling England by the Pound goes, this is something I actually see myself returning to some day.

Favorite Songs: "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight," "The Battle of Epping Forest," "The Cinema Show"