Tuesday, June 12, 2012

COLLINS ISN'T EVEN GOOD-LOOKING FOR AN ACCOUNTANT; THERE ARE TAXI DRIVERS WHO RADIATE MORE NATURAL MAGNETISM AND CHARISMA: The AV Club's Steve Hyden looks back at Phil Collins' No Jacket Required: "I don’t claim to have any insight into Collins’ soul, but if you listen to his records, an obvious pattern emerges: Every time he says something sick and possibly ugly about his own life, he’ll rush to minimize it. He got so good at this, it eventually made his music appear empty and soulless, which is partly why he said sick and possibly ugly things about his own life in Rolling Stone."


  1. isaac_spaceman2:22 PM

    This article reads to me like the writer was going to heroic efforts to make a fairly dull person interesting.  There's some insight there, like the fact that the 80s were the last time that 30ish chumpy white guys read as youth music (Collins, Huey Lewis, Eddie Money, Peter Cetera), but if you're going to say that a bland love song is menacing because it takes on a different meaning if you assume the attention is unwanted, then, congratulations, you've invented a game everybody can play and win.   

  2. Marsha5:01 PM

    True, Isaac. Though I'll admit I'd never thought about how menacing the lyrics to "Take Me Home" are. (I'm sure I'm hopelessly uncool for saying so, but I loved No Jacket Required and still love "Take Me Home.")

  3. isaac_spaceman6:00 PM

    See, right there, my mind went to "Take Me Home Tonight" by Eddie Money (80s chumpy white guy) instead of "Take Me Home" by Phil Collins (80s chumpy white guy), and I played the "if you assume the attention is unwanted game," and, sure, it's creepy:  "Take me home tonight/I don't want to let you go 'til you see the light." 

  4. patricia6:50 PM

    Not the point of the article, but this parenthetical caught my eye:

    "<span>(Those inclined to enjoy an album of Motown covers recorded by Phil Collins being the last demographic to still procure music by purchasing it.)"</span>

    I wouldn't count myself in the demo that enjoys Motown covers by Phil Collins, but I generally do procure my music by purchasing it.  Usually in electronic form, but yeah, I pay for it.  Seems like stealing to me otherwise.  Am I so old, or fogey-ish, or old fogey-ish, or just plain out of touch that this makes me weird? I mean, it seems like the article just throws it out there in a dimissive, the-way-of-the-world fashion, but I found it a little shocking.  

  5. isaac_spaceman7:10 PM

    I still buy music and I'm 42 (almost).  Don't know if that helps your argument or is irrelevant, but it's a data point. 

  6. Adam C.7:54 PM

    I think the implicit alternative there is not stealing, but streaming (Spotify, Pandora, etc.).

  7. Benner9:39 PM

    You can also do it in reverse, where The One I Love and Every Breath You Take take on the characteristics of the singer being in love and the attention being wanted, respectively, and tey become acceptable at weddings.

    Collins gets that people who hate his 80s output don't hate him, they hate themselves / other people. That's what makes his more disturbing moments tongue in cheek. He's taking the piss, as the British say, of those who blow their hatred of "him" out of proportion, saying, you know, you're right. Whatever issues there are in his personal life about his marriages doesn't seem to have too much to do with shitty synthesizers. Fame, maybe, production values, no. In the Air Tonight is legitimately good, the rest of it, no. And Genesis was better without Gabriel. Yeah, I said it.

  8. Marsha10:52 PM

    You can make anything creepy if you want to. If you imagine that Billy Joel is being sarcastic when he sings "Just the Way You Are" it's horrifically mean.

  9. Marsha10:52 PM

    I took him to mean "on CD" but I think Adam C. is probably right.

  10. Jessica9:45 AM

    I'm 25, make less than I wish I did, and I've purchased about 14 albums in the past 12 months, primarily via Amazon MP3 store and Google Play store. I do so because it's easy & I like supporting the continued existence of a music industry that supplies me with awesome music even if I don't always appreciate that industry's methods and whatnot.

  11. After reading the piece's contention that Invisible Touch is basically No Jacket Required Part II, I am left with some sort of existential issue:  why do I hate the songs on No Jacket Required but enjoy Invisible Touch?

  12. Genevieve11:40 AM

    I took it to mean in hard copy rather than mp3 form, but right, streaming too.  (I've still been buying CDs until this year, when we're finally digitizing them and freeing up more bookshelf space thereby -  but at work I listen to my classical/jazz CDs and don't think streaming is an alternative.)

  13. StvMg2:37 PM

    I also wonder if he meant purching actual CDs more than purchasing music itself. I buy a handful of CDs a year. About 15 years ago, I was buying about 100 a year. I do still purchase songs on iTunes, but I also get a lot of my music by checking out CDs at the library and downloading selected songs onto my iPod. I imagine I was spending about 10 to 20 times more on music in the mid-90s than I am now.

  14. isaac_spaceman1:56 PM

    You mean like how everybody means it when they quote that song?