365 Day Song Challenge: Day 8 – “Hold On My Heart”

Day 8: Your least favorite song from your favorite band

“Hold On My Heart” — Genesis

When I mentioned in the Domino posting a couple of days ago that some people think Genesis sold out, “Hold On My Heart” may be the one song where I can go along with that. (All right, two. “In Too Deep”was a distant second for today’s song.) This song seems like a calculated ploy for an AC hit.

So as you may have divined, Genesis is, indeed, my favorite band. They’re a group that is on the receiving end of a lot of ire. Some fans say they never did a good song after Peter Gabriel left, or that they were no good after Steve Hackett left, or that Phil Collins made them too poppy and ruined the band. I even had one guy comment on a video I posted to YouTube from Genesis’ 2007 tour saying “No Gabriel, no Hackett, no Genesis, a**hole!” Yep, he called me an a**hole for liking a later-era song! (And no, he didn’t use stars.)

So you can see what we’re dealing with here. People are more split on Genesis than Congress is on ObamaCare.

I’m a fan of all eras, with the middle era probably being my favorite, but that can change on a day-by-day basis. So I never bought into the “Phil Collins made them write pop songs” theory. Anyone that knows anything about the band knows that after 1978, they operated as a trio and a pretty democratic trio at that. If the other two guys (Mike Rutherford and, my personal favorite, Tony Banks) didn’t want to go that route, it wouldn’t have happened.

That said, it doesn’t mean that they didn’t write some songs that were just a little too sappy (and poppy) for my taste. Not only is “Hold On My Heart” one of them, it takes the title.

Some fans who like the song claim it’s Banks’ chord progression and selection that makes it rise above the normal pop single. Sure they’re nice, but to me they’re not much different from your typical Phil Collins song. (I like Phil solo, too, but he did go the sappy route far more often than Genesis did.) Truth be told, this is the only Genesis song that I routinely skip when it comes on. It is, without a doubt, their worst. Over a 40 year career spanning 19 studio albums and a whole multitude of songs, that’s saying something.

The fact that they chose to include “Hold On My Heart” on the We Can’t Dance album is mind-boggling to me, since they left two other perfectly good (and, in my opinion, better) songs off the album entirely. (More on that tomorrow.) So it wasn’t like they didn’t have enough material for a whole album; they chose to include it. You can’t see me right now, but I’m shaking my head and trying to keep bile down.

Not only that, but they chose to play it on both the We Can’t Dance tour in 1992 and the Turn It On Again tour in 2007 (the first with Collins after ’92).

And it is here that empirical evidence shows I’m right.

I saw four shows on that 2007 tour, and without fail, most people didn’t move until “Hold On My Heart” came on. And then the bio-break exodus would begin. Every night, like clockwork. (Not for me, I waited too long to see them to miss a single minute of any show, even if it was the worst thing they’ve ever done.)  Perhaps when putting together the set list, they planned it that way. They did stretch the song out a bit live, giving Phil the chance to show off his vocal chops (or what remains of them) at the end. Maybe that was to make sure everyone got back to their seats before “Home By The Sea” started. But somehow I doubt it.

So, I’m taking that as proof there are a whole lot of fans that agree with me.

Or maybe I’m just an a**hole.


365 Day Song Challenge: Day 5 – “Domino”

Day 5: A song that you quote to people

“Domino” — Genesis

For those of you who only know the Genesis of “Invisible Touch” and “I Can’t Dance,” it may come as a surprise to you that the band started as a Progressive Rock outfit, with Peter Gabriel as lead singer, specializing in very long songs. Their longest, “Supper’s Ready” is a nearly 23 minute opus broken up in to seven parts. (Stay tuned, for “Supper’s Ready” will get its own mention later.)

Gabriel left, Phil Collins took over as lead singer, and as the 80s dawned, Genesis adapted, (or as some people will undoubtedly say—incorrectly, in my view—”sold out”) and shorter, more radio-friendly songs became the norm, paving the way for the massive success of the singles I mentioned earlier as well as a string of Top 5 albums.

Thankfully, they didn’t completely abandon the long song. Even their most commercial album, 1986’s Invisible Touch, contained two songs that clocked in at over 8 minutes: “Tonight, Tonight, Tonight” (also released as a 4+ minute single) and “Domino”, another officially two-part (but more like three-part) suite clocking in at roughly 10:45.

The song deals, broadly, with cause and effect (thus “Domino”), but lyricist Tony Banks took the opportunity to throw a jab in with this lyric:

Well now you never did see such a terrible thing,
As was seen last night on the TV.
Maybe if we’re lucky they will show it again,
Such a terrible thing to see.

I love the subtle tongue-in-cheek element, and, while written almost thirty years ago, these lines are even more relevant today when you consider our current always-online, YouTube-obsessed culture:

“Oh man, did you hear about the guy who crashed into a pole and it ripped his face off! I think he died!”
“That’s horrible!”
“Yeah, you want to see the video? I’ve already watched it twelve times! It’s so cool. Let me get my phone!”

And no, I will not give you the link.

Admit it, you can’t tell if that happened or I made it up, can you? Can you?

Okay, I made it up, but I bet you can easily come up with a real-life analog. Get a life people! Less YouTube, more Genesis. There, I said it.

I could go on and on about this song, as I think it’s a great one with lots of musical changes and nuances, as well as being part of one of my favorite live moments at a concert, but I’ll spare you.

For now.

So… What song do you quote to people?