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Genesis (U.K. Band): R-Kive

Album Notes

On paper, the 2014 triple-disc set R-Kive makes sense: tell the tale of Genesis from beginning to end, roughly separating each disc into an act -- disc one is devoted to the early years with Peter Gabriel; the second to the rise of Phil Collins; the third to Collins and beyond -- deepening the portrait by threading in solo recordings by its founding members along the way. It would seem this approach would offer a broader understanding of what Genesis and its various branches accomplished, but it tends to muddy waters due to its egalitarian compilation. Of the five original members, Gabriel and Collins were the undoubted superstars, racking up international hits in several different decades. Mike Rutherford had his run at the charts with Mike + the Mechanics -- "Silent Running" and "The Living Years" were nearly as ubiquitous in the late '80s as Collins' "One More Night" and "Sussudio" -- but Tony Banks and Steve Hackett used their individual solo albums to pursue their prog roots, so when these are combined alongside album rock radio and chart hits from the band proper, the balance feels skewed. It also doesn't help matters that nearly half of the final disc is devoted to material recorded after 1991's We Can't Dance (the album itself is represented by three songs, the same number that were pulled from 1986's Invisible Touch and 1974's The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway), material that can't be called classic by any stretch; nor is it welcome that apart from "In the Air Tonight," most of Collins major '80s hits are missing (his Philip Bailey duet "Easy Lover" is here, though), as are Gabriel's, who is represented by "Solsbury Hill" and "Biko." So what is here, then? Most of Genesis' standards, ranging from "Supper's Ready" and "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)" to "Follow You Follow Me," "Turn It on Again," "That's All," "Tonight Tonight Tonight," and "Hold on My Heart," and three cuts apiece from all five original members, which adds up to over a full third of this compilation. This does amount to a version of the Genesis story -- all of the group's struggles, triumphs, and constant evolution are readily apparent -- but there's too much excess and too much missing for R-Kive to be definitive. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine


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