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xx Rank the solo projects
« Thread started on: Feb 5th, 2018, 09:54am »

I'm sure this has been done before but I couldn't find anything by searching. Interested in people's thoughts on the solo projects / careers of Genesis members, and how they'd rank them.

Here's mine:

1. Peter Gabriel
I mean, he's just a consummate artist and his recorded output from the 70s to the 90s was virtually peerless - innovative, emotional, experimental but with mass appeal. I actually think there's quite a gap between what Gabriel achieved and what any other Genesis member has achieved.

2. Anthony Phillips
This is quite a subjective one for me. His music means a lot to me, and I get something from what he does that I don't seem to get from anything else - it's wistful, whimsical, but also comforting. Objectively, he probably isn't a great artist - he can't sing particularly well, his compositions are not particularly sophisticated, and his playing, though beautiful, is not technically outstanding. But as I say, his music does something for me that I can't quite explain.

3. Steve Hackett
His early run of albums in the 70s/80s are top-notch progressive rock and stand up with some of the best albums by the likes of Camel. His playing is always tasteful and thoughtful, and he allows emotion to speak through his music without bombast or bluster. Lyrically and vocally he's probably quite weak, but his restraint and artistry nearly always make up for that. I must admit to not really keeping up with his recent work, but what I've heard I've been impressed by.

4. Phil Collins
I'm not a massive fan of his solo work, but you'd have to be deaf to not acknowledge his musicianship and song-writing abilities. His first album is a genuine masterpiece, and even if he descended to showbiz chumminess later, his musical skills are outstanding, and I think he has been unfairly treated in many respects.

5. Tony Banks
Although he's quite far down this list, I do consider myself a fan of his solo work. In a similar way to Anthony Phillips, I get something from his music I don't get from anything else. It's just that so much of his solo work is uneven and lurches from style to style without seemingly any overall purpose. But what's good is very very good, and his recent classical work is beautiful.

6. Mike Rutherford
For me there's another large gap between Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford. This is one thing I've never quite understood - I really love Mike's Genesis songs, and I'm a big fan of Smallcreep's Day (and the B-side "Compression"), but nearly everything by Mike and the Mechanics bores me to tears. It just all seems so bland and tepid. "Living Years" is of course a great song, but that's where it ends for me.

7. Ray Wilson
Never heard anything, can't imagine I'd like it though
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Noni
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xx Re: Rank the solo projects
« Reply #1 on: Feb 5th, 2018, 11:37am »

Your list and order copies mine exactly, though very well written with your explanation, wink I would swap Steve Hackett as number 1 and Peter Gabriel at the No3 spot. This purely goes on the fact I play more Steve Hackett music compared to the others. Have most of both these artists and enjoy them immensely. grin

Anthony Phillips, another favourite of mine and played constantly throughout the year, though Tarka, The Geese and the Ghost and Slow Dance often gets the most plays. Have all or most of his albums. I'm into both, classical/folky style of music anyway cool

Have to admit, don't play much of Tony Banks music, which is a shame really.. Either I forget to, or other bands intervene in my play list!.. grin Have several of his albums. wink

Like you, I'm not a huge fan of Phil Collins's solo music, at the time found it hard to seperate both himself and Genesis style of music, when they both went that commercial route for success. Though I do own several greatest hits albums plus other single tracks, that I like. wink Though now, I'm warming up more to Phil and the latter Genesis without Steve Hackett. wink

Again, have not listened to any of Mikes stuff. At the start when Mike and the Mechanics established itself, back in the day.. Those hits, I was not impressed with at all. Don't own any albums sad I don't know now, if his music has changed over the years, but never bothered to find out.. Not sure if he's done any prog style music? cool

Have a few Ray Wilson's albums, but have to confess cannot remember what style of music he plays. undecided... Might have to refresh my memory again and check him out along side Tony Banks stuff!!.... Think I liked it!! grin
« Last Edit: Feb 5th, 2018, 12:07pm by Noni » User IP Logged

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xx Re: Rank the solo projects
« Reply #2 on: Feb 5th, 2018, 11:57am »

Ranking in order of how much of their stuff I have (which is the same order of how much I enjoy their music):

1. Steve - I have almost everything of his. He's all over the place stylistically, and rather undisciplined at times, but his solo work has grabbed me the most of any of the Genesis guys.

2. Ant - I have a majority of his many albums, including some collaborations. Ant's stuff is also quite varied, but in a different way from Steve's, and of course his stuff is a lot mellower.

3. Tony - I have all his rock stuff, none of his classical. If he made more rock stuff I'd be sure to check it out.

4. Phil - I have a few of his albums but overall he's a bit commercial for me.

5. Mike - I have what little actual solo stuff he's done, plus the first M+M album. SMALLCREEP'S DAY is a favorite but he's never done anything else that approached that.

6. Peter - I just have his first album and a few scattered tracks. Sorry, but not every big Genesis fan is necessarily a big Gabriel fan.

7. Ray - I checked out his first 2 studio solo albums and didn't like either. I now just have his first live album and one separate track.

« Last Edit: Feb 5th, 2018, 2:21pm by onetwothree » User IP Logged

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xx Re: Rank the solo projects
« Reply #3 on: Feb 5th, 2018, 1:34pm »

I will rank them in the order I enjoy their music:

1. Anthony Phillips
I love his music and his albums outnumber by far all the other Genesis members' solo albums in my collection. His songwriting (or instrumental writing if you will) is so unique, it often sounds so easy and simple but don't underestimate it, it's hard to write stuff with that special personal watermark like he does. Ant was the Genesis member who took me longest to even know about his solo work in the first place but his music changed my listening habits and my own song writing too.
And what's more, funny enough but it was through Ant's albums that I gave Brian Eno a try and found out about Harold Budd who I became a fan of too, he is different from Ant but somehow in a similar direction.

2. Tony Banks
You just have to love Tony for being Tony, I'm a total nerd for his weird chord changes and all that stuff. His solo outputs always had their weaknesses though, he has been trying for a long time to do commercial pop music, something which is contrary to what he is best at and the result was what many times what us Germans call "sitting between the chairs": he was way too commercial for prog fans but way too complex and strange for mainstream charts listeners. Plus, he sometimes fell for too cheap sounding keyboard sounds imho and for singers and a general production style that doesn't do his songs justice; for his classical music I have to admit, "Seven" and "Six" didn't grab me, again it felt as if he didn't play out his potential. Strange but all his Genesis contributions in the 70s still seem superior to his solo stuff, apparently it needed the rivalry to lure out the best Tony could give.
But nonetheless, I enjoy his solo albums a lot.

3. Steve Hackett
His first three albums are just sublime imho. If it was only for those I'd put him on top of this list. Too bad he didn't keep up the level, he lost me after Defector; I still have to check out his 90s albums, I only heard a handful of songs, some were really good, others just ok.

4. Mike Rutherford
Smallcreep's Day is a jewel of an album, I love it. Acting Very Strange, well that one doesn't need any comment, in a cynical way I could say Mike even deserves respect for making the total opposite of Smallcreep in every possible way, hardly any other artist managed to realise two albums like that in a row. For the Mechanics stuff, not really my cup but it's not bad. Whenever I hear one of the earlier songs from the 80s I am surprised how fresh it was, though sadly it can't compare to Smallcreep's Day.

5. Peter Gabriel/Phil Collins
I can't make up my mind who should get the higher rank, I like them equally.
For Peter, it's funny, I really respect everything he does, it is real art and it's no question he has his place among the top pop/rock/prog/whatever artists - it just doesn't do much for me. Great music but I just can't get into it.
For Phil, well like many I'm not keen on that commercial pop stuff, then again Phil's songs are often way above your average pop music songs. It was only last year that I heard 'I Don't Care Anymore' for the first time and I was like: man, this song is awesome! This has happened a number of times, I was surprised about his Los Endos Suite on that big band album, with a lot of his pop songs I had to admit it's not easy to write songs like that when take a closer look at them... so yes, don't underestimate Phil Collins, still I hardly ever listen to his music.

6. Ray Wilson
I've heard a couple of his songs and literally every time it was the same: not bad but where's the one song that will really hook me? It never came. Ray makes nice music but he misses that special something for me.
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xx Re: Rank the solo projects
« Reply #4 on: Feb 5th, 2018, 3:24pm »

1. Collins

By a country mile. I adore his solo work. To me, Both Sides is an underrated classic.

2. Rutherford

Smallcreep's Day is superb. I've got a soft spot for Acting Very Strange. And, frankly, I love the AOR brilliance of the Mechanics.

3. Gabriel

1 and 2 are very good. 3, 4 and So are essential listening. But some of his later stuff leaves me cold, to be honest.

4. Banks

Big fan of A Curious Feeling and The Fugitive. Not overly familar with his other stuff; need to rectify that.

5. Phillips

Late-comer to Ant's charms, and am building a collection of his work (recently purchased Private Parts & Pieces I-V); thoroughly enjoy what I've heard so far.

6. Hackett

Huge fan of his first three solo albums, but the quality thereafter is very patchy.
« Last Edit: Feb 5th, 2018, 3:50pm by TonyEdwards » User IP Logged

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xx Re: Rank the solo projects
« Reply #5 on: Feb 5th, 2018, 5:37pm »

1- PG
Not too keen on the first two albums but bowled over by the third. Love PG4, SO was very nice and Us a masterpiece. Some good songs after that but never as intense and solid as he used to be
2-MR
Surprisingly. Alone and with the Mechanics. Smallcreep is a gem and Beggar a very solid album.
3-TB
I have always liked a Curious Feeling and it keeps growing on me but for some reasons for me, with the other records, he never achieved the brilliance of Genesis, even when he seemed to be the dominating force in the band. Again some song here and there but the albums are not great imo.
4-PC
Face Value is a classic and I still was on board with Hello I must be going despite some lyrics. He lost me completely with No Jacket. Pity, I think he is a strong melodist and great arranger but got too self-complacent and too comfortable imo.
5-AP
When I am in that particular mood the Ant is great. Geese is amazing but there is ever any sort of edge to his music, so it gets tired quickly for me.
6-SH
Liked Voyage, adored Mornings, the other records and I have quite a few, I can really live without. To me he is mainly in instrumentalist, not a songwriter or at least not an entire album songwriter. Loathe his singing

7-RW
I only have Change. Nice. Forgettable. Nice voice though, Steve should use him.
« Last Edit: Feb 6th, 2018, 10:22am by Fabrizio » User IP Logged

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xx Re: Rank the solo projects
« Reply #6 on: Feb 6th, 2018, 05:58am »

PG ranks highest for me, by several light years.

Other than that it's patchy. SH would rank high for his Charisma albums especially the 3rd, through to the 6th ones, after that I lost touch with his work and only know the occasional tracks and didn't much like what I've heard from the two most recent ones. PC's first two are excellent, after that it's a case of diminishing returns for me.

TB, I didn't like the first, quite liked the 2nd, and only heard occasional tracks after that. Bankstatement was okay, Still had one or two okay ones.... not a very glowing recommendation is it! I haven't heard the classical stuff.

MR's two solo albums didn't do much for me, and I like the occasional M&TMs track. They did a really frustrating track, Nobody's Perfect - it has a great opening riff that continues through a great verse that builds nicely and has a slightly dark feel I liked a lot - then it goes into a bright singalongy chorus and all the good work is undone.

I don't know RW's work at all. To be honest, beyond PG and some of SH's stuff, I find the most consistent one is AP. I like the range he's covered - sure not all of it works but I really respect the breadth of his material. I should get more of his stuff.

on Feb 5th, 2018, 5:37pm, Fabrizio wrote:
7-SW
Nice voice though, Steve should use him.


Assuming you meant RW, I too have thought this. I'd find the Genesis Revisited stuff much more palatable if it was RW instead of NS.
« Last Edit: Feb 6th, 2018, 06:01am by Backdrifter » User IP Logged

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xx Re: Rank the solo projects
« Reply #7 on: Feb 6th, 2018, 11:27am »

on Feb 6th, 2018, 05:58am, Backdrifter wrote:

Assuming you meant RW, I too have thought this. I'd find the Genesis Revisited stuff much more palatable if it was RW instead of NS.

Thanks for the heads-up and yes, I agree that it would add something more than Nad to the Genesis stuff but also to Steve's songs. Steve really has a rather dull, flat voice.
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xx Re: Rank the solo projects
« Reply #8 on: Feb 6th, 2018, 11:44am »

Here's my take on it

SH
Lots of highlights in Steve's solo career for me. Beyond The Shrouded Horizon and The Night Siren are recent gems.

PG
Probably the most influential solo artist (+ PC?). I hated Passion when it came out but now think it's a work of genius.

AP
There is something unique about Ant's albums which makes them very special.

PC
I don't listen to PC's albums a lot, but they're mostly very good. Tarzan OST is a particular highlight I think.

TB
Definitely a mixed bag. The Fugitive is the one I listen to the most, he should have done more albums with just his vocals.

MR
I'd agree that Smallcreep's Day and Beggar are by far and away his best albums. Not a lot else is great though.

RW
Based on his talent and voice, and most of his recent output, RW doesn't deserve to be last. Song For A Friend is one of the best recent solo releases by any former Genesis member IMO.
« Last Edit: Feb 6th, 2018, 11:45am by ACatchAtTheTables » User IP Logged

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xx Re: Rank the solo projects
« Reply #9 on: Feb 6th, 2018, 3:05pm »

1. Peter Gabriel
Maybe not the most crucial member of Genesis, but definitely the most singularly talented songwriter to have passed through its ranks. An immensely expressive vocalist and imaginative lyricist whose music is dark, beautiful, inventive and emotionally rich. He's the only Genesis member who's 80s work I truly love, and the only one who really knew how to make accessible music that was distinctive and didn't sacrifice beauty or emotional depth.

2. Anthony Phillips
I'm not too keen on his lead vocals, but his instrumental work is the distilled essence of everything I love about Genesis. Richly textured, classically-inspired pastoral beauty. The Geese & The Ghost and Back to the Pavilion are particular favourites.

3. Steve Hackett
Steve is incredible at his best. A phenomenal guitarist and composer. The trouble is, he can be pretty inconsistent, and has shown rather questionable taste at times. Still, his best albums rank among the best Genesis solo works. The first four are classics, and not many artists could pull off an album as fresh and inspired as Beyond the Shrouded Horizon in the fifth full decade of their career.

4. Tony Banks
I love A Curious Feeling and his recent orchestral work, but I could probably count on one hand the number of songs I actually like from the intervening 25 years. Tony is at his best when creating beautiful, intricate, classically-inspired compositions. His explicitly mainstream material feels rather forced and leaves me cold. He definitely reserved his best material for Genesis during the 80s and 90s. I'm glad he eventually went back to his symphonic roots and I look forward to the new album due later this month.

5. Mike Rutherford
Smallcreep's Day is great. The Mechanics have a few good songs here and there. Overall, the most disappointing considering what he proved himself capable of in his younger days. He just seemed to lose any sense of creative ambition after 1980, which is a shame given how essential he was to the brilliance of Genesis' classic-era material.

6. Phil Collins
I like Face Value and parts of Hello, I Must Be Going, as well as the occasional song after that, but I'm afraid most of his material is just too bland, generic and insubstantial to be satisfying to me. If side projects like Brand X counted, I'd rank Phil at least one stop higher, but since we seem to be focusing exclusively on the actual solo careers, he remains in last place. Sorry.
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xx Re: Rank the solo projects
« Reply #10 on: Feb 6th, 2018, 5:19pm »

on Feb 6th, 2018, 3:05pm, InTheRapids wrote:
5. Mike Rutherford
(...) He just seemed to lose any sense of creative ambition after 1980, which is a shame given how essential he was to the brilliance of Genesis' classic-era material.


I always found Abacab and Acting Very Strange made Mike look like he tried to erase by force everything that coined his songwriting style, as if he wanted to learn to write songs from scratch a second time. A sad decision regarding the brilliance of Smallcreep's Day.
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xx Re: Rank the solo projects
« Reply #11 on: Feb 7th, 2018, 08:26am »

on Feb 6th, 2018, 5:19pm, Schrottrocker wrote:
I always found Abacab and Acting Very Strange made Mike look like he tried to erase by force everything that coined his songwriting style, as if he wanted to learn to write songs from scratch a second time. A sad decision regarding the brilliance of Smallcreep's Day.

I feel the same way. I've always thought AVS was a direct result of Face Value and its success, then again, so was Abacab perhaps.
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xx Re: Rank the solo projects
« Reply #12 on: Feb 7th, 2018, 11:26am »

Peter's solo work is by far my favourite. His best stuff is brilliant and his weaker stuff is still interesting and enjoyable.

Phil is my next pick, with his first 3 albums being really strong. After that, I find too much of his songwriting to be trite and syrupy. He is best when he has a bit of fire in him.

After that it is a tough call. Steve, Anthony, Tony, and Mike are all incredibly talented and their contributions to Genesis have been great. However, I think they work best when others also have creative input. So I have never really embraced their solo records that much, although A Curious Feeling and Smallcreep's Day are particularly strong.

I haven't listened to Ray's stuff to have an opinion.
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