“Genesis,” you say? “That droll pop trio that owned the Eighties? They did dirty ditties?”
Yes, kids, that Genesis. We’ll skip the drawn out backstory of how they went from a Progressive-Art rock band to the Top 40 and get right to it.
Very talented both musically and lyrically, Genesis in the Phil Collins era also had a playful, witty side. A Trick of the Tail‘s “Robbery, Assault and Battery” is a cops and robbers song complete with a cockney narration from the robber. Same with Mike Rutherford’s “Illegal Alien.” Absolutely one-hundred percent problematic, racist and down-punching by today’s standards, it was a peppy song about a Mexican fellow trying to get over the border.
Quick aside, I have never seen this video. I used to park in front of the damn MTV all day and see Michael Jackson 30 times but never the good ones. This vid is amazing! Look for all the cameos. It’s really a who’s who of the era.
I wonder about these lyrics now that it’s 35 years later. It’s like The Who singing “I hope I die before I get old” in 2021. You lived long enough to see it through. What do you say now?
That in twenty years or more,
You’ll still look the same
As you do today.
You’ll still be a young girl,
When I’m old and grey.
Our second ditty is from the self-titled Genesis album from 1983. It’s one that I think you need to be British to understand the reference. “Silver Rainbow” is a Tony Banks number he described as about “about people being senseless when they are in love”. This is fair and accurate but also hilarious if you listen to this excellent old-sounding song and know that the “silver rainbow” is a zipper.