Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#700 in the Series) is Genesis, Foxtrot
One thing that we do here at Cool Album of the Day is endeavor to bring you something special for our milestone numbered posts. As you’ve just read, this piece represents entry number 700. So today we bring you an album that more than arguably could be considered the best progressive-rock album of all time. It contains a song that could also potentially be considered the best progressive rock song of all time. You already know the album is Foxtrot, and the song of course that I’m referring to is “Supper’s Ready.”
Some may say that Genesis’ magnum opus should be considered The Lamb lies Down on Broadway, and they very well might be right. But I still see a way where The Lamb could be considered their magnum opus album even if Foxtrot is considered the best progressive-rock release of all time and “Supper’s Ready” the best song. That might be crazy and not make any sense at all. However to 1970s Genesis fans, I’m thinking it does. To make this even more confusing, I’d also have to figure how Selling England by the Pound fits in the mix since I consider that their best album! Now I know that may I have completely confused us, but you know what, that’s okay because that’s the point, Genesis can be a confusing band, just look at Foxtrot for example. For years I’ve looked for and asked about the meanings of these songs and I don’t believe I’ve received the same response twice.
The album begins with the long time concert staple “Watcher of the Skies.” What this one is about, again who knows. I’ve read so many different ideas including a story about aliens landing on earth. I can actually see some of that in the song, especially if you squint. I recently listened to this one for the first time in years. Sure the mellotron still is haunting, and the 6/4 time signature is interesting, but what really jumped out at me was how good the Phil Collins’ drum track was. I’ve never forgotten how tremendously he could play, but I did forget that this is one to use as a showcase for those that didn’t know or don’t remember.
As I mentioned, the earlier showcase of this album will always be “Supper’s Ready.” 22-plus minutes in length, yet it does not include an unnecessary second, it’s never once seemed or felt to be that long to me. Some of those epic songs from the past can get old in a hurry. Not so on this one.
I again ask the question, what’s it about and once again, I’ve read many theories. Is it about the end of the world, is it about the battle of good over evil? Let’s put them together… is it about the triumph of good over evil at the end of the world? Why not! I do know this, not knowing exactly did make me want to hear it again so I could perhaps figure it out. Maybe that’s what the meaning was!
This is the final stanza. So an interpretation of some type of Apocalypse can’t be too far off the mark.
“There’s an angel standing in the sun, and he’s crying with a loud voice / “This is the supper of the mighty one”, Lord of Lords, King of Kings, Has returned to lead his children home, To take them to the new Jerusalem. “
If you ever bump into Peter Gabriel, please ask him about some of those song meanings. I’m sure he’d be glad to share them with you.
— Larry Carta
- “Watcher of the Skies” 7:23
- “Time Table” 4:45
- “Get ‘Em Out by Friday” 8:36
- “Can-Utility and the Coastliners” 5:44
- “Horizons” 1:41
- “Supper’s Ready” 22:58
- Tony Banks – organ, acoustic and electric pianos, mellotron, acoustic guitar, backing vocals
- Steve Hackett – electric and acoustic guitars
- Phil Collins – drums, percussion, backing vocals
- Peter Gabriel – lead vocals, flute, oboe, percussion
- Mike Rutherford – bass guitar, bass pedals, cello, acoustic guitar, backing vocals.
- See our piece on Genesis, Selling England By the Pound
- See our piece on Genesis, Duke
- See our piece on Genesis, Seconds Out
- See our piece on Genesis, Wind and Wuthering
- See our piece on the Peter Gabriel album
- See our piece on Peter Gabriel, Plays Live
Here are some great live versions of a couple tunes.
Check out these progressive rock albums as well.