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Phil Collins - ‘Going Back’

Posted Fri 17 Sep 2010 17:58 BST by Julian Marszalek in Album Reviews
Given the re-appraisal of Phil Collins by numerous hip-hop producers, rappers and er...that arbiter of all things rock'n'roll, Alan McGee, it's more than baffling to find the one-time Genesis drummer come creeping back to the scene of his1982 crime, the notorious filleting like a fish in Billingsgate market of The Supremes' ‘You Can't Hurry Love'.

Logic dictates that one such musical homicide would have been enough for Collins (Lord knows it was enough for us) but, like a serial killer with uncontrollable homicidal tendencies, here he is 28 years later to perpetrate a cultural massacre of such magnitude that it's doubtful the blood stains will ever be removed with any amount of scrubbing and scouring powder. Avert your eyes and cover your ears, people, as Phil Collins returns with a vengeance to the Motown songbook once more.

Among the bodies lying in a crumpled heap like so much cheap garbage waiting to be cleared away are Stevie Wonder (‘Uptight (Everything's Alright)'), The Temptations (‘Papa Was A Rolling Stone'), The Miracles (‘Going To A Go-Go') and Martha Reeves & The Vandellas (‘Jimmy Mack'). As with any crime, a motive is to be established and Collins' defence, in the form of his sleeve notes, claims that he was seeing if it was possible "to recapture the sound and feelings (he) got from listening to these songs the first time round." So, as with all murderers, pretty selfish reasons then.

With so much of the joyous, uplifting and just plain life-affirming Motown back catalogue freely available (not to mention the any number of soul all-nighters dotted across the country), ‘Going Back' is a redundant exercise into one man's nostalgia. So Phil Collins recaptures that drum sound? So what? The irony here is that this music - some of the greatest tunes committed to vinyl, remember - has been stripped of the very soul that beats at its heart. In many respects, the whole exercise is redolent of the madness that fuels the schlock-horror of ‘The Human Centipede', an experiment with no discernable value and with truly repellent results.

What's really depressing about the whole sorry affair is that ‘Going Back' adds to the debate about the lack of dignity achieved by rockers of a certain age. While someone like Robert Plant - a man not noted for subtlety at the height of his powers - can offer tenderness and wisdom by reinterpreting vernacular music in his advanced years, then watching and listening to Collins pine for his youth is akin to being complicit in his bleak existential desperation.

3/10
188 Comments

1. stephen -
Never understood why he was so popular as a solo artist. This really smells of desperation.
Why did he record this when the originals are far far better. buy them instead!

2. Yahoo! Music User -
It's "nice to see" that someone who seems to hate Phil Collins, can review his album. This guy has a prejudice and he doesn't know how great talent Phil Collins is. I bet he likes Katy Perry or Linkin Park or maybe Bieber.

3. Damon -
Wow, Julien! You come across as someone who never liked Phil Collins to begin with and was more than eager to take a swipe at the new album. When one man decides to make an album that attempts to reproduce his favorite music with other talented musical folk, the fact that you state right upfront you never wanted to hear anything else like it taints your review from the outset. You write as if everyone on the face of the planet panned 'You Can't Hurry Love' 28 years ago and how dare he record other legendary music. Maybe you should have considered passing on the review since you were slighted against the music in the first place? By the way, I thought the last few outings by Robert Plant were weak efforts for a man of his talents-- so I guess I know why our views differ.

4. Creaven91 -
Terrible review, one wonders if he even bothered listening to the album than just use his own personal opinion of Phil Collins as his inspiration for this attack

5. James Agg -
I'm sorry but I'm not Collins fan, as such but what a little twerp you are, Collins has had 7 No1's in America, sold millions of records, been the lead singer of Genesis, plays his own instruments, produces his own records, I think he has paid his dues to record these songs, while I agree it wont be to every ones taste's who are you to say he has stripped the soul out of them, OK critique the album, but I would sooner he Murder these songs as you put it rather than some jumped up over produced X factor Bile wannabe, who in short has done nothing, Collins love him or hate him has earned his right throughout his career and you faceless gimp behind a computer should show more respect

6. Yahoo! Music User -
You call this an album review? You really have no clue at all do you Marszalek?

7. Yahoo! Music User -
Must kill you that the album has already gone gold.

8. Veronique Pelletier -
Ok..Ok.... Its time for your medication now Julian....

9. RONALD -
Really nice to see Phil Collins return, he has made some
great songs with Genesis,and there is more to come from
this fantastic singer.

10. Clarence Lawrence -
Wot a preposterous critique. Why couldn't you just say it was rubbish


Clarence

11. Linda -
Watched him on saturday in 'One night only' and personally I think that Rod Stewart has done the same thing much better.

12. Yahoo! Music User -
Thought you were supposed to be reviewing the album not making a personal attack. If you've never like Phil Collins, what was the point?

13. LOUISE -
I have to admit, the review is "almost" fair..i watched his "one night only" show the other night.. he was drowned out..and hes lost it.. what a shame.. some things belong in the past.. like Phil collins.. oh dear. very sad...

14. SPENCER -
Another jumped up music critic - just what we need!

15. jimt -
Both solo Phil Collins and Genesis stopped sending out review copies of albums many years ago as critics simply vented their own bile. I mean, if you don't like something that's fair enough, and I've little time for Collins's nostalgia trip, but this reviewer just comes across as a silly flouncy little drama queen. By the time he got to mentioning The Human Centipede, he'd gone off the foaming-at-the-mouth scale. And by the way, he ropes everyone into his melodramatic sniping at Collins's ("notorious", apparently) Supremes cover from 1982, while conveniently sidestepping the fact it was a huge number 1 hit, which proves that large numbers of people didn't think it was a "homicide". The album may well be lame but the review is just another sneery predictable piece of shooting-fish-in-a-barrel from a stereotypical too-cool-for-school music hack.

16. Sue T -
Agree wholeheartedly with everything said above about this awful reviewer!

17. Thomas -
julian you have no taste and we cant help it that you are comparing the legend that is phil collins with that squeaky voiced justin beaber

18. Uniko -
emm well just let me say for the record: Genesis was one of the biggest and best band in UK music history and Phil together with his writeing skills made some of the best albums. but then i speak as a hippy growing up with bands like floyd. problem is today us hippies are few and far between. but as for words and music Phil did more than most genesis album like floyd and many bands from that time still sell years after they first came out. most of the [profane] today won't be here next week.
Julian Marszalek i feel you are biose to start with and come from a much younger time if you had been around as i was in the 70s 80s you would have prased his work before saying that this new cd is not the phil we know and love. = need someone to wrie reviews who knows what the hell there talking about. uno annalon: pro/musician and writer

19. Tom -
How ironic that this article reeks of self congratulation. I'm not a fan of Phil Collins either but this review is just a pointless personal attack. I wonder if his 'bleak existential desperation' has been assuaged at all by the fact that the album went straight in at number 4 in the UK charts. But of course, you, the arbiter of taste, know much better than the buying public. Wait for ten seconds... Phil has just earned more than you will this month. Perhaps some humility within your criticism would make it a little more interesting – and convincing – to read than your painfully extended homicide metaphor (couldn't beat that one any thinner, eh? Had to bail out before the conclusion and get into the jarringly irrelevant 'Human Centipede' comparison.)

I'm off to iTunes to buy Phil's album. It may be bad, but it sure as hell can't be any worse than reading this drivel.

20. Randy Q -
Amazing review, wasn't aware they'd allow something like that to get posted.
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