“Someday, I’ll have a grandkid and he’ll say, ‘Grandpa, you suck, you lost to PHIL COLLINS!'” This was the expression of humiliation by South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker after their brilliant movie soundtrack lost to the tepid and safe “Tarzan” album. They made it sound so easy to sound cool by hating Mr. C.
I can understand–recent Phil Collins is kind of like recent wine, more sugary grape juice than mind-altering–it’s easy to forget how flippin’ huge the bald pianist was back in the ’80s. His Genesis stuff was what made that band a household name with anyone who wasn’t a prog-rock snob, and his first solo album was one of those rare platters where almost every track is a hit song. He managed to do what David Lee Roth never could. His music was the music we all listened to on our Walkmans, even when we told everyone we were listening to Roger Waters or Eric Clapton. When we were dumped by our girlfriends, Phil’s optimistic breakup songs taught us that there’d be another one coming soon. When we got older, fatter, and balder, we were still better looking than Phil.
In honor of this guilty pleasure of mine, which is one of my biggest guilty pleasures (in the sense that I’m a huge fan–I prefer Phil’s Genesis to Peter’s, and I prefer Phil’s solo to Peter’s), I present:
THE TOP 10 PHIL COLLINS SONGS !
1. Man on the Corner–Genesis. Maybe it’s for sentimental reasons, but this is my drop-dead favorite Genesis or Phil solo song, and it is one of my favorites of all time. Sentimentally, it makes me think of this kinda-plain-but-hot-because-she-was-a-metal-check who wrote the lyrics to this song in a note to me once. (She also wrote me the lyrics to Led Zep’s “Fool in the Rain.”) Then, we made out for two hours in a bus to Canada. And this was after I’d already puked my guts out in a Mickey D’s parking lot in Plattsburg. What a gal!
2. In the Air Tonight-Takka Takka. (YSI) (zshare). The reach of this song is undeniable: If you lived through the 1980s and didn’t hear it, then you didn’t listen to Kasey Kasem (or any hit or rock radio stations), didn’t watch Miami Vice, and had no friends who whistled in the hall. I bet this tune was more ubiquitous than Tears For Fears’ “Shout.” If it were indie, I’d have posted DMX’s use of this song . . . (“I Can Feel It.”) It’s not brilliant, but I do have a weakness for that Granny-lovin’ dog fighter.
3. That’s All-Keane (YSI). I had an accapella version of this as the B-Side of my 45. Loved it.
4. Misunderstanding-Jimmy Swift Band (live) (direct link). Lotta folks may bitch about me placing this song so high on my list, but I’ve always liked the falsetto on the chorus. Phil is so unabashedly, so proudly, so thoroughly sentimental. Who makes music like this for adults nowadays?
5. Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)-We Are Scientists (YSI) (Zshare). The second solo-Phil song on the list. I bet you thought I’d post the Postal Service version. Well I tricked you. I will. But only as a video. The mp3s are easy to find–and I suggest you buy it. The whole first PS album is terrific.
6. Take Me Home-Raq (live) (direct link) The song with the endless fadeout.
7. Turn It On Again-Omega Moos (direct link) (live) My buddy Damien used this song as the example of when Genesis turned its back on rap. The use of the heavy pop-synthesizer and beat repitition offended him I think. This was a man who dug Peter Gabriel Genesis, but could appreciate “Mama” and “Home By The Sea.” Of course, he knew every word to every verse of this tune. Now that I get a blog, a decade later, I get to have the last word: This is a better song than either of those, D. So, there.
8. Abacab-Umphrey’s McGee (live) (direct link). “Is it anywhere? ABACAB!” The ultimate in lazy songwriting, and harder to figure than “D.I.Y.” by Peter Gabriel. Phil beatcha again, Pete.
10. Land of Confusion-One Ton Tablespoon (direct link). Perhaps there are better Phil tunes–“In Too Deep,” “This is The World We Live In” (covered brilliantly by Alcazar), “Tonight Tonight Tonight,” even Paperlate. But how many of them had such scary videos? Genesis doesn’t want people embedding it, but you can find it here.
11. Honorable Mention: Another Day in Paradise-Copeland. (YSI) Phil did this tune with David Crosby (pre-new-liver, I believe). I don’t know enough about the band Copeland to know whether this is a satire or a straight reading, but for some reason I really dig it. And I’m not a huge fan of the cornball original. I’m only giving it a mention because of this cover.
If you enjoyed this post, please stumble it, digg it, etc., or at least drop a comment. I put a lot of work into these posts, and I need some sort of payoff.
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