The best studio albums by Genesis

Published: November 12, 2013

Genesis has released oodles of albums over the year in quite a number of lineups, and in a fair variety of styles, even.  But some albums of theirs are simply outstanding, while other, not so much.  This list is a cheat sheet shortcut to the very best studio albums by Genesis in the entire history of the musical group, from 1967 on. 

 

 

  1. Selling England by the Pound (1973)

     

    Brilliant compositions, brilliantly played.  Peter Gabriel sings brilliantly.  Phil Collins sings on one song, "More Fool Me", giving a preview of his skills to come. Steve Hackett's tapping style orchestrated guitar is soaring and magnificent.  Tony Banks' keyboards do not come across over the top as on latter albums. Standout compositions are "Cinema Show", "Firth o Fifth", "Battle of the Epping Forest", "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight", "Aisle of Plenty".

     

     

  2. Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (1974)

     

    Double concept album, a swan song for Peter Gabriel (the vocalist and flautist) with the group, is a supreme achievement in terms of unified "rock opera" genre, no worse than The Who's "Tommy".  Musically, it is very complicated and yet melodious.  The story is a bit poky, and definitely surreal, but the individual lyrics are high art indeed, and very iconic/memorable: "Though men-made light/at night is very bright/there is no whitewash victim/when the neons dim/to the coat of white."

     

  3. Wind and Wuthering

     

    This is the second album by Genesis in the Phil Collins (vocals and percussion), Michael Rutherford (bass guitar), Tony Banks (keyboards) and Steve Hackett (guitars) lineup.  It is also the last album with Hackett, and for that reason, it is the last excellent guitarwork album by Genesis, sad to say.  After this point, Genesis' guitars range from merely pedestrian to considerably memorable/inspired, but they never hit the idiosyncratic virtuoso high-water mark that Hackett continued for Genesis upon replacing Anthony Phillips in 1973.  (To appreciate Anthony Phillips' guitar and composition chops get your hands on the rare solo album of his titled "The Geese & The Ghost".)

     

Of course, nothing really compares to a live Genesis concert, what with the lights and sound, and accomplished instrument playing, and it is yours to hope that the retired band will reform to do another breath-taking world tour for the ages.  To that end you may like to listen to "Seconds Out" (a play on "the second live album is out" and "mere seconds after the..."). You won't find Peter Gabriel there, but the music is compelling just the same.