207. FACE VALUE by Phil Collins
Uttering the name 'Phil Collins' can bring many things to mind - cringe, that drum break, The Alamo, Genesis, No Jacket Required, movie soundtracks, Motown, etc. It's undeniable that Collins was everywhere during a period of time, especially the 80's. Today, Collins is either reviled or revered - I fall in the latter camp. Whether he carried the beat for the Peter Gabriel-fronted version of prog rock band Genesis, carried the vocals for the self-fronted version of pop rock band Genesis or did it all on his own as a solo artist, he has left an indelible mark in the world of music. So, I think it's fitting to cover this 1981 record, his solo debut.
Like many outstanding albums before and after, this one has roots in the breakup of his marriage. So, many of the tracks deal with this theme. What makes it work is the way Collins incorporates elements of pop, soul and R&B into the music. Perhaps he was foreshadowing how he would slowly lead Genesis away from prog rock and into the realm of a more pop-oriented sound.
I briefly hesitated whether I should include that song in my recommendations, as it has been so overplayed over the years that sometimes, mood-dependent, even I cringe. But, if this will be your first listen, it's an absolute must, so start out with 'In The Air Tonight' and then read up on that iconic drum break. Follow that with the lively 'I Missed Again' and its bright and shiny horns. 'The Roof Is Leaking' is next on my list which has a bit of a countrified feel to it owing to some nice banjo plucking. Last, end with 'This Must Be Love' which I could imagine a pre-teen in the early 80's must have listened to many a time, pining about the girl that got away, hypothetically speaking of course....