A lot of cynics and popular music snobs - myself included at times - have said that Phil Collins should have stuck with drumming and was "not bad in Genesis". But if we're honest? Well, I never listen to my Genesis LPs, nor can I sing one of their songs. But I can sing you a Phil Collins song, or three, AND hum the violin bits.
The fact that Collins' vocal production has less human warmth than 3CPO* in a romantic mood, and that his melodies are about as original as an advertising jingle, doesn't make the collection of his love songs any less classic.
How does he get away with it? Perhaps because his lyrics and melodies are so completely stripped of any attempt to be clever, and yet somehow perfectly combine all the right, true cliches, so they tug at your heartstrings with their collective force, until you ache pleasantly, his smooth songs all the while soothing your ears with crisp, sweetly synthetic production.
Actually, Phil Collins does this kind of '80s radio syrup better than anyone else. Lyrics like "One more night / (gimme just) one more night" have been around since pop began. But when he sings them? Guess what? They work.Unlike his other greatest hits package, this collection focuses on love songs only, so you'll be spared that whiney moneyspinner "Another Day in Paradise" (featured on ...Hits). On the flipside, you'll probably miss the 80s classic "In the Air Tonight" (also featured on ...Hits). But overall, Love Songs is a winner.
* 3CP0 is the polite robot from Star Wars - the one with the British Accent.
- Jean Barker
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