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Thread: Why is The Lamb rated so highly?

  1. #226
    The Lamb has an interesting "psychedelic" quality that I think is unique to it. Some of the lyrics seem to allude to taking a drug ("something inside me has just begun" ... "I've got sunshine in my stomach..", "when you eat right fru-it, you see everything alive" ) and some of the musical qualities and sounds invoke the visual imagery of the story in a fantastic way. (particularly "Fly on a Windshield", "In the Cage", "Hairless Heart", "Waiting Room", "Silent Sorrow", "Ravine" , "Riding the Scree" ).

    I also consider the earlier three Genesis studio albums masterpieces. But the Lamb is singular - in one sense it's even more "out there" than the others, but I find the sound and imagery a bit more "modern" and "clean" (and less dated) than the others. Ironically for a wacky concept album, I think it's more accessible and melodic in most places (I would be inclined to play parts of it to introduce someone to Gabriel Genesis, over the earlier albums).

    Anyone notice it's it's mainly in 4/4? With the exception of In the Cage (mainly 3/4 or 6/8), Slipperman (mainly 12/8), Back in NYC (mainly 7/4), Riding the Scree (9/8), most of the songs are 4/4.

    Just an incredible record.
    Last edited by thos; 03-13-2019 at 03:48 PM.

  2. #227
    I like it, but it's not my fave of the Gabriel-era. I don't hear any of the vocal criticisms. I think Peter sounds really good throughout. I can't speak to the continuity or clarity of the story, because honestly, I can't be bothered with it. The songs and the music are strong.

    As for Peter "not writing a decent tune" after Genesis, I think that's just absurd.

  3. #228
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    It didn't really grab me the way their earlier (NC, F, SEbtP) and later (TotT, W+W) work did.

    And here's the reason: Those other records had worked out a satisfying balance of styles and music elements - between pop songs and compositional extensions, and between Banks's keyboards, Hackett's guitar, Gabriel's vocals and flute, Rutherford's second guitar and bass, and Collins's drums. All the musical passages were important, about equally important, and the same went for the members' musical contributions. Other bands may have been flashier, more compositionally ambitious, more inspired, or more virtuosic. But Genesis had a Beatles-like excellence - they had the strongest body of material, perhaps the the best ensemble sense, and almost every section of almost every song worked, and mattered, and the song would have been weaker without it. Those instrumental middles and codas weren't virtuosic show-offs or tacked-on, or stuck-in bits - they were needed, for the most part. At its height, their music was what so much classic symph prog tried to be, but didn't always achieve.

    However, The Lamb upset that. Instead of near-orchestral suites, it consisted of relatively short pop songs, each mostly concerning one musical mood or idea rather than containing balancing contrasts within itself. The musical balance shifted strongly toward Gabriel's voice and Banks's keys and synth. And while the story it told may have been quite ambitious, the musical composition wasn't. Yes, it had some really good AABA songs, but Genesis could write that sort of thing in their sleep, whereas something like "Firth of Fifth" took artistic chances and represented a substantial musical achievement. But, in my opinion, The Lamb didn't, and for that reason I found it disappointing and still do.

  4. #229
    Member Guitarplyrjvb's Avatar
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    Another thing that seems to be unique on this record is Rutherford's use of fuzz bass. Never really heard him use it much before or since the Lamb. It really makes this record stand out in their catalog in terms of sonics.
    Last edited by Guitarplyrjvb; 03-14-2019 at 11:56 AM.

  5. #230
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    Without reading the thread (which I will get to)

    - when I bought The Lamb as a teen on casette, I thought it was twaddle...too long too unfathomable.

    - when I repurchased it on CD in 1994, it was the best music I ever tasted.
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  6. #231
    Quote Originally Posted by Baribrotzer View Post
    However, The Lamb upset that.
    Yes, that was the whole point, to upset the natural course of things. This is why it is such a daring and ambitious record. The shift is away from long, symphonic passages to sheer songwriting. Calling it plain "pop" is dubious in my opinion, the songs are complex and adventurous enough, just not in comparison to stuff like Firth of Fifth.

    But the biggest "artistic chance" is the Lamb's structure itself. This is a huge, double album which is not just a collection of songs, but more of a single, long suite. Unity is not provided just by the story. The flow of music from one piece to another is astonishing and completely harmonious (I can confirm from my own experience that I was listening this without the lyrics for years and did not even care about the songs' titles, since I always listened in one sitting).

    And that's the reason the discussion about which side is better seems irrelevant to me. This is a work that commands to be judged and evaluated in its unity, not as a sum of its parts.

  7. #232
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zappathustra View Post
    Why is it rated so high? Because people - including the band itself - do not understand it. Because it's odd, it's insanely ambitious, it does not fit in the logical flow of events. Because after dozens and dozens of listens, one cannot be sure about anything at all, not even if it's really good or bad.

    In other words, because it has the exact traits that make it an essential work of progressive, rock music.
    Absolutely. Exactly why I rate it higher than Selling England. Same reason I prefer Tales to CTTE. Perfection is boring.
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  8. #233
    Member bill g's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baribrotzer View Post
    It didn't really grab me the way their earlier (NC, F, SEbtP) and later (TotT, W+W) work did.

    something like "Firth of Fifth" took artistic chances and represented a substantial musical achievement. But, in my opinion, The Lamb didn't, and for that reason I found it disappointing and still do.
    Yes, I agree with this, although I do think the Lamb has its own brilliance, though I'm with you that pieces like 'Firth of Fifth' and 'One For The Vine' (both Banks pieces) are superior for the reasons you gave, and more importantly, reach my heart in a unique way that is difficult to put into words. Banks can paint landscapes with his music when he wants to, and why I listen to 'Five' more than something like the Lamb these days.

    Having said that, there is much to love about the Lamb. As others have stated, the 'Anyway-The Lamia' section is just fabulous, with a deep undercurrent of mood that is unique to that album. But tracks like 'Counting Out Time', 'The Grand Parade', and 'It', while having a degree of charm, I find weak by comparison to anything between Trespass and Selling England. Just my opinion of course.

  9. #234
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    I love all of it from start to finish - for me its bonkers - and full of rocket sauce as some actor put it - loaded with ideas and varying flavors.

  10. #235
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    It's gotta be the mint jelly.
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  11. #236
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    My introduction to Genesis was kind of weird, because the first thing I heard was "Behind the Lines" in the summer of 1981, and then a few months later I was introduced to The Lamb. I thought Lamb was great, and lived with that for a while. Pretty soon after everything pre-Lamb followed, more or less in chronological order. And not that much later Gabriel's "Security" came out, and I was getting into his earlier solo albums at the time. CTTOI, I got into ATOTT around the same time (for some reason W&W came a bit later for me, along with ATTW3 and Duke).

    In short, i explored most of Gabriel-era-Genesis and Gabriel's solo albums in a very short period of time, and loved it all (well, I didn't find From Genesis to Revelation until a couple of years later, and didn't take to it that much). To me The Lamb always sounded like a great combination of Gabriel's first couple of solo albums combined with the Genesis sound, and I never questioned it. It definitely does feel more modern than many albums from 1974. Aside from feeling that "Silent Sorrow..." seems just jammed in there, and not liking "It," it's all good.

  12. #237
    Another reason that this is rated so high - although it came after considerable pondering - it's because it's a fucking outright masterpiece of progressive rock.

  13. #238
    Orange Tick Squasher Buddhabreath's Avatar
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    I remember back in the day sitting with the gatefold album, smoking a fatty and being immersed in that album. For me it is great because it one of those rare albums that creates it's own mysterious alternate world. it is also full of amazing sounds, memorable melodies and lyrics.

    It's not meant to make perferct sense or be a cogent narrative - IMO that is a misreading of the whole thing. If that's what somebody tries to get out of it I think they will be very disappointed. IMO all great art throws the mystery in our faces and asks us to interpret it, as opposed to popular pablum which is often about how great the artist is or how bad he wants to fuck some girl etc. etc.

    Hat's still off to Mr. Gabriel for having the vision and creativity to put it out there.
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  14. #239
    Member bill g's Avatar
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    All this Lamb talk and now I'm pumped to immerse myself tonight once again. We used to take LSD and just crank this. Sides 3 and 4 were always stunning in that state. I have fond memories of 'In The Rapids' which used to, along with 'Fly on a Windshield' be my favorite track, but eventually 'The Lamia' elbowed its way to fave status.

  15. #240
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buddhabreath View Post
    I remember back in the day sitting with the gatefold album, smoking a fatty and being immersed in that album. For me it is great because it one of those rare albums that creates it's own mysterious alternate world. it is also full of amazing sounds, memorable melodies and lyrics.

    It's not meant to make perferct sense or be a cogent narrative - IMO that is a misreading of the whole thing. If that's what somebody tries to get out of it I think they will be very disappointed. IMO all great art throws the mystery in our faces and asks us to interpret it, as opposed to popular pablum which is often about how great the artist is or how bad he wants to fuck some girl etc. etc.

    Hat's still off to Mr. Gabriel for having the vision and creativity to put it out there.
    I agree with your assessment. I also think it's pretty cool to have BOTH the lyrics and the story in the "liner notes" and sort of put them both together. Yet, as you say, it's still mysterious in many ways. I know there are other albums that have things in the liner notes that sort of do the same thing, but not usually on the same scale as this, or as interestingly.

  16. #241
    Quote Originally Posted by Buddhabreath View Post
    It's not meant to make perferct sense or be a cogent narrative - IMO that is a misreading of the whole thing. If that's what somebody tries to get out of it I think they will be very disappointed. IMO all great art throws the mystery in our faces and asks us to interpret it, .
    That's the spirit. And surprisingly this holds the mystery after so many years of listening. I love the 3 albums that came before it. But they do not intrigue me anymore the same way that Lamb does.

  17. #242
    Member bill g's Avatar
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    It's probably the most intriguing concept that I can think of. Twin Age's 'Lialim High' is dang intriguing too, and I think there's time travel involved but that sense of mystery is there. Others (Snow, Quadraphenia, etc...) as cool as they are, don't really have that sense of mystery though, at least not for me. Well, 'A Curious Feeling' does actually but not quite to the same depth and detail as the Lamb. You've all got me pumped to put this on tonight.

  18. #243
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    My favorite Genesis album by far!!! Plus, I was lucky enough to see them perform this live in 1974! I’ll never forget that show!....I haven’t read this entire thread yet, so this may have already been mentioned, but my favorite version of this is the 5.1 version. Utterly amazing sounding!! Plus it starts off with the sound of a fly buzzing around before it actually starts...pretty cool addition to show what’s to come......also has a fantastic slide show through the entire album. Time to listen to this again!!!
    So much music....so little time....

  19. #244
    Member bill g's Avatar
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    Listened to the first half last night. I was surprised how great every track sounded. Funny, I've listened to this a lot over the years, but it was as if I heard things I hadn't noted before. Tony's playing in the title track for example. The intro to 'Chamber of 32 doors' has always blown my socks off, but was always disappointed that the rest of the song, though cool, was disappointing by contrast. But last night everything sounded really good, including Gabe's voice. And I'm not even to the best half yet. So, I still don't enjoy it as much as Selling England, but it is dang amazing, and not like any other album ever made.

  20. #245
    Orange Tick Squasher Buddhabreath's Avatar
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    ^^^
    I think that's a good observation in that there's a lot of detail and work sprawling across the 2 LPs such that one can discover new aspects after repeated listenings.
    The combined fortunes of the world's 26 richest individuals reached $1.4 trillion last year ó the same amount as the total wealth of the 3.8 billion poorest people.

  21. #246
    One of my favourite records. I bought it one year after it's release and from memory it was my third Genesis record after Nursery Cryme and Foxtrott. I listened to it for some time quite intensely as a whole after school. I like the mix of songoriented material and instrumental passages and the rougher prepunk side of Gabriels singing. After he split I followed much closer his career then the Genesis one. I saw the Lamb version of The Musical Box a couple of years ago and this added a visual element to my listening experience. I saw most Gabriel tours and I like a lot his stage visuals , while I was utterly bored by most Genesis concerts
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  22. #247
    The thing about "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" that so few here seem to understand is that it is a "Rock Opera" and it is meant to be seen just as much as heard. When you see it, you realize that the moody interludes actually have PURPOSE that coincides with the visual artistry that is happening LIVE and on a STAGE.

    So the album, was created to represent the audio side of that performance experience which they DID in fact tour and put out there are a unique and rather epic work of progressive rock.

    So when you say..."it's too boring in parts, or too much filler" you are just not understanding the bigger picture of the work.

  23. #248
    Member bill g's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skullhead View Post
    The thing about "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" that so few here seem to understand is that it is a "Rock Opera" and it is meant to be seen just as much as heard. When you see it, you realize that the moody interludes actually have PURPOSE that coincides with the visual artistry that is happening LIVE and on a STAGE.

    So the album, was created to represent the audio side of that performance experience which they DID in fact tour and put out there are a unique and rather epic work of progressive rock.

    So when you say..."it's too boring in parts, or too much filler" you are just not understanding the bigger picture of the work.
    Even still... musically there is a lot of mood in what some errogenously view as filler, pun intended. The instrumentals are all picturesque, even without the visual artistry. And of course... there's no overall consistency as to which parts are too boring or too much filler. Even my least favorite tracks, which are probably 'Counting Out Time' and 'Grand Parade' are quite entertaining and fun to listen to. I personally really enjoy all 23 tracks.

  24. #249
    Erroneous zones, I question you.

  25. #250
    Quote Originally Posted by Skullhead View Post
    The thing about "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" that so few here seem to understand is that it is a "Rock Opera" and it is meant to be seen just as much as heard. When you see it, you realize that the moody interludes actually have PURPOSE that coincides with the visual artistry that is happening LIVE and on a STAGE.

    So the album, was created to represent the audio side of that performance experience which they DID in fact tour and put out there are a unique and rather epic work of progressive rock.

    So when you say..."it's too boring in parts, or too much filler" you are just not understanding the bigger picture of the work.
    I saw TMB perform Lamb with all the costumes, etc. Great show, but I'm not sure the visuals added much to my enjoyment of anything, or made the ending any clearer to me. The parts that are boring to me (and there really aren't many) were still boring to me in the show, the visuals didn't change that. Nor did they add much in terms of interpretation. For the most part, they just played the music, and occasionally there were some visuals or Gabriel used a costume, but it was hardly a game changer.

    Also, more-so than many rock operas that were presented as films or plays, The Lamb gives you the entire package - story and music, as well as some visuals in the booklet/gatefold. To me, it stands apart in this way from other "rock operas" like The Wall, Tommy, Quadrophenia, etc. where the movie or play is often critical to understanding work. I think The Lamb was first and foremost a rock album. Yeah, it had a story, and the show had visuals, but I think the album was intended to stand on its own for those who would never see the show.

    Bill

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