"Invisible Touch (Atlantic; 1986) is the group’s undisputed masterpiece. It’s an epic meditation on intangibility, at the same time it deepens and enriches the meaning of the preceding three albums. It has a resonance that keeps coming back at the listener, and the music is so beautiful that it’s almost impossible to shake off because every song makes some connection about the unknown or the spaces between people (“Invisible Touch”), questioning authoritative control whether by domineering lovers or by government (“Land of Confusion”) or by meaningless repetition (“Tonight Tonight Tonight”). All in all it ranks with the finest rock ‘n’ roll achievements of the decade and the mastermind behind this album, along of course with the brilliant ensemble playing of Banks, Collins and Rutherford, is Hugh Padgham, who has never found as clear and crisp and modern a sound as this. You can practically hear every nuance of every instrument.
In terms of lyrical craftsmanship and sheer songwriting skills this album hits a new peak of professionalism. Take the lyrics to “Land of Confusion”, in which a singer addresses the problem of abusive political authority. This is laid down with a groove funkier and blacker than anything Prince or Michael Jackson (or any other black artist of recent years, for that matter) has come up with. Yet as danceable as the album is, it also has a stripped-down urgency that not even the overrated Bruce Springsteen can equal. As an observer of love’s failings Collins beats out the Boss again and again, reaching new heights of emotional honesty on “In Too Deep”; yet it also showcases Collins’ clowny, prankish, unpredictable side. It’s the most moving pop song of the 1980s about monogamy and commitment. “Anything She Does” (which echoes the J. Geils Band’s “Centerfold”¯ but is more spirited and energetic) starts off side two and after that the album reaches its peak with “Domino”, a two-part song. Part one, “In the Heat of the Night”, is full of sharp, finely drawn images of despair and it’s paired with “The Last Domino”, which fights it with an expression of hope. This song is extremely uplifting. The lyrics are as positive and affirmative as anything I’ve heard in rock."
: These are ridiculous questions. I like them!
: A. I arrange my rock/jazz albums
: alphabetically by artist and chronologically
: within each artist. I arrange my classical
: albums alphabetically by composer and
: alphabetically within each composer.
: Arranging my rating would drive me insane,
: not to mention that it would require me to
: know my ratings before I review them
: (spoiler: sometimes I change my rating in
: the middle of writing a review). Also, I
: sold "To the Power of Three" years
: B. Yes is putting out an album in July with
: Jon Davison (the lead singer of Glass
: Hammer) on vocals. I'm not happy about that.
: I also would probably vomit on the spot if
: Genesis somehow reunited and decided to make
: an album or go on tour.
: C. Yes needs to start issuing archive
: releases a la King Crimson and they need to
: do it now.
: D. It's actually not the very low graded
: albums that I regret listening to
: excessively; listening to one of them
: repeatedly can properly hone my anger and
: irritation so that I can get my thoughts
: down on paper. The ones I regret listening
: to excessively are the ones rated in the 5-9
: range that I'd listen to a bunch of times
: only to write a review that's 4 paragraphs
: E. Nah, I don't regret any of them.
: Reviewing gives me a chance to get my
: thoughts, good or bad, into an organized
: form, and I never regret that.
: F. None. You should send that in!
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