That when they simplified the music and went in the pop direction this was in line with the pre-existing taste of them being a fan of The Beatles, motown pop hits etc. I notice a lot of defensive, "I like hits", "we grew up listening to THe Beatles" etc as justification for the pop direction.
Unfortunately the problem is that the level of melody writing is higher in Gabriel era genesis than it is during the pop era. Gabriel era Genesis should be used as an example of melody writing in terms of extended melodies with a melodic flow.
When I think of The Beatles I think of songs with melodic flow over interesting chord progression and that description is consistent with Gabriel era Genesis.
In my opinion, Gabriel Era of Genesis is more in line with Beatle-esque songwriting than the pop era of Genesis. They just put lengthy proggish instrumental section in between Beatle standard songwriting.
The pop era, the melodies become far less interesting. They were still a very good pop band but not a great one.
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