back before i knew anything about music and how crappy adult contemporary is i was a phil collins fan. slightly embarrassing, but if you ignore the songs and focus on the musicianship, it’s not so bad.
the lunch counter where i was picking up my sandwich today was playing in the air tonight. that song creeps me out. not just the lyrics, and the spooky urban legend that’s popped up around it, but the song as an entity. the underlying anger is almost palpable in the way the song is arranged. i love the way the tension builds and then the iconic drum line breaks through in the second third of the song…it’s brilliant.
if you think about it, the whole song is iconic, not just that particular drum line (and you know the one i’m talking about). a group of people could be having a debate over the relative merits of 80’s music and how god-awful it was, but in the air tonight is one of the few songs that almost everyone can agree is close to genius. the wikipedia article about the song is pretty cool; collins apparently doesn’t really know what the song is about. he was just angry when he wrote it, and he didn’t even really write it. he claims that one day in a recording studio he just started ad-libbing lyric. if that’s true, it’s a shame the rest of his music (save another day in paradise) couldn’t live up to the promise of that song.