In my dream last night, Phil Collins died. Don’t worry, I’m not gonna talk about my dreams. I am gonna talk about Phil Collins, though. I’m not being ironic or anything, but over the past couple of years I’ve come to like Phil Collins more and more. I’m sure it began when I got the Genesis Platinum Collection compilation. Sometimes, when a band is incredibly popular outside of my normal world of music-listening, I feel an urge to try it out properly, to see if I can see what lots of people do see in their music. For years I didn’t like Neil Young or Bob Dylan or the Clash. I tried them, like it was homework, and eventually fell for Young and Dylan. I still don’t get why people like the Clash so much, but you can’t have everything.
So, Platinum Collection loaded on to my iPod, I’d listen to it when I was walking in the park with Billy. The compilation covers their entire career. I didn’t enjoy all of it. I doubt I’ll ever be a fan of their Peter Gabriel years; I just can’t get into it. And some of the late eighties and early nineties stuff floats over me, but there are few songs on there that I love. Mainly taken from their Duke (1980) and Abacab (1981) albums.
Here’s “Keep it Dark” off Abacab. It’s a fantastic song, if you can let your Phil firewall come down.
I didn’t become a Genesis fan, but it did soften me a bit and allow me to move on to Phil’s solo work. Now, back in 2002, when my ex-grilfriend Hanni and I started going out, I – like any self-respecting boy – went through her record collection. And a fine record collection it was/is, too. But in the back of the box, was a 12″ copy of “In The Air Tonight.” I never let her forget it. Every now and again, I’d email her at work and tell her I’d heard a great song, and attach a re-named mp3 of a Phil Collins song. I would laugh. She’d call me a bastard. (The best one, one that still makes me chuckle, was sending her “a great song” called “One More Night” by a new indie band, The Filk O’Lins.)
But, I did end up keeping a small handful of the songs I sent. I secretly loved “Easy Lover” and “Against All Odds.” The latter is a fantastic song; although the bit in the video right at the start where his mouth appears inside the mask is a bit creepy.
And underneath it all, he seems to be a decent enough chap, as can be heard on the recent episode of This American Life, wherein the subject is break-ups, and the writer Starlee Kine talks to Phil about songs and break-ups.
And, amongst other things, he produced this Adam Ant song, “Puss ‘n Boots.”
The mice in the “Puss ‘n Boots” video look like two periods of Daft Punk mixed together; the varsity-jacket wearing Thomas Bangalter of the great 1996 live video that you can watch on Google Video, and their helmet-y era.
So, to the Phil that died in my dream, you weren’t as bad as I spent most of my life thinking you were. I hope they have a big drum kit wherever you go when you die in my dreams.