Shitting on Phil Collins, Part Two

Yesterday I explained my personal sentimental connection to the work of Phil Collins and Genesis, and how my perspective has evolved with my musical tastes.  Even with that as background, I still feel bad for the rest of this post, so here is a disclaimer:  I love Phil Collins.  He’s one of the greatest rock drummers ever, if not the greatest.  People don’t realize this because rather than stay behind the drums, Phil has done a whole lot of other stuff, much of which he’s sucked at.  Face Value is a brilliant, artistic and personal album from beginning to end.  Phil also helped create Peter Gabriel (“melt”), another of the most brilliant albums ever recorded.  Phil brought gated reverb down from the mountain, and it revolutionized music mostly for the better.  With all that said…

To excerpt from the same article I linked to yesterday, “Coinciding with Collins’s Roseland shows, on June 17th he will receive the Songwriters Hall of Fame’s prestigious Johnny Mercer Award at the organization’s annual gala awards dinner in New York City.”

I find this the slightest bit ironic.  My friend Alex and I fairly recently realized that Phil Collins does not write lyrics so much as he strings together cliches, idioms, and figures of speech that happen to rhyme.  A couple of examples:

  • From “In the Air Tonight“:  Well I was there and I saw what you did / I saw it with my own two eyes / So you can wipe off that grin / I know where you’ve been / It’s all been a pack of lies”
  • Or my absolute personal favorite example, “Something Happened on the Way to Heaven”:  We had a life, we had a love / but you don’t know what you’ve got ’til you lose it / well that was then, this is now / and I want you back / How many times can I say I’m sorry?

Then, of course, there’s the album covers.  Here are the covers for Phil’s solo studio LPs to date.  See if you detect a theme:

Face Value (1981)

Hello, I Must Be Going (1982)

No Jacket Required (1985)

But Seriously (1989)

Both Sides (1993)

Dance Into the Light (1996)

Testify (2002)


  1. For the most part I really sing Phil’s praises. He’s an incredibly musical drummer, has produced some real catchy top 40 stuff with Genesis and his solo career and produced other bands cd that were the best in their career.

    I wasn’t too keen on the last 10 years. Way too many ballads and 2 albums that I still can’t really listen to. However overall he’s worked hard, and kept a level head when most celebrities seem to live on a different planet.

    He’s moved on, and earned the time I think.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.