Album Of The Week - Phil Collins - No Jacket Required
We're moving forwards this week, dipping into the eighties once again for Phil Collins' stratospherically good 1985 release No Jacket Required.
By the mid eighties, it was fair to say Phil Collins was absolutely everywhere and at the height of his powers. It's hard to argue that Collins isn't one of Britain's best musical exports; besides, he's done it both with Genesis and on his own to a damn high standard. No Jacket Required simply cemented Collins' place as one of Britain's all-time best acts.
There's certainly a fair share of hits present, but as is always the case with Phil Collins' music, listening is absolutely compulsive. Opening song Sussudio is a prime example - the combination of synthesiser, horn section and drum machine all help to make it one of Collins' best-known and one of my favourite songs of his. Only You Know And I Know continues this change of pace, opting for something a little more breakneck than the prog rock of Genesis. It's a brilliant song and one that's guaranteed to get you up and dancing. Just look at the crowd here:
Long Long Way To Go harks back to the sound featured on Collins' debut solo record Face Value, opting for a slower, more emotional feeling track. Despite its explosive opening, it's nice to see a change of pace this early on, showcasing Collins' infinite musical versatility. I Don't Wanna Know sounds like it could be featured on one of the later Genesis records, with its fantastic guitar riff combined with one of the album's best vocals, producing one of its best songs.
One More Night is one of the most recognisable Phil Collins tracks, continuing down the road from Long Long Way To Go, opting for a solemn sound that's only substantiated by Collins' passionate vocal, stemming from something a little more spoken. Don't Lose My Number is both energetic and funky and the heavy drum patterns, as well as some stellar guitar work from Daryl Stuermer that must also be commended. Who Said I Would, with its overarching horn sounds, exemplifies this up-tempo sound that Collins wished for on No Jacket Required - it's one to really get any crowd going.
Doesn't Anybody Stay Together Anymore is one of Collins' best efforts that contains a little personal message. It was a response to those around himself constantly getting divorced, including friends, his own manager and Collins himself some years earlier. He sang it at Prince Charles' fortieth birthday, not knowing that Charles would soon split from Diana some time later. There's a certain rawness to it and a real sense of pure emotion. Inside Out is my favourite track from No Jacket Required, quite simply due to its silky-smooth sound and Collins' vocal range is on full show too.
No Jacket Required finishes with one of Phil Collins' most iconic songs in Take Me Home. Lyrically, it can be looked on in two ways. At first listen, it sounds like the song is just simply about going home, but Collins has stated that the lyrics refer to a patient in a mental institution. Phil Collins has this innate ability to create something deep and tell a story in five minutes; that's why he goes down as one of the most iconic artists in British music history.
Overall, No Jacket Required is Phil Collins' most commercially successful record, but nonetheless is by far and away one of his best. It sees him cement himself at the top of the musical tree and demonstrates why he should be treasured as a music icon for all time.
More musical magnificence to come next week!