I make no bones about it, that Phil Collins is one of my favorite artists of all time. Does he have a voice that will knock you over? Nope, but there's something about that raspy, smoky voice that can push a pop hit over the top. He has almost a "blue collar" type of singing style, that hides his genius of being able to play so many different types of instruments, and compose incredible music. Lately, his wimpy songs for kids have disappointed me a bit, but thankfully his classics from the 80's just don't get old. His CD "The Hits" is a above average one, and I recommend it for driving, since it at least allows you to enjoy that never ending commute.
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The best song on this CD is "Easy Lover." Here Collins teams up with Philip Bailey. This song is the quintessential 80's song, and its a real "jammer" with excellent guitars, fantastic percussion, and vocals that just knock your socks off. Bailey should have made a CD with Collins, because it would have been a hit. This song is all about how a woman can just tear your heart out, without you feeling it, and I've been in that situation before. Crank this one up at high volume, and see how quick that accelerator pedal gets thrown to the floor. It's a catchy tune that you'll play over and over again.
I also love Sussudio. I have no idea what this song is about, and have listened to it multiple times, but whatever message it delivers is lost in the music. There are so many different lyrics thrown into the mix, that it just doesn't give you a direct answer, but I just can't get enough of it. Collins really showcases his high notes on this track, and the percussion, guitaring, and especially the instrumentals with the saxaphone are worthy of an award. This is another "toe tapper", and a fine reminder of why the 80's were the best decade of music ever.
Yet Collins can also turn on the "mellow" as well. "I Wish It Would Rain Now" is a fine example of this. If you are in the mood to listen to a slightly gloomy song, this is a great choice. The vocals are powerful, yet at the same time subtle, allowing the musical notes to really reach your heart. To me this song represents the battle through life, and how to deal with the most painful experiences you'll ever have to face. There's a bit of resillience to the lyrics, but at the same time it almost has a way of making you understand pain does indeed have a purpose. Brilliant, and not liked but all, but I do happen to like this one when in a bit of a down mood.
One More Night is almost a lullaby. In fact, I'm convinced this song can lower your blood pressure. A lot of easy listening radio stations play it, and for good reason, as there's just nothing really heavy about it. Its just a beautiful song, that's well written and sung by Collins. Here he gets to showcase that raspy, smoky blue collar voice with music that sounds high class, and I like that mixture a lot. Its a bit of a long track, and mostly fine for when you are relaxing at home, with a glass of wine along with a light dinner.
In the Air Tonight is a classic in every sense of the word. There have been a lot of false rumors that this song was about Collin's younger brother being murdered. Totally inaccurate, but rather its about the pain he's dealt with in his life. That extra sense that you have when your gut tells you "something's up", is what it is all about. I'll never forget seeing David Copperfield's magic show with this track, as its perfect for illusions, and the song does have a haunting, almost menacing tone to it. The drum work in here is among the best I've ever heard, and it can jar you from being sleepy to full awake during its main sequence.
Some may say its cheesy, but I like Dance Into the Night. It's a bit of a 80's candy pop type of song, but its positive uptempo notes and lyrics are fine when you've got a case of the "blues." Yet what I really love for getting in the mood to seize the day is "Against All Odds". The lyrics of "Take a look at me Now", remind me of those who said I'd never be successful. With this vengeance and message of "never giving up," you can think about your life and look back with a laugh. The guidance counselor who told me that I'd be in jail, well its great working on the other side of the criminal justice system, with a college degree. Yes, there's a bit of bitterness that all of us can understand, and Against All Odds is a song of human triumph over rough edges.
There are a few misses. I'm not a huge fan of "Another Day in Paradise." It has a strong message, but for some reason the beat is really annoying, and doesn't serve justice to its over preachy message. Same goes for "True Colors", which I find to be a real snoozer. Thankfully, the rest of the CD is "classic after classic", and its over 70 minutes in length. You'll have plenty of great songs to listen to on that road trip, or in the comfort of your house, and I just think Phil Collins should be commended for delivering so many fine performances on this CD.