The Universe and Me

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Taken down by the undertow

A couple weeks ago I watched a movie titled Undertow. It wasn’t very good, but my mind kept singing the phrase from the old Genesis song “In the Rapids” from the album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, one of the albums that influenced my young life the most. I’d planned to buy And Then There Were Three which had just been released but The Lamb was available for about the same price. Seeing as it was a double album, I figured it would be twice the music. Plus I’d never heard any of the songs on And Then There Were Three whereas I’d heard and loved the live version of “The Carpet Crawl.” While I grew to love the entire Lamb album, I also remember being sure I’d never buy another Genesis album. More fool me. A few years later I met some guy who absently started singing “Cuckoo Cocoon” and I couldn’t believe anyone else knew of such an obscure and unusual song.

Fast forward to college and trying to ease my roommate into the Gabriel era of Genesis. And a boyfriend trying to work out the opening piano part which is impossible to play unless your last name is Banks. Trying to avoid the word “anyway” because same boyfriend would have to quote the next line from the song. Writing a parody of the title track called The Cat Lies Down on Park Drive with my roommate one night in the snack shop. (I wrote all but three words which inexplicably eluded me.) If I can find it, I’ll post it. Reading Keats’s “Lamia” epic poem which is even more frightening than the song. People on the Internet seem confused as to this concept album’s concept. I’m not sure why. Or why I’m not. Maybe because I’m well-read? For the muddled, there exists an Annotated Lamb. I read through it but only learned a few things:

  • Peter didn’t write the lyrics to “The Light Dies Down.” Tony and Mike did which is obvious if you compare the styles. The song is much more poetical, nicely flowing than the rest of the songs which are more choppy, short clever phrases.
  • When performed live they used three backdrop screens showing a thousand slides of the story.
  • Rael backwards is Lear. Oh, I really should have caught that as King Lear is my favourite Shakespearean play and one I’ve read too many times.
  • Sonny Bono co-wrote the Searchers song “Needles and Pins.”
  • While in prison, Caryl Chessman learned four languages. He did not get to use them, though.
  • Eggs are mentioned on three consecutive Genesis albums. First in “Supper’s Ready” and then “Aisle of Plenty” which goes on to answer the question of what was ready for supper. There’s speculation that the answer of scrambled eggs is a nod to the Beatles song “Yesterday.” The last egg reference is of course in the song “It.”


  • At 11:29 AM, June 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sweden's prog band the Flower Kings did a cover of the Lamb's title track. Have not heard it.


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