Genesis, “Home by the Sea / Second Home by the Sea” from Genesis (1983): One Track Mind

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Crunchy and limber, then spacey and a bit progressive — and with a spooky theme to boot — the extended “Home by the Sea / Second Home by the Sea” represents one of the last rickety bridges between Genesis’ two music-making periods: The prog explorers and the pop superstars.

With producer-of-the-moment Hugh Padgham on board, Genesis arrived on Oct. 3, 1983 with a prominent dollop of drum machines (“Mama”), a catchy Top 10-hit in “That’s All” and a radio-ready ballad in “Taking It All Too Hard.” Yet there were still glimmers of what had come before, and Genesis’ “Home by the Sea / Second Home by the Sea” (combined, they are more than 11 minutes long) is one of them.

That starts with the theme on “Home by the Sea / Second Home by the Sea,” which amounts to a ghost story: New tenants — or, perhaps burglars? — enter a seaside dwelling, only to be greeted by spirits from beyond. These ghosts have stories to relate, many of them. In the telling, however, the visitors become entrapped inside the haunted house, as well.

Genesis’ Tony Banks, who composed the lyrics, is particularly effective during the extended instrumental passage that links the two tracks. Phil Collins had, by then, also developed into a singer of newfound range (angrily imploring his new visitors to “sit down, sit down … sit down!”) but, more importantly, “Home by the Sea / Second Home by the Sea” retains a distinctive musical character that rounds out the narrative — very in keeping with the Genesis era then drawing to a close.

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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