SOME ACTS are beyond rehabilitation.

There's much to forgive Phil Collins for--too much. First, there's his lack of hair. Then there's his atrocious reworking of '60s soul numbers during the '80s that single-handedly (and wrongly) turned a whole nation against a musical genre. There was his recent contribution to Disney's Tarzan soundtrack, an otherwise rather good film. And let's not forget the fact it's not possible to hold an Awards Ceremony without his gurning slap-headed countenance showing up either. Or Phil's contribution to the rise and rise of Peter Gabriel but that's a whole different chapter in crimes against humanity. I also find it difficult to forgive Phil for influencing the vocal style of overblown stalwarts of conformity such as Michael Stipe and Eddie Vedder too. Without doubt though, Phil's most heinous contravention of every known human boundary of taste, soul, and basic decency comes in the shape of those tedious ex-Public Schoolboys, Genesis.

Now, you could make an argument in favor of Genesis' ambitious 1974 double album The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway if you so chose--I don't see why, but you could. Perhaps you might want to praise its rampant egotism, the way it clearly viewed rock music as a forum far "above" the simple three-minute pop song, one on par with Shakespeare and Aldous Huxley.

Perhaps you'd think Gabriel was merely being theatrical, not pompous--perhaps you love pomp. I don't give a fuck. It's your bed and you're welcome to lie in it.

Though that was before Collins took over the group and turned them into the horrific pop-prog hybrid with a whining, nasal voice that most people are familiar with today. The rot started in late 1976 with Trick of the Tail and continued right through to 1991's absolutely horrendous We Can't Dance, when Collins finally had the decency to leave and kill hims look, we can all dream, can't we? It's hard to know which is more objectionable: the lurid, squiggly, indulgent synthesizer noodling of "Inside And Out" or the sight of three grown men pretending they're 15 and mugging it up for MTV's cameras on "I Can't Dance". I'm sorry, I can't write any more. This CD set numbers three, features live tracks and 12" versions, and doubtless will go down very well at the parties of people who are spiritually incontinent as well as congenitally deaf. It makes my flesh crawl all over.

At least Yes was funny.