Track By Track: Genesis: Invisible Touch

Genesis' Invisible Touch turns 35 this year. I first came across this album in high school as I was a big Phil Collins fan, and was always eager to seek out more of his material. A lot of people have given Collins' era of Genesis grief, but I'm not one of them. The album provided me with songs ranging from danceable to thought-provoking, and on the occasion of the album's 35th anniversary, I would like to do a Track-By-Track analysis of why I love Invisible Touch so much.

We start off the album with the title track.

Genesis were masters of creating catchy songs with unnerving lyrics, and this song is a sterling example of that skill. The song has a bounce to it, and some interesting gear shifts, but when you listen to the lyrics, you hear a song about a codependent relationship with a woman who messes around with the protagonist, yet he can't help falling in love with her. They say love can make you crazy, but this song asks who's crazier: The woman for manipulating the man, or the man for thinking with his johnson and not considering whether the relationship is a good idea or not?

Based on the lyrics, I'd have to say the protagonist is crazier for entering the relationship. Nothing good comes from codependency. Whether it's a romantic relationship or a familial relationship, once codependency enters the picture, things go downhill faster than a Winter Olympian with grease on their skis. You think things are going well, but the truth is you need to find a way to get out. It could put your life in danger if you don't.

The second track on Invisible Touch is Tonight, Tonight, Tonight, and this is a track I find very interesting.

To my ears, the song is about an addict jonesing for a fix and, at the same time, desperate to escape the hold his addiction has on him. With the references to monkeys, heroin could be the drug in question, but the applicability of this song could apply to any addiction from drugs to sex to spending. Even something more benign could become a danger to you if you seek out too much of it. We've all had to deal with habits we've tried to break before they broke us. Speaking for myself, the addiction was self-loathing. I hated myself for decades, and only really have learned to love myself in the last decade or so.

Why do I bring up addiction in the context of Tonight, Tonight, Tonight? This song was famously used in 80s commercials for Michelob, and I find it interesting that a song about addiction, and trying to break that addiction, was being used to sell beer. I got a lot of mixed messages growing up. For example, the same police officers who taught us in our D.A.R.E classes that alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and hard drugs were all bad, and all the same in how they harmed you, would be drinking and smoking at picnics. It didn't make sense to me, just like it doesn't make sense that a song about addiction would be used to promote a substance you can get addicted to.

Side note: In my articles for the 80sxchange so far, I've often written about how bad my relationship with my mom was, and how I utilized the pop culture of the 80s as a way to escape my problem with her. My mother was an alcoholic, which perhaps explains some of her more abusive behavior towards me. I wish she could've broken her addiction, but she was a person who would be in AA meetings one day and drinking at a cousin's wedding the next. Considering she was an alcoholic, I'm surprised I'm not more screwed up than I am. I often wonder if she drank because she had me for a son. Her friends say that she didn't, but many of these same friends of hers' have also tried to gaslight me into thinking that what I went through at her hands wasn't abuse. Very confusing.

Speaking of which, we now come to Invisible Touch's third track, and one of the album's biggest hits, Land Of Confusion.

Everybody remembers the music video and its' memorable usage of the Spitting Image puppets, but as a writer, it always comes back to the lyrics for me. When I used the term "thought-provoking" at the beginning of this article, this song was what came to mind. Land Of Confusion is a classic protest song about the impact of the politics of the 80s, but a lot of these problems are still with us. The protagonist promised his generation "would put it right", but in that generation, there's been a tug of war between those who want to "put it right" and those who want to move back.

We're still dealing with c