Phil Collins recently announced that he’s planning a big comeback and, as you may have heard, not everyone is excited about this. Yes, more than 3,000 people signed a petition in the hopes of making Phil Collins go away forever. Apparently the thought of the guy who sang “Sussudio” going on tour or recording a new album just makes their skin crawl.
Hey look, I get it. Phil Collins has never been cool. Before “Macklemore” was the go-to punchline when you needed to evoke a lame musician, it was “Phil Collins.” That’s how it’s been for years, and I don’t expect it to change now. But I’ve always been bothered by the paint-by-numbers Phil bashing. It just seems way too easy, and it seems to reflect an ignorance of the work he’s actually made. If the only things you know Phil Collins for are “Sussudio,” “A Groovy Kind Of Love,” and the Tarzan soundtrack, of course you’re going to think he’s a huge dork. But there’s so much more than meets the eye!
The version of Phil Collins that people talk about when it comes to hating him showed up in 1985, when he released his third solo album, No Jacket Required. Before that point, Phil’s work, both solo and with Genesis, had a decidedly arty edge, as we saw on moody solo tracks like “In the Air Tonight” and “I Don’t Care Anymore,” along with Genesis classics like “Turn It On Again” and “Abacab.” But No Jacket Required went for an unabashedly pop sound. The result was a massive smash album, as “Sussudio,” “One More Night,” and “Take Me Home” dominated airwaves. Now, on a personal note, I actually like a lot of these songs, but I can understand why they’re not for everyone; Phil had abandoned every aspect of his prog-rock past, and was making some of the schmaltziest music around. Personally, I’m not above downing a glass of red wine and having a good cry to “Against All Odds,” but that’s not for everyone, and I can’t blame you if you want to roll your eyes at this particular incarnation of Phil.