|Studio album by Genesis|
|Released||6 June 1986|
|Recorded||October 1985–February 1986|
(Chiddingfold, Surrey, England)
|Singles from Invisible Touch|
Invisible Touch is the thirteenth studio album by the English rock band Genesis, released on 6 June 1986 by Atlantic Records in the United States and 9 June 1986 by Charisma and Virgin Records in the United Kingdom. After taking a break in group activity for each member to continue with their solo projects in 1984, the band reconvened in October 1985 to write and record Invisible Touch with engineer and producer Hugh Padgham. As with their previous album, it was written entirely through group improvisations and no material developed prior to recording was used.
Invisible Touch was a worldwide success and reached No. 1 on the UK Albums Chart and No. 3 on the US Billboard 200. It remains the band's highest selling album after it was certified multi-platinum for over 1.2 million copies sold in the UK and 6 million sold in the US. Genesis became the first band and foreign act to have five top five singles on the US Billboard Hot 100, with "Invisible Touch" being their first and only song to reach No. 1 on the charts. The album received mixed reviews upon its release and retrospectively, with several reviews, both positive and negative, observing its similarity to Collins's solo records and their commercial pop-oriented sound. In 2007, the album was re-released with new stereo and 5.1 surround sound mixes.
After wrapping up the Mama Tour in February 1984 to support their previous album Genesis, the band took a break in activity to allow each member to continue with their respective solo careers. Mike Rutherford formed his group Mike + The Mechanics, Tony Banks worked on his second album of soundtrack material titled Soundtracks, and Phil Collins released his third solo album No Jacket Required which achieved worldwide success and increased his popularity as a result. In a June 1985 interview, Collins spoke of the band's intention to start work on the next Genesis album that October. This put an end to a false announcement that aired on BBC Radio 1 suggesting the three had split. To Rutherford, the break in group activity had an effect on Genesis's musical style: "We had done so much work outside the band, it seemed we had gone through a lot more musical changes, although the development is largely unconscious".
The album was written, recorded, and mixed at The Farm, the band's recording studio in Chiddingfold, Surrey. They were joined by audio engineer and co-producer Hugh Padgham, who had worked with the band on their previous two albums. Banks recalled they entered the studio with a sense of confidence. Having worked in the facility since 1981, the studio was upgraded in 1985 that was supervised by Sam Toyishima. As with their previous album Genesis (1983), the band approached the writing process with no previously written material, leaving them to write each track through group improvisational jams recorded onto tape. Collins compared such a songwriting process as "close to jazz". Banks reasoned such an approach for the album as he thought the group's best songs had been developed collectively. Collins spoke about the writing method: "You never quite know what's going to happen. It's just the three of us chopping away, fine-tuning and honing down all these ideas." When a section had been developed that felt particularly strong to the group, a discussion would take place to decide how it would be developed into a song, its length, and whether it should be an instrumental or have lyrics added to it. During the writing and recording process, Collins realised the band were coming up with material that Genesis had not done before "which is not easy after 15 albums", and thought the songs were stronger than those on Genesis. Banks agreed, thinking the short tracks on Invisible Touch were stronger than their last album. Collins later revealed that at no time did the band record their parts together as a playing unit, and he recorded the drum tracks after everything else had been put down. Recording was complete in February 1986.
"Invisible Touch" originated as the band were working on "The Last Domino", the second part of "Domino". During the session Rutherford began to play an improvised guitar riff with an added echo effect, to which Collins replied with the off-the-cuff lyric, "She seems to have an invisible touch, yeah". This led to Collins writing the lyrics to the song, with his improvised line becoming its chorus hook. He wrote the lyrics based around a person who gets under one's skin which he had "Known a few. You know they’re going to mess you up, but you can't resist". The song's musical structure then came to Collins' mind in its complete form. Rutherford expressed a desire for the band to explore different musical themes for the song, but later felt the lyric had "always felt so comfortable" to him and saw no reason not to. Collins rates the track highly and picked it as his favourite Genesis song. He added: "It's a great pop song. It encapsulated the whole record and it pushed Genesis into a bit of an R&B area, a little like a Prince thing", and also compared his drumming on the track to American singer Sheila E, of whom he is a fan.
The basis for "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight" came about from Banks, who spent some time improvising with different sounds from his keyboards over a rhythm Collins and Rutherford were playing. Similar to that of "Invisible Touch", Collins then came out with the word "monkey" and explored it vocally which led to the song's working title to be "Monkey/Zulu". The rest of the songs' lyrics were then written around the word. Rutherford thought the track resembled the "old-style Genesis" as it covers more ground musically with a "fairly involved" instrumental section in the middle. Banks agreed with Rutherford's view on the song, pointing out its comparison in terms of its complexity.
The lyrics to "Land of Confusion" were written by Rutherford. He was struck with the flu when it was time for Collins to record the song's vocals. He recalled Collins "came over to my house ... he sat on my bed like a secretary ... I was in a kind of delirious state with a very high temperature and I dictated it to him and I remember thinking, 'I think I told him the right thing ... Was it all rubbish or was it any good?'".
"Domino" is a track split into two sections—"In the Glow of the Night" and "The Last Domino". Rutherford thinks "Domino" is "one of the best things" the band has done.
"Throwing It All Away" was a heavy guitar song in its original form, with Collins "drumming in a John Bonham style". However, as the chorus developed, its mood changed to that of a softer one "matched by the single love-song lyric".
Three additional songs—"Feeding the Fire", "I'd Rather Be You", and "Do the Neurotic"—were recorded during the album's sessions but were cut from the album's final track selection. They were subsequently released as B-sides across the five singles released from the album. The tracks were included in the 2007 box set Genesis 1983–1998.
Invisible Touch was first released on 6 June 1986 in the US by Atlantic Records; its release in the United Kingdom followed on 9 June 1986 by Charisma and Virgin Records. The album reached number one on the UK Albums Chart for three weeks from 21 June 1986 during a 96-week stay on the chart, and peaked at No. 3 on the US Billboard 200 during an 85-week stay.
Genesis released five singles from Invisible Touch from 1986 to 1987—"Invisible Touch", "Throwing It All Away", "Land of Confusion", "In Too Deep", and "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight". Each one reached the top five on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, making Genesis the first group and foreign act to achieve this feat, equalling the five singles record set by Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, and Madonna.
In 1987, Invisible Touch received an American Music Award nomination for Favorite Pop/Rock Band, Duo, or Group. At the 1987 Brit Awards co-producer Hugh Padgham was nominated for Best British Producer, while Phil Collins was nominated for British Male Artist for his contribution to the album. "The Brazilian" received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Instrumental Performance. The music video for "Land of Confusion", featuring the Spitting Image puppets, was nominated for MTV's Video of the Year Award, but lost to their former lead vocalist Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer".
|Los Angeles Times||(unfavourable)|
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
The album received a mixed reaction from music critics upon release. J. D. Considine gave it a positive review for Rolling Stone, stating that "every tune is carefully pruned so that each flourish delivers not an instrumental epiphany but a solid hook. Much of the credit for this belongs to Tony Banks, whose synth style has never seemed more appropriate; it's his keyboards that set the mood for "In the Glow of the Night" and maintain the tension in "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight"." Daniel Brogan of the Chicago Tribune was not as impressed, claiming the album had "none of the inventiveness, illumination or power" of former Genesis singer Peter Gabriel's album So, released in the same month. He thought the contributions from Rutherford and Banks "seem far less apparent than usual", and that the first side of the album "could almost pass as outtakes from No Jacket Required". He concluded: "Will the Free World ever tire of Phil Collins?" Several of Brogan's criticisms were mirrored in a review from Steve Hochman of the Los Angeles Times. Hochman asked "Was this record really necessary?" and stated the album "could easily pass as a Collins album. His thin voice and familiar MOR&B songwriting dominate, with only occasional evidence of input from Rutherford and Banks". He also suggested the record "was made to provide material for the next season of Miami Vice". Associated Press writer Larry Kilman disagreed, who opened his review with "Genesis have come up with an irresistible Invisible Touch ... This is far from a Collins solo effort. The band's material is more complex than Collins' pop sound". He complimented the album's "great variety", picking out "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight" as a highlight which reminded him of "the spare, art-rock sound of the early Genesis".
In a retrospective review from Stephen Thomas Erlewine for AllMusic, the album received three stars out of five. He commented that "Invisible Touch was seen at the time as a bit of a Phil Collins solo album disguised as a Genesis album ... Genesis' poppiest album, a sleek, streamlined affair built on electronic percussion and dressed in synths" and he claimed "the heavy emphasis on pop tunes does serve the singer, not the band". However, he said that "[the] songs had big hooks that excused their coldness, and the arty moments sank to the bottom". Mark Putterford of Kerrang! remarked on how the album showed "new ideas, new sounds, but still very definitely Genesis". The Rough Guide to Rock describes Invisible Touch as "calculated and oddly emotionless AOR" and stated the hits were "by now barely distinguishable from Collins' songs as a solo artist". In 2014, Stevie Chick, writing for The Guardian, said the album's "bright, polished pop title track, the baby boomer agit-rock of 'Land of Confusion', the genuinely affecting ballad 'Throwing It All Away' – could have easily fitted on his [Collins's] solo albums". Chick reserved particular praise for 'Domino', saying the track "proved a final gasp of brilliance before the blandness of 1991's We Can't Dance and 1997's inexplicable, Collins-less Calling All Stations".
Genesis supported Invisible Touch with a 112-date world tour that ran from September 1986 to July 1987 with their usual touring musicians, drummer Chester Thompson and guitarist Daryl Stuermer. The tour concluded with a record four sold-out shows at London's Wembley Stadium. The live concert video Live at Wembley Stadium released on VHS in 1988 and on DVD in 2003.
|2.||"Tonight, Tonight, Tonight"||8:49|
|3.||"Land of Confusion"||4:45|
|4.||"In Too Deep"||4:59|
|1.||"Anything She Does"||4:06|
|3.||"Throwing It All Away"||3:51[a]|
Credits are adapted from the album's sleeve notes.
- Tony Banks – keyboards, synth bass
- Phil Collins – drums, lead vocals, percussion, drum machine
- Mike Rutherford – guitars, bass guitar
- Hugh Padgham – producer, engineer
- Paul Gommersall – assistant engineer
- Bob Ludwig – mastering
- Geoff Callingham – technician
- Baker Dave – sleeve production
- John Swannell – photography
|Hong Kong (IFPI Hong Kong)||Gold||7,500*|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||4× Platinum||1,200,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||6× Platinum||6,000,000^|
*sales figures based on certification alone
Notes and references
- The original album sleeve lists "Throwing It All Away" with an incorrect running time of 4:41.
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- Hinkley, David (30 June 1985). "Rock's Little Drummer Boy Goes Pop". New York Daily News Magazine. p. 6.
- Bowler & Dray 1992, p. 198.
- Kaus, Bob (2 June 1986). "Genesis: Invisible Touch Press Kit". Atlantic Records. pp. 2–3. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
- Invisible Touch (Media notes). Charisma Records. 1986. GEN CD2.
- Genesis 2007, p. 282.
- Tingen, Paul (July 1992). "Genesis: At home in the studio". Recording Musician. pp. 38–40, 42. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
- Barnett, Laura (14 October 2014). "Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford: How we made Invisible Touch". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
- "Phil Collins Interviews - Hitmen - 1986 Part Two". Hitmen. 1986. Archived from the original on 1 August 2008.
- Bowler & Dray 1992, p. 202.
- Bowler & Dray 1992, p. 203.
- Bowler & Dray 1992, p. 205.
- Bowler & Dray 1992, p. 204.
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- Putterford, Mark (26 June 1986). "Genesis 'Invisible Touch'". Kerrang!. 123. London, UK: United Magazines ltd. pp. 14–15.
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- Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
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- Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
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