Editor’s Note: The Albumism staff has selected what we believe to be 50 fantastic first solo albums recorded by artists who departed—or simply took a temporary hiatus from—their respective groups, representing a varied cross-section of genres, styles and time periods. Click “Next Album” below to explore each album or view the full album index here.
Phil Collins | Face Value
Selected by Andy Healy
While it may be fashionable music snobbery to hate on Phil Collins, those who are quick to tar and feather him for his S…sss…sussudio sins are forgetting the brilliance of his debut, Face Value.
From the sparse and brooding opener “In The Air Tonight” with its urban legend-making lyrics and drum break beloved by air drummers everywhere, to the trippy reworking of The Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows” the album is a musical journey of experimentation and reflection. With nods to the grooves of Motown in “I Missed Again” and the Jackson-esque funk of “Behind The Lines” (a reworking of an earlier Genesis track) to the folk bluesy twang of “The Roof Is Leaking,” the album branches out into so many musical styles yet still retains a singular voice and focus.
The midpoint coupling of “Droned” and “Hand In Hand” is prog rock mastery mixed with tribal chants and choral tones and an unmissable eight minutes of sonic mood. Unashamed to wear his influences on his sleeve, Collins draws from R&B and tight funk grooves for “Thunder and Lightning,” “This Must Be Love” and “I’m Not Moving.” And in what would become classic Collins, there’s also strong ballads in the heartbreaking “You Know What I Mean,” and the somber and atmospheric “If Leaving Me Is Easy.”
Say what you will about other Collins’ releases but I’ll defend Face Value ‘til my dying breath, and it may even absolve him for his future sins…or at least give him fewer Hail Marys to say.