Let’s settle the “Who was the better member of Genesis” argument right now. If I were an attorney (I’m not), I feel like this would be a pretty easy case to win in court. The main hurdle to overcome would be Phil Collins’ immense and inexplicable popularity in the 1980s. However, I submit to the jury not only was Peter Gabriel arguably as popular as Phil Collins in the 1980s, he also produced better music videos and much better music. The classic joke “Where did Phil Collins produce ‘Susudio’? In the stu-studio” notwithstanding, Peter Gabriel’s body of solo work makes Phil Collins’s look like a pile of crap (which, to be fair, it is). Exhibit A would be the song “Easy Lover,” in which Phil Collins enlisted former Earth, Wind and Fire lead vocalist Philip Bailey to share singing duties with him. Bailey, realizing that Gary Numan had already kicked off the slow, steady process that would ruin the funk of the 1970s, consented to this duet and Phil Collins hammered the final nail into funk’s coffin. Say what you want about Phil Collins, but the fact remains that he killed funk. And also, there’s no question that Gabriel’s body of Genesis work is superior. Which would you rather have: Invisible Touch or Selling England by the Pound?
Furthermore, I’d like to enter “Kiss of Life” as Defense Exhibit Bravo. The song is from Gabriel’s fourth solo album, and the first one wasn’t eponymous. Presumably, Peter Gabriel is either extremely uncreative only when it comes to naming his albums or he really, really likes his name. He did pave the way for other artists, like Seal, to be similarly uncreative. That aside, this song (and really all of the songs on this album) hold on Gabriel’s steady rise toward musical genius, one that would pay off with his most popular, but arguably worst solo effort.