Tabletop Genesis Episode 15 – “We Can’t Dance”

we can't dance“Like the story that we wish was never ending, we know sometime we must reach that final page …” Phil Collins’ last studio album with Genesis, 1991’s “We Can’t Dance,” is discussed by the members of the Tabletop, as they try to keep a jovial mood amid such topics as abusive fathers, shady TV preachers, the hazards of railway construction, and worst of all – the inability to dance.

11 thoughts on “Tabletop Genesis Episode 15 – “We Can’t Dance”

  • August 15, 2016 at 5:15 pm
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    Glad I’m not the only one who thinks “Never a Time” is “Throwing It All Away” redux.

    For being one of the band’s lesser albums for me, it sure has some great memories.

    I am reminded of my 21st birthday wherein I took some lysergic acid diethylamide. Just before dawn I tried to go to sleep listening to “Driving the Last Spike” on The Longs. It sounded so slow – like the band were bogged down in mud. I cannot listen to that song without thinking about that day.

    Also, seeing the band on this tour was a reunion of sorts as it was the first time I’d seen a friend of mine in a while. I got him into Genesis back in ’85 and we became superfans together. My family eventually moved and our friendship faded so it was a real treat to have him come to the new town I called home for a Genesis show.

    I voted for “Living Forever” in the poll. I love the (drum machine) brushes and the harmony vocals too. And the guitar bit which sort of collapses in on itself – like “Black Dog” by Led Zeppelin.

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    • Tabletop Genesis
      August 16, 2016 at 9:44 am
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      Great memories – thanks for sharing! Maybe I should try listening to “I Can’t Dance” after taking lysergic acid diethylamide – perhaps I’ll finally enjoy it! 😉 – Tom

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  • August 18, 2016 at 12:57 pm
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    Interesting comment you all made about the song “Fading Lights” being Genesis saying a kind of goodbye. This was what I thought when I heard the closing track from Tony Banks’ album “Still”, which is called “The Final Curtain”. It sounds just like a statement from someone who has been a massive celebrity, and knows deep down that their time in the spotlight is basically over. Accepting the situation with a certain fatalism, but defiantly proud of what they have achieved.

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  • August 18, 2016 at 8:08 pm
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    On the recent We Can’t Dance podcast, I think I heard Simon mention that Fading Lights is one of his three favorite Genesis songs. I was curious. . . what are the other two?

    Compliments to the whole Tabletop crew on another fun, fascinating, insightful podcast! Thank you all very much!

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    • Tabletop Genesis
      August 23, 2016 at 9:25 am
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      Hi Brian – Thanks for listening! Simon’s other favorite songs: one is mentioned in the upcoming Duke podcast (should be out in the next couple months), and the other is from an album for which we haven’t recorded an episode yet, so even *I* don’t know it. :-O – Tom

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  • August 23, 2016 at 7:08 am
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    Thanx for interesting and entertaining podcasts!
    Regarding We can’t dance I’ve always thought of the album as a bit lazy. I feel the arrangements and performances sounds uninspired. Some of the songs are good, but I really miss some energy and well played instrumental parts. The album could easily been cut down 15-20 minutes as well.

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  • August 23, 2016 at 9:41 pm
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    …love you guys!…

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  • August 27, 2016 at 7:24 am
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    LOVED the “We Can’t Dance” podcast. Your team always bring interesting insights and I always look forward to your next release, but this one had especially fresh and intriguing points from all 5. Gave me a renewed drive to listen to and enjoy the album more than I ever had (I admittedly had written this album off as half-baked and tired). Tom’s recollection about his dad’s passing during the time this was released really hit home with me. Stacy’s analysis of how she would reorganize this album v. B-sides was spot on (I’m so glad she’s made her comments more PG that I can listen to the podcast with family – Thanks). Eli’s fresh perspective from her Argentinian upbringing always lifts me up in the best ways. Please keep up the great work, team.

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  • September 5, 2016 at 2:55 pm
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    Hey guys, I recently (literally a couple of days ago) discovered your podcast and I’m enjoying immensely! I’m a young-ish Genesis fan and I think that’s in great part due to the fact that Genesis, Phil and Peter’s solo careers were part of the soundtrack of my childhood. My parents were big Phil fans so a lot of his songs have a very special place in my heart, reminding me instantly of my early childhood.
    WCD was released (almost) 3 years after I was born, and though my parents didn’t buy it, I distinctly remember three songs being played on radio and on TV: No Son of Mine, Hold on My Heart and I Can’t Dance. While my opinion of the latter has certainly diminshed with time (it’s a borderline novelty song for me, and I liked the “dance” itself… but i was 3 years old! I didn’t know better!) I still love the other two. It may be nostalgia talking or not, but I can’t hate them. Funnily enough, back then I vaguely knew (my parents told me) that Phil solo was different than Genesis, but I really couldn’t tell the difference, LOL. Thankfully when I was entering adolescence I re-discovered the band and found out about early Genesis on my own, and was (hilarious in hindsight) shocked that both Peter and Phil had been part of it. Two of my childhood musical heroes in one band! Incredible!

    Keep up the good work, can’t wait for the next one! A big salute to Mike, Simon, Stacy, Tom y un gran saludo para Eli de parte de otro hispanoparlante latinoamericano (I’m Chilean)

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  • March 21, 2017 at 4:59 pm
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    Interesting episode as usual. I’m still playing catch up with the podcasts so apologies for the late response.
    I got into Genesis just after Selling England was released. The last new album I bought was Duke as after that they became a different entity and I went to classical music.
    Since then I’ve not listened to any of the albums in their entirety though I have the We Can’t Dance live albums so have the best of the rest as it were, also the Turn it on again compilation.
    Fading Lights is a throwback to them at their best. It took me back to the days of Duke, truly awesome, I’m going to buy this album just to have that song.. Also Driving the last spike, a true epic. No son of mine is a great piece of music though a confusing lyric with no resolution. The mawkish Hold on my heart should never have got near to a Genesis album, it is Phil at his heart on his sleeve, gag fest worst. I, as usual agree with Simon, an EP would have been a better idea.

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  • October 21, 2017 at 1:24 pm
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    I recently discovered your podcast, and have been listening to none of my other podcasts ever since (which is creating quite a backlog, thank you very much!) I find myself experiencing a range of emotions during each cast, from satisfied agreement (somebody else totally gets this stuff!) to total bewilderment (how can you not dig “Whodunnit”?) Thanks for all your great work.

    Having said that, I did want to chime in on one “We Can’t Dance” song in particular. (Honestly, I’ve wanted to chime in on every song…) “Hold On My Heart” was the first dance at my wedding, and, since I DJ’ed my wedding (I’ve owned a DJ company for nearly 30 years now – DJing your own wedding isn’t as weird as it sounds) choosing the first dance was mostly my call. I went on my first date with my eventual wife on November 11, 1991, the day before “We Can’t Dance” was released here in the U.S. (despite what Wikipedia claims). I was anticipating that date with her almost as much as I was anticipating the album, having already heard a couple of songs via the Cassingle! “Hold On My Heart” has a lyric that has a double meaning for me… on the one hand, it could simply mean “she has a hold on my heart”, which is certainly a romantic concept. I also felt that it was sung from the perspective of “hey, hold on… don’t enter into a relationship too quickly,” as if to say “hey… hold on… my heart.” Both were appropriate in my case, for it was my wife’s second marriage, and my previous relationship had lasted a couple of years. We were both cautious as we progressed towards taking that big step, but for me, she certainly had a hold on my heart, so getting married was inevitable. Unfortunately, we divorced 20+ years later, but the song is still part of my life, even if she isn’t. (I should have known the band would last longer for me!)

    Again, thanks for entertaining me the last few weeks!

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