Just a Job to Do
Today we’re listening to “Just a Job to Do” by Genesis
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On this day in 1975, Peter Gabriel announced he was leaving Genesis to go solo. The band spent the next 18 months auditioning over 400 possible replacements before realizing the answer had been there all along. Drummer Phil Collins would do double duty and take over vocals as well.
In music circles, the debate about whether Phil Collins finally started to sound like Genesis or whether they started to sound like him is one that never ends. There are of course several records in between Gabriel’s departure and this one (including solo work by Mike Rutherford, Tony Banks and Collins. That said, in my opinion the starting point for that discussion is 1983’s self-titled record.
Either way, this record (their 12th!) marks the sharp turn away from prog and toward pop. After producing 1981’s Abacab, Hugh Padgham was again on the boards, shepherding them through the transition. Even the LP’s title speaks to the new beginning; its also the first time that a complete set of tracks were composed by all three band members.
The record spawned five singles, but today we’re looking at one that didn’t make that cut: “Just A Job To Do”
Love him or hate him, Collins’ superpower has lied in both the immediacy of his vocals and his ability to make a really complex song sound very simple. If you just put this on while doing something else (or listen in the car), it feels like a bazillion other rock songs, let alone a bunch of other Genesis tracks or even Collins’ solo work.
Listen closely, though, and you’ll hear multiple layers of sound happening. It’s everything, all at once. What at first blush sounds like a guitar riff is actually a synthesizer, while the guitar itself is off doing its own thing. Same with the drum beat.
And the lyrics? The song’s lasting legacy might be the debate about them. The easy answer is that it’s sung from the POV of a hitman, but other theories-including England’s involvement in The Falkland Islands war- have been hashed out as well.
IMO, the hallmark of a good song is that it makes you stop and pay attention. “Just A Job to do” does the job and does it well.
What do you think?
“Just a Job to Do” by Genesis | Genesis, 1983
Click the record to listen on the platform of your choice.
As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this track!
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