Musical addiction du jour – “Evidence of Autumn”

Genesis - "Evidence of Autumn"It doesn’t happen as often as it used to, but on occasion I find myself fixated on one particular song or album. And thanks to my iPod, I can nourish this addiction anywhere. At home, in the car, in a job interview…the possibilities are endless! My current addiction is “Evidence of Autumn,” from the Genesis box set Genesis Archive #2 1976-1992. I’ll be honest – I passed over this set when it came out in 2000, feeling that it couldn’t possibly compare to the superb first Archive, which covered the band’s Peter Gabriel era. But thanks to my Rhapsody subscription, I recently downloaded the whole magilla.

“Evidence of Autumn” first appeared on 1982’s Three Sides Live, although the remastered version (the one I have) excluded it. It also appeared as the B-side (for those old enough to remember those) of “Misunderstanding” in the UK. I can only assume that it was left off the Duke album for a good reason, although I can’t imagine what it was. For my money it’s just as good as anything else on that album, which incidentally is probably my favorite Genesis release.

The only argument for leaving the song off Duke would be that it is a little too similar to the equally subdued and melancholy “Heathaze,” although the upbeat interlude puts me more in mind of “One for the Vine.” In any case, “Evidence” to me embodies what was so great about Genesis (Duke in particular) during that brief period – it’s a satisfying mix of intelligent songwriting coupled with a great melodic sense. Not as experimental as the Gabriel/Hackett era, but not as schmaltzy as what was to come later in the ’80s.

The song also typifies one of my favorite eras of Tony Banks’s songwriting; where he penned songs expressing a strong sense of longing and wistfulness. “Cul-de-sac” and the aforementioned “Heathaze” from Duke are great examples of this style, as are “Burning Rope” and “Many Too Many” from …And Then There Were Three.

I hesitate to check iTunes to see what the play count for “Evidence of Autumn” is up to, but I’d wager it’s in double digits for the last few days, easily.

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