Phil Collins – Face Value with Hugh Padgham’s Big Drum Sound

More of the Music of Phil Collins

There may be some hope for Hello, I Must Be Going! (1982), but Phil’s third album, 1985’s No Jacket Required, sounds digital and ridiculously processed. I suppose not many albums from 1985 weren’t, but it’s still an unfortunate development for us audiophile types who might’ve wanted to enjoy these albums but are just not able to get past the bad sound.

Fortunately, the recording quality of this album is still analog and can be excellent, thanks to hugely talented engineer and producer Hugh Padgham (Peter Gabriel, Genesis, The Police, Yes, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, etc.). On this copy, the sound is nothing short of superb.

Check out Phil’s take on Tomorrow Never Knows for some heavily reverbed vocal effects, complete with a slew of backwards psychedelic sounds. If anybody can play the weirdly syncopated rhythms of TNK, it’s Phil Collins.

Whomp!

Until we heard some of the better copies we were never able to appreciate just how important bass definition and weight are to the sound of this record. When the bass is wooly or thin, as it is on so many copies — not clear, not deep, not full enough — it throws the rest of the mix off. When the bass is huge and powerful the music itself becomes huge and powerful.

The copies with the big bottom end are the only ones that really make you sit up and take notice.

Transparency Is Key

Phil’s lead and harmony vocals are both breathy and present on the best copies, with natural, not hyped-up, texture, and harmonics. This is especially important for the love songs.

The many ballads on the album — This Must Be Love and If Leaving Me Is Easy are two of our favorites — don’t work unless the sound is intimate and immediate.

Only the better pressings have the kind of high-resolution, full-bodied sound that allows both the rockers and the ballads to sound their best.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

In The Air Tonight
This Must Be Love
Behind The Lines
The Roof Is Leaking
Droned
Hand In Hand

Side Two

I Missed Again
You Know What I Mean
Thunder and Lightning
I’m Not Moving
If Leaving Me Is Easy
Tomorrow Never Knows
Over The Rainbow

AMG Review

Collins proves himself a passionate singer (and distinctive drummer) with a gift for both deeply felt ballads and snarling rockers. His debut album transformed him from the frontman of Genesis to a solo star who happened to be in Genesis, too. Contains “In the Air Tonight” and “I Missed Again.