Second Spin: Phil Collins, No Jacket Required

Categories: Second Spin

Artist: Phil Collins

Album: No Jacket Required

From: Vintage Vinyl

Year: 1985

Label: Atlantic Records

What it sounds like: The 80's Dance Pop Special: A smooth synthesizer groove, with an order of keyboards, drum machines, and horns on the side.

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Best Track: "Sussudio." Even though this song isn't on the Flashdance soundtrack, it makes me want to put on some goofy legwarmers and kick out an aerobics routine. Where the vast majority of artists from this era try out the synthesizer/keybord/horn section soup and fail miserably, Collins seems to have the recipe down to a science.

I've always wondered though, what the hell kind of a word is sussudio? The song is clearly about a boyhood crush, but Sussudio isn't the name of his girl. He just implores us to "say the word" and stutters out some catchy gibberish.

According to Song Facts, it really is just a made up word. Collins told VH1 in 1997: "I set up this drum-machine pad, and I got some chords, and I started to sing into the microphone, and this word came out, which was "sus-sussudio."

Also, Collins has admitted it sounds just like the Prince song "1999."

Worst Track: "One More Night." The album's introspective slow jam wallows in self-pity. It's all about a guy who's too afraid to tell the girl he's after that he's after her, so he always wants "one more night" to get the job done.

Check the lyrics: "I've been sitting here so long/wasting time, just staring at the phone/and I was wondering, should I should call you?"

There's also this gem: "Like a river to the sea/I will always be with you/and if you sail away/I will follow you."

It's minimalist, as far as the '80s go, relying mostly on a shaker, a crisp drum machine and echoing keyboards. It ends with a saxophone solo so smooth that I can't believe it's not butter.

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Who you can thank for the amazing cover art: Phil Collins designed it himself (apparently he wanted to look all creepy and sweaty) with photography by George Ashworth.

The Facts: Philip David Charles Collins got his start as a child actor and singer, appearing as the Artful Dodger in the London production of Oliver! In 1964. He also had a cameo in the Beatles' flick, A Hard Day's Night, as well as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

He'd had a number of musical projects under his belt, including the unfortunately named art rock group Flaming Youth, when Genesis came looking for a replacement drummer. When original front man Peter Gabriel quit the band in 1975, they auditioned 400 singers before settling on Colllins. 

He went solo in 1981 and had a hit with "In the Air Tonight." Today, he has record sales of over 150 million as a solo artist and is the only singer to sell 100 million records as a solo artist and another 100 million with a band.

No Jacket Required is his most successful album, producing three number one songs and a Grammy for album of the year.  It features backup vocals from Sting and Peter Gabriel.

He returned to acting later, starring in Frauds in 1993, and getting a cameo in Hook. His Wikipedia page says he was going to play the bad guy in Speed until Dennis Hopper was cast in the role.

Info from: All Music, and the Official Phil Collins site.



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