Artist – Genesis
Album – Invisible Touch
Year – 1986
Genre – Progressive Rock
– Listen from 4:26 to the end for part 2
Continuing right on from Part 1 of “Domino,” which looked at the domino effect on an interpersonal level, part 2 is a look at the domino effect of governments and war and how they affect the lives of the ordinary people that live under them. It’s a poignant look at suffering caused by decisions by people and events that we often have no control over, and many times how often we choose to look the other way from catastrophe.
The opening galloping synth signals that this is going to be a bit darker than the last part. Tony Banks does a wonderful job at adding various synth effects that sound like screams and wails in the background, as Phil Collins absolutely cuts loose on the opening “verse,” which is a nightmarish dream sequence demonstrating the horrors of war. His voice is filled with intensity and as the drums intensify, so does he.
At this point, Mike Rutherford really begins to shine on the guitar. His quick strumming adds a degree of urgency to this part of the song, and as Collins accuses
Now see what you’ve gone and done!
to the world leaders, the guitar adds punch and weight behind each beat and word, and so do the pounding drums.
Banks takes over again for a bit, and his synth solo in the interlude is beautiful and very melodic, however short it may be. Despite its length it really pulls you along and guides you up and down, and prepares you for the message to come.
Now starts the true intensity of this half of the song. Rutherford’s guitar pierces through the song like a gunshot, and the drums pick up the pace. The first verse of this section is brilliant writing from Banks as a snide and biting look at how we see atrocities on TV and yet immediately jump to the conclusion that there’s nothing that can be done about it.
Well now you never did see such a terrible thing
As was seen last night on T.V.
Maybe if we’re lucky, they will show it again
Such a terrible thing to see – oh
But there’s nothing you can do when you’re next in line
You’ve got to go domino
The final two lines are absolutely off the charts thanks to Collins and his amazing voice. All the while these verses are being sung, Rutherford’s quick guitar riffs sound fantastic and add some flair and punch to the music. The next verse contains some more wittiness from Banks about deceiving ourselves:
Play the game of happiness and never let on
That it only lives on in a song
Another blistering chorus and there’s an awesome repetition of the first half of the song, this time put in the context of irresponsible and ignorant leaders and more poignantly, always holding your loved one close and appreciating the safety you have, for you never know if they might be taken from you due to a war or decision made by some degree of authority.
Do you know what you have done?
Do you know what you’ve begun?
In silence and darkness
Hold each other near tonight
For will it last forever?
After this point, the song repeats the short and infectious chorus, and each time just seems to drive the point home more and more. Even in the fade out, absolutely nothing is lost, and the instruments still continue to play in top form and Collins adds some flourishes of his own on the words. By the end of the song, the message hits hard. It’s an aggressive pointing finger towards the disregard for human life from certain leaders, and how selfishness and greed can devastate those who only wish to live a peaceful existence with their friends and family. In an instant, everything they loved can be taken away, all because of usually one person or a group’s selfish ambitions; the domino effect in motion.
The duality of the song is unlike anything I’ve ever heard. The simultaneous analysis of heartbreak and loneliness, as well as war and catastrophe makes for one emotional juxtaposition. The band is truly firing on all cylinders with this one, and I think it’s one of the best musical pieces this already off the chart talented band has ever produced. It hits you from every angle, and pulls no punches on any front. This song is a complete musical and lyrical masterpiece.
Thanks for reading everyone, and let’s start the domino effect for this blog! Be sure to share this page so others can spread the word, and follow me if you already have not for more songs! Likes and comments would be lovely as well!