We Can’t Dance is the fourteenth studio album by English rock band Genesis, released on 28 October 1991 by Atlantic Records in the United States and 11 November 1991 on Virgin Records in the United Kingdom. It is their last album recorded with drummer and lead singer Phil Collins before his departure in 1996 to pursue solo projects. Production began after a four-year period of inactivity from the group, following the commercial success of Invisible Touch (1986) and its tour.
We Can’t Dance was a worldwide commercial success for the band. It became the band’s fifth consecutive No. 1 album in the UK and reached No. 4 in the U.S., where it sold over 4 million copies. Between 1991 and 1993, six tracks from the album were released as singles, including “No Son of Mine” and “I Can’t Dance”. The latter received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals. Genesis toured in support of We Can’t Dance in 1992 which saw the band play large stadiums and arenas across North America and Europe.
We Can’t Dance was Genesis’s first studio album in five years, following the international success of Invisible Touch in 1986. After the tour for that album ended, the band took a long hiatus to focus on solo careers. Both Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford expected Collins to leave the band during this time due to his huge solo success, but he stayed until 1996. The album reached No. 1 in the UK and No. 4 in the U.S., selling several million copies (including 4 million in the U.S. alone). The album also spawned several hit singles, including “No Son of Mine”, “Hold on My Heart”, “I Can’t Dance” and “Jesus He Knows Me”, the latter two supported by humorous videos. Two songs, “On the Shoreline” and “Hearts on Fire”, were cut from the album, because “there wasn’t enough room on the record.” Both songs were released as B-sides.
Contrary to popular belief, “Since I Lost You” is not about a broken relationship. The lyrics were written by Collins for friend Eric Clapton. On 20 March 1991, Clapton’s four-year-old son Conor died after falling from the 53rd-story window of his mother’s friend’s New York City apartment, landing on the roof of an adjacent four-story building. Collins played it to him before putting it on the album to get his approval.
Most of the songs were written through improvisation, and rehearsed and recorded at The Farm, their recording studio in Chiddingfold, Surrey in England.
We Can’t Dance was released on 28 October 1991 by Atlantic Records in the United States and 11 November 1991 on Virgin Records in the United Kingdom. The album was a success in the charts, going to number one on the UK Albums Chart for one weeks from 23 November 1991. In the United States, it debuted the Billboard 200 chart at number four, the week of 30 November 1991. It stayed at its peak for one week during its 72-week stay on the chart.
On 1 December 1991, the album was certified double Platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for shipment of 600,000 copies. A year later, sales grew to reach quadruple platinum, signifying 1.2 million copies sold. The album reached quintuple platinum status in March 1997, for 1.5 million copies sold. In the United States, We Can’t Dance shipped 1 million copies by 27 December 1991. Five years later, the album was certified quadruple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for four million copies sold.
Rolling Stone chiefly commented on the album’s lyrics. They criticised “Tell Me Why” and “Way of the World” for being soulless and impersonal social commentaries, but regarded most of the songs as outstanding, and summarised “Although We Can’t Dance doesn’t quite achieve the vulnerable grace of Duke or the exuberance of Abacab, Genesis has nevertheless delivered an elegantly spare – and even adventurous – album.”
AllMusic similarly criticised the lyrics of “Tell Me Why” and “Way of the World”, calling them “paeans for world understanding that sound miles away from any immediacy”. However, they praised the album for returning to a less pop-oriented direction, and especially complimented the grittiness of “No Son of Mine”, “Jesus He Knows Me”, and “I Can’t Dance” (which received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals in 1993).
David Browne of Entertainment Weekly gave a lacklustre review, stating: “At a time when everything is uncertain … you almost have to admire a record like We Can’t Dance. … You know there will be a couple of fleeting moments when the band breaks out of its torpor – for instance, on the very polite primal stomp of ‘I Can’t Dance’ – and that such moments will just as quickly be subsumed by the rest of the musical quicksand.”
Stevie Chick of The Guardian has dismissed the album as “blandness”.
The album garnered Genesis an American Music Award for Favorite Pop/Rock Band, Duo, or Group and two further nominations for Favorite Adult Contemporary Album and Favorite Adult Contemporary Artist. At the Brit Awards in 1993, the album was nominated for Best British Album while Phil Collins was nominated as Best Male British Artist for his contribution to the album. (by wikipedia)
The singles from this album
Tony Banks (keyboards)
Phil Collins (drums, percussion, vocals, drum machines)
Mike Rutherford (guitar, bass)
01. No Son of Mine 6.39
02. Jesus He Knows Me 4.16
03. Driving The Last Spike 10.08
04. I Can’t Dance 4.01
05. Never A Time 3.50
06. Dreaming While You Sleep 7.16
07. Tell Me Why 4.58
08. Living Forever 5.41
09. Hold On My Heart 4.37
10. Way Of The World 5.38
11. Since I Lost You 4.09
12. Fading Lights 10.16
All songs written by Tony Banks, Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford.