Reevaluating PHIL COLLINS – Part 2: Hello, I Must Be Going!

Phil Collins’ second album, Hello, I Must Be Going!, was released in late 1982. This album would bring Collins both his first Brit Awards nomination and his first Grammy Awards nomination. As of this writing, the album has been certified three times Platinum in the United States.

When I think about great years, the first one that comes to mind is 1982. Michael Jackson’s Thriller was released in 1982, guys. Also, I was born, which we’re all super grateful for. At some point during 1982, Phil Collins’ second album was released, which is, you know… a thing that happened, I guess.

According to my Wikipedia research, Phil’s marriage was on the rocks while he was writing his sophomore effort, and I am hoping that this painful time in his life will translate into material with a darker edge. According to Wikipedia, his relationship troubles inspired the songs, “I Don’t Care Anymore” and “Do You Know, Do You Care”, which seems like a pretty horrible double standard. I think that I may have just gotten to the bottom of why your marriage failed, Phil.

If only I had a time machine. But I don’t. So let’s dig into this hot slab of vinyl!

I Don’t Care Anymore
Holy shit, Phil’s marriage sounds pretty rough. I can’t imagine that the relationship survived this song getting released, the way that he’s going off on his partner. But, from what I gather, by that point he didn’t care anymore. Like, he’s pretty clear on that.

While the repeated “I don’t CAY-HA no mo'” refrain is cheesy and cartoonishly sassy, I’m kind of … I’m kind of into angry Phil Collins. He’s really givin’ it on the back half of this track, and it really works on top of the anthemic synth chords and interestingly syncopated drum figure. Even the bridge is strong, bringing in a chord progression and vocal melody that I wasn’t expecting.

What is happening???

I Cannot Believe It’s True
Well, believe it, Phil.

This track traffics in the same kind of hold-over late 70s white guy soul-pop that suffocated his debut, but the production is a little better and this track is a little more hooky and tuneful than most of the songs on the debut. Phil’s voice doesn’t sound like it’s trapped in a magic lamp, and all of the instruments are clear and clean.

I’m going to be honest, I hate music in this vibe. But this seems as good of an example of it as any. It pains me to say it, but there are some clever songwriting turns at work here and it isn’t absolutely terrible.

Like China
Hahaha. He’s singing in a cockney accent!

What the fuck is happening??? I’m actually enjoying this. Am I just in a way better mood today than I was when I reviewed Face Value? Do I need to reevaluate my own reevaluation?

“Like China” is more entertaining because it’s goofy and ridiculous than it is because it’s actually good. It is very silly and kind of catchy in an immensely stupid way. Still, enjoyment is enjoyment, and this is kind of fun. There is a sick guitar solo in this song. Haha. Am I a Phil Collins fan now?

Do You Know, Do You Care?
The “I’m mad at my wife” Phil Collins has a very different feel from sunny, poppy, sing-like-a-cockney-fishmonger Phil Collins. This is another very moody track. This song is not that different from “I Don’t Care Anymore”, but the drum treatment is slightly more lugubrious and the soaring synth chords have been replaced by a growling bass drone.

I actually think that the drum and synth work on this track is fairly interesting and well done, but the vocal work is a redundant and less tuneful rehashing of this album’s first track. Not the most terrible track, nor is it particularly great.

You Can’t Hurry Love
This is a cover of The Supremes’ and it is great. This song was written by absolutely untouchable geniuses of songwriting. Phil’s version doesn’t touch The Supremes’ original recording, but you would have to work pretty hard to fuck this one up. It is a perfect song.

It Don’t Matter To Me
Jesus Christ, Phil. I’m starting to find your ambivalence unattractive.

The horns on this song are going absolutely apeshit. The other thing that I find apeshit about this song is the message. Phil sings “there’s nowhere that you can run to ’cause I’m going to find you / there’s no place that you can stay ’cause I’ll be behind you / just to remind you / that it don’t matter to me”.

Phil, you’re talking about stalking your wife to remind her that you’re over it. It sounds like it matters to you a lot, Phil.

This song isn’t very good, but it’s still better than most of the songs on Face Value.

Thru These Walls
Commencing with a similar percussion and synth feel to “In The Air Tonight” and includes a bunch of drum rolls that sound like they’re also from that song. Which is fine and everything, but the lead story here is that this song appears to be about Phil sitting around in hotel rooms listening to people fuck in adjacent rooms!

The lyrics on this album are bonkers! It is fun and hilarious to listen to!

Don’t Let Him Steal Your Heart Away
Oh, okay. Now we’re getting to the meat of the issue. Phil and his wife were having problems because Phil was always away on tour and some dude made a move when his wife felt vulnerable and disillusioned. At least that’s the way that Phil tells it.

Phil, look… how do you know that they don’t maybe genuinely love each other? You don’t, Phil. You can’t force her to choose you. I understand how hard this is, but it’s her choice!

I don’t even care about the music anymore. I need to know how this ends.

The West Side
just said that I didn’t care about the music anymore and Phil decides to throw an instrumental track at me. Nicely played, you prick.

“The West Side” is a modern “jazz-pop” instrumental, and while there is some good musicianship to be found here (drums included), I’m completely uninterested in what this does and where this goes.

Why Can’t It Wait ‘Til The Morning
Hello, I Must Be Going! closes with a yearning piano ballad in which Phil pleads with his wife that they stop arguing so that they can just pretend nothing is wrong and spend the night together. I’m not exactly sure of when this happened, but I’m suddenly very invested in Phil Collins’ marriage and this song made me very sad.

The vocal performance is a little shmaltzy, but the string arrangement is very nice.

Poor Phil and Phil’s wife.

The Verdict

I was rough on Face Value, but I honestly feel like that album deserved it. Hello, I Must Be Going! is a remarkable improvement both sonically and in composition. And frankly, it’s just more entertaining. This album is a portrait of a man completely cracking up due to personal stresses, and it is exactly as hilarious and sad as one would expect that to be.

The album still boasts this era’s preoccupation with fade-out song endings, but is less of an offender than its predecessor, with a FADE-OUT COUNT of 6/10.

The inclusion of “Can’t Hurry Love” is a bit of a cheat, because that song is so greatly beyond the reach of most songwriters that it couldn’t help but bump up this album’s appeal. That being said, I found Hello, I Must Be Going! to be a not-totally-terrible album that serves up an occasionally very funny and sometimes almost moving journey through what I’m sure was a difficult period in the life of Phil Collins.

I am almost looking foward to the next album, No Jacket Required, which I am expecting to be his “just divorced, back-in-the-saddle, weird bachelor pick-up tunes” album.

Thanks for reading!

Author: markmeeks

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