I hate Phil Collins. There, I said it. Now, I know I said recently that I hated muffins. And just last week, I said that I hated popcorn. Hating these things has probably made me public enemy one, two and three. It’s almost sacrilegious to hate Mr. Collins and everything he does, but this has to stop. I have heard far too many people in my life claim to love this guy yet have no idea why. He has this aura of awesomeness surrounding him yet it’s all a facade. He’s a no good, smug, talentless hack. But the joke’s on you, readers. You can throw as many rotten vegetables at me as you like, but I’m bedecked with a colander helmet and a homemade wooden riot shield. Do you worst, punks. But no flaming arrows, please. The shield is made of wood. It’s a bit flammable…
‘In the Air Tonight’ was the debut single by English dingus Phil Collins. It came out nine years before I was born. He was best known as the drummer in the prog rock band Genesis. Prog rock, for the really young reading, was a genre of music best described as extremely long monotonous and repetitive drivel, famed for its drum solos and never ending songs, that contributed about as much to rock music as George Bush has to sanity.
‘In the Air Tonight’ is often described as a song where absolutely nothing happens until an overly melodramatic drum break near the end, before absolutely nothing resumes once more. Collins wrote the song after his first divorce, from Andrea Bertorelli. Still, at least that divorce went better than his second one, a notice of intent he delivered to one Jill Tavelman by fax machine. For any kids reading who don’t know what a fax machine is… you lucky, lucky buggers…
Mr. Phil once said, “I’m not quite sure what the song is about, but there’s a lot of anger, a lot of despair and a lot of frustration.” I imagine that’s how his second wife felt after she got that fax. It is fairly obvious Collins had no idea what he was writing because, lyrically, there’s not much to this song. One can only wonder what he meant by, ‘I can feel it coming in the air tonight.’ Although it is followed by ‘oh Lord’, so, you know, draw your own conclusions.
It then takes a dark turn. ‘Well, if you told me you were drowning, I would not lend a hand.’ Well, that’s a relief. It would need to be attached to your arm to be of any use. Lending it to someone would be ill advised. It would weigh them down, only serving to make them drown faster. ‘I’ve seen your face before my friend, but I don’t know if you know who I am.’ Oh, God, will you shut up already… you sound like a teenage girl after a break up. ‘I was there and I saw what you did.’ What she did! Golly gosh, it’s not like she told someone she wanted a divorce on a fax…
‘I know where you’ve been, it’s all been a pack of lies.’ IF YOU KNOW WHERE SHE’S BEEN HOW CAN IT BE A PACK OF LIES! If it was a pack of lies, then where she’s been would also be a pack of lies, therefore, you don’t know where she’s been. Although, to be fair, I can’t blame her for sleeping with the milkman. A bloomin’ hedgehog would’ve made for a nicer bedfellow than that chump Collins. Collins Chumpy McChumpington over there, bashing his racket makers.
‘It’s the first time, the last time we ever met.’ WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT EVEN MEAN, YOU BLOODY LUNATIC! ‘But I know the reason why you keep your silence up.’ Because you won’t let her get a word in edgeways, you fool! ‘The hurt doesn’t show but the pain still grows.’ Oh, there’s the heartbroken teenage girl popping up again.
This song became so loved and so hated in equal measure. Yet, somehow, it became a cult classic. As journalist Frank DiGiacomo once wrote, ‘Even when I sought to escape the sounds [of Collins] in my head by turning on the TV, there would be Mr. Collins… mugging for the camera – intent of showing the world just how hard he would work to sell millions of records to millions of stupid people.’ He makes a good point. Hatred of Collins runs far deeper than this song. This song epitomises that, but it’s not the source.
Critic Tom Service described Collins as ‘un-stomachable’ and his music as ‘perfectly vacant.’ Tim Chester once wrote an article titled, ‘Is It Time We All Stopped Hating Phil Collins?’ Chester described Collins as the ‘go-to guy for ironic appreciation and guilty pleasures.’ When Collins retired in 2011, The Daily Telegraph dubbed him ‘the most hated man in rock.’ At this point, you’re probably starting to feel a bit sorry for old Phil. Well, I have but one thing to say to that. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU! This man gave the world one of the worst pieces of music humankind has created. He’s smug and arrogant. His songs are as bland and lifeless as my sex life. He left his second wife, to use modern parlance, by a text message, pretty much. And he’s not fond of paying taxes. A real kick in the nuts when you consider he has £115 million in the bank. If I was him and I had that kind of money, I’d spend every penny trying to eradicate all copies of ‘In the Air Tonight.’ Hey, if we can eradicate smallpox, anything’s possible. Right?
Can I ‘feel it in the air tonight’? Nope. All I feel is rage and anger boiling inside me every time I’m reminded of that crumbum Phil Collins and this crummy song…
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