Hello, I Must Be Going! (Deluxe Edition) – Take A Look At Me Now: Reissue Series
The reissue series made me dig out my vinyl copy of this album again – and I’ve further refined the opinion from there. In fact Hello, I Must Be Going! is actually the most complete Phil Collins album with the best stylistic range, a perfect bridge too – it predicts the mega-success of No Jacket but it’s there just a year after the demos-turned-to-debut of Face Value. So it still has some of Face Value’s mood/s (the drum-heavy opener, I Don’t Care Anymore) but the sharp suited-and-booted horn-section hits are coming too…(I Cannot Believe It’s True).
The geezer-accented Like China still bugs me a little but there’s nothing approaching a bad song on this album and only the bad ju-ju that haunts Collins and apparently makes out-in-the-open fans some sort of easy-target could be aimed at here, you cannot hit on this album as a target for the troubles that plagued his 90s albums. Hello I Must Be Going is the start of Superstar-era Phil Collins for sure. The continuation of Face Value but the production is slicker, the arrangements tighter, surer and the songs are great.
If you never cared for this you might never want to listen with fresh airs or attitude, hey fair enough. But Hello has almost everything that showcases Collins’ clout and his best-foot-forward approach as song-and-dance man with some of the art/prog-tendencies of Genesis there. Heck, Thru The Walls, maybe the standout here, has him channelling the sound of Peter Gabriel – and not just Genesis-era Gabriel. Genesis’ soaring sound is twisted towards the Phil Collins Concert Showcase-style for The West Side, and with Don’t Let Him Steal Your Heart Away and Why Can’t It Wait ‘Til Morning he has perfected the ballad-feel/form of Face Value’s penultimate song, If Leaving Me Is Easy without moving right on over into the AM/easy-listening grooves of the ubiquitous One More Night from the album that would follow this.
Hello’s bonus disc features a near run-through of the album live – its big Motown-cover hit, You Can’t Hurry Love already seeming slightly annoying in its live form (but actually it slots in nicely in the context of the original album). There are stonking live versions of the
album’s opening brace, Thru These Walls has even more of Gabriel’s creep-and-lurch in its live version, there are a couple more soul covers with It’s Alright and People Get Ready – these are nice but not needed. And then a demo version of Don’t Let Him Steal Your Heart which is a nice curio but has a plodding, embryonic rhythm to it. His famed nonsense-lyrics are somewhat hypnotic though – hearing him bumble and stumble around a bunch of “de do-de-dos” as he restates the melody on the keys.
Hello, I Must Be Going! wasn’t an album I cared about too much at the time, and because
of an emotional attachment to Face Value I perhaps never gave this its correct dues. It’s possibly Collins’ masterpiece. There, how about that? Doesn’t change how you feel about it at all does it. Well I enjoyed getting to know it a whole lot better. The 80s years of Collins’ output seem to be held against him and in the re-evaluation of it it’s nearly impossible to see how or why.