[Review] Phil Collins: Hello, I Must Be Going! (1982)

The second album repeats the success of the first down to the smallest details, which is a bit, um, boring.

Kronomyth 2.0: Well, I’m certainly grateful for this magnificent washout.

Where Face Value was completely unexpected, Hello, I Must Be Going! is exactly what you expected. The same elements were arranged in a similar order, with Phil Collins weeding out some of the stranger elements of his first album to focus on pop songs with horns, moody synthesizer numbers with heavy percussion and romantic confessionals. As a near carbon copy of his first record, some saw it as a counterfeit effort at the time (myself included), but the quality of the material has stood up over the years, as evidenced by the album’s re-charting upon reissue.

The album’s shining moment was a cute, straight cover of The Supremes’ You Can’t Hurry Love, which was accompanied with a video of Collins in triplicate. (Unless there are actually three Phil Collinses, which I’m not entirely ruling out given that he seemed to be everywhere in the 80s.) Other singles inevitably followed, from a familiar stroll through the evening air on I Don’t Care Anymore to another hit and miss on I Cannot Believe It’s True. Some have pointed to Collins’ developing romance with Jill Tavelman as a source of optimism on the album, but I don’t hear it. Both albums are pretty dark, and even his love songs (Like China, Don’t Let Him Steal Your Heart Away) have a sinister side to them.

Daryl Stuermer once again plays an important supporting role in shaping the sound, and Hugh Padgham (who must surely have a doppleganger or two of himself dashing between studios) turns in another spot-on sounding record. With Phil Collins albums now interleaved between Genesis albums, the line between the two blurred as both began filling the same commercial void. If you find the idea irritating, feel free to take your sour grapes to Tony BanksThe Fugitive, which is closer to the progressive spirit of Genesis and features some of the same people (Stuermer, Mo Foster).

As much as you can’t really grouse against an album that contains so many good songs, I still have the impression that Hello, I Must Be Going! falls apart at the end. The West Side is simply filler and Why Can’t It Wait ‘Til Morning comes perilously close to maudlin mush. Or maybe the second album is simply a victim of the first’s success. It certainly qualifies as classic Phil Collins, no matter how much you insist that such a thing does not it exist. True love, now that’s a myth.

Original elpee version

A1. I Don’t Care Anymore (5:00)
A2. I Cannot Believe It’s True (5:14)
A3. Like China (5:05)
A4. Do You Know, Do You Care? (4:57)
A5. You Can’t Hurry Love (2:50)
B1. It Don’t Matter to Me (4:12)
B2. Thru These Walls (5:02)
B3. Don’t Let Him Steal Your Heart Away (4:43)
B4. The West Side (4:59)
B5. Why Can’t It Wait ‘Til Morning (3:01)

All songs written by Phil Collins.

The Players

Phil Collins (keyboards, drums, vocals, bass pedals, percussion, claps. Tymps, trumpet, tambourine, marimba), Daryl Stuermer (guitars) with Martyn Ford & the Martyn Ford Orchestra (strings), Mo Foster (bass), John Giblin (bass), Peter Newton (vocals on A2), Phoenix Horns [Rhamlee Michael Davis (trumpet, vocals), Michael Harris (trumpet), Don Myrick (tenor and alto sax, vocals), Louis Satterfield (trombone, vocals)], Peter (Scene) Robinson (piano, glock & vibraphone on A5), Tom Tom 84 (horn arrangements), Gavyn Wright (orchestra leader). Produced by Phil Collins assisted by Hugh Padgham; engineered by Hugh Padgham and Mike Ross.

The Plastic

Released on elpee and cassette on November 5, 1982 in the UK (Virgin, V/TCV 2252), the US (Atlantic, 80035), Australia and Germany (WEA, 99263), Italy (WEA, U99263) and Japan (WEA, P-11315) with gatefold cover and lyrics innersleeve. Reached #2 on the UK charts, #8 on the US charts (RIAA-certified 3x platinum record).

  1. Re-issued on compact disc in 1985 in the US (Atlantic, 80035-2) [made in Japan]. Re-charted #105 on the US charts.
  2. Re-issued on compact disc in June 1988 in the UK (Virgin, CDV 2252).
  3. Re-issued on elpee in Brazil (WEA, 6709 043).
  4. Re-issued on compact disc in June 1991 in the UK (Virgin). Re-charted to #48 on the UK charts.

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