Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Is Invisible Touch secretly a Prog concept album?

It’s time for a more musical post now, as that is also the other side of my persona, being a once and sometimes professional drummer. One of my favorite albums since I was a kid in the '80s was Genesis' Invisible Touch.
By this time, in 1986, Genesis had become geniuses at hiding dark and complex progressive rock inside of accessible pop clothing. 'Turn It On Again' had a complex 13/8 time signature. 'Keep It Dark' was about an alien abduction. Their classic radio hit 'Mama' was about a man who fell in love with a prostitute. Invisible Touch also had such mature themes hidden within.
My theory is that the album Invisible Touch is secretly a progressive pop concept album about a sexually repressed character in a world at the brink of nuclear war. In the Reagan Era '80s, the Cold War was at its peak against the Russians, so such thematic integration in their music wouldn’t be far fetched.
Now I originally came up with this theory a few years back while making a lengthy drive across the United States, so maybe boredom is to blame. I’m not sure if this theory is original or confirmed but I do welcome respectful discussion. So without further delay, let’s jump right into the story!
Invisible Touch - Our story begins with the main character professing his rather unhealthy love for another. This woman obviously doesn't return such affection, for reasons we discover later in the story.
Tonight Tonight Tonight - This song exposes a huge flaw of the main character. He is a drug addict as evidenced by the lyrics of "coming down like a monkey." This is British slang for coming down off of a drug high. Monkey itself is British slang for a dope fiend. The character uses drugs for escapism from the stresses of his life and may also explain his unhealthy love interest.
Land Of Confusion - In this song, we are given a look into the setting of the story. It's a protest song, as the world's citizens are at odds with their leaders as tensions mount towards nuclear war. The world's super powers are competing for technological superiority and natural resources at the cost of destroying both.
In Too Deep - The main character, down from his high, becomes introspective about his troubles as an addict, the reality he is trying to escape as the world around him heads towards war and the obsession with the woman of his infatuations.
Anything She Does - Here we learn that the woman the main character is obsessed with is a pornographic pin-up model. This explains why there is no return of his affections, despite his emotional attachment to her. His drug addiction further distorts his emotions.
Domino - Disaster strikes. The surreal eeriness of reality hits the main character as nuclear bombs fall and everything he knows is wiped away. It's a domino effect as the political leaders have now affected the lives of people not involved in their skirmishes. The last domino falls.
Throwing It All Away - Fatally injured and having lost it all, our main character realizes that it's time to let go. He makes his peace with his love and life regrets.
The Brazilian  - The main character slips away, making his transcendental, cosmic journey into the afterlife.

So am I going crazy or am I on to something? If you listen to the album again with this story in mind, it’ll all make a creepy kind of sense. Now, I do understand that all of this may be some huge fabrication in my mind, but to me, that’s the making of good art. The interpretation. True art isn’t all about lines, notes and technique. It’s about the space in between where the imagination lives.
Anyways, thanks for listening to me ramble about one of my favorite albums. It’s been fun. 

Side note:
There were three songs that got cut from the album: Feeding The Fire, I’d Rather Be You and Do The Neurotic. As far as I know, there's no info as to where they would go in the song order on the album, so I can't comment on how they would fit in the narrative.


  1. I detest their pop stuff but i'll give it a listen.

  2. This is a bit of a leap , as I`ve never thought too deep about the album this way,but willing to give it a go next time. But when you think , it fits with the way the band think, and their previous offerings and would certainly not be out of context

  3. Not sure why or who they needed to hide a progressive sound. Not sure why all the confusion this is a pop album by 3 guys who used to be in one of the best progressive bands.

    1. The prog wasn't what was hidden. The concept album part was hidden to be interpreted by the listener. Pop, as a term, is always used as an antithesis of Prog, which isn't wholly correct since pop isn't a genre in itself. Pop is whatever genre is popular. There are aspects of Prog that have made its way into Pop and Prog has always been fused with Pop, as well as other genres. Hope that clarifies things for you and thanks for your input!

  4. Tonight, Land of Confusion and Domino interpretations have been confirmed so I don't have a problem connecting the other songs. Even if it is not what the band intended it is a sign of a great album that it can be interpreted differently by the fans. I always thought the album had a theme though I saw it in a different way, I like this view of it.

  5. Absolutely! I just saw a Tony Banks interview confirming my interpretation of "Anything She Does" as well! Thank you!