Phil Collins

Dance into the Light

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AllMusic Review by

Dance Into the Light is as self-explanatory as titles get: after dwelling in the darkness following a divorce and a split from Genesis, Phil Collins is ready to get happy. That isn't to say Dance Into the Light is devoid of either ambition or sobriety: Collins turns "Just Another Story" into a piece of meditative funk, while "Wear My Hat," "River So Wide," and "Lorenzo" find the drummer delving into African rhythms reminiscent of Paul Simon, Peter Gabriel, and Sting (it also points toward the work Collins did on Tarzan just a few years later). Nevertheless, the overall tenor of the record is bright and cheerful, the sound of a man ready for a revival. Sometimes, he'll throw out a specific callback to his past -- the title track recalls the snappy punch of "Sussudio" -- but often, he settles into an expertly modulated craft, favoring sprightly pop to somnolent ballads. Given this chipper outlook, it's odd that the thing that undoes Dance Into the Light -- outside of the slight cognitive dissonance between the straight-ahead pop and Afrobeat explorations -- is an indulgence all too typical of '90s albums made with the CD in mind: tracks stretch out one or two minutes longer than necessary, adding up to a 13-track album that feels flabby at just over an hour. Trimmed by 20 minutes, this would've been a nice little adult pop album, but as it stands, it sounds like a lively little record attempting to escape its immaculately tailored straitjacket.

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