'...But Seriously' is the fourth full-length studio album by Phil Collins. It was recorded at The Farm, Surrey, England, and at A & M Studios, Los Angeles, USA. It was released on 7 November 1989 on Virgin in the UK and Ireland, Atlantic in the US and Canada, WEA Records (now Warner Music Group) for the rest of the world.
While much of the album follows the same formula as Collins' previous album, No Jacket Required, there was also a move towards more organic production as Collins chose to utilise live instrumentation instead of drum machines and prominently used keyboards.
The tone of the album is serious, as the title suggests. Instead of focusing entirely on personal relationships, dark psychedelics, and simple fun, Collins expands his focus to the exploration of socio-economic and political themes. There is great emotional turmoil underneath the polished studio production, and many of the songs are unambiguous and unveiled in their melancholy.
'Another Day in Paradise' is a critical look at the plight of the homeless. The song was inspired by Collins' visit to Washington, D.C. There, he was struck with the widespread poverty in which so many people live, and the struggles that homeless people face. He was equally struck by the perfect abandonment of these needy people, and the complacency of the city as a whole, despite being the nation's centre of government (hence the sarcasm used in the title of the song).
Another politically-themed song on the album is 'Colours', which voices Collins' condemnation of the segregation and oppression of black and coloured people in South Africa under apartheid (see History of South Africa in the apartheid era). Arguably the song with the most progressive rock influence in this album (à la Genesis), it is quite popular with some fans. But it did not see much commercial success as it is almost nine minutes long, and radio stations had no interest in playing it. The political theme is also evident in the second song on the album "That's Just The Way It Is", which deals with The Troubles of Northern Ireland. This was a minor chart hit in the summer of 1990 and in the lyrics Collins makes reference to the gridlock of Ulster's sectarian differences most notably in the line If we'd agree that we can disagree, we could stop all of this today.
While incorporating political themes, ...But Seriously does not abandon the theme of relationships. But unlike some of his earlier work, Collins takes a more mature and reflective approach when looking at the relationships in his life. During the album's creation, he was dealing with a range of estrangements: from society, from his father, and from his wife.
These influences can be seen in the dramatic gospel-influenced track, 'I Wish it Would Rain Down', which features Eric Clapton.
'Father to Son' is another song in which Collins explores his connections with people, in this case, his own son. The song has a positive, inspirational tone as he seeks to guide his son through some of the trials of life and love, and to reassure him that, "if you look behind you, I will be there".
1. Hang in Long Enough – 4:44
2. That's Just the Way It Is – 5:20
3. Do You Remember? – 4:36
4. Something Happened on the Way to Heaven (Lyrics: Collins / Music: Daryl Stuermer/Collins) – 4:51
5. Colours – 8:51
6. I Wish it Would Rain Down – 5:27
7. Another Day In Paradise – 5:22
8. Heat on the Street – 3:51
9. All of My Life – 5:35
10.Saturday Night and Sunday Morning — (Collins / Thomas Washington) – 1:25
11. Father to Son – 3:28
12. Find A Way to My Heart – 6:10