Land of Confusion

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"Land of Confusion"
Genesis-Land-of-confusion-single-cover.jpg
Original single cover parodying 1963's With the Beatles
Single by Genesis
from the album Invisible Touch
B-side "Feeding the Fire"
Released 1986
Format 7", 12", CD
Length 4:45
Label Atlantic US
Virgin UK
Writer(s)
Producer(s)
Genesis singles chronology
"In Too Deep"
(1986)
"Land of Confusion"
(1986)
"Tonight, Tonight, Tonight"
(1987)
Invisible Touch track listing
"Tonight, Tonight, Tonight"
(2)
"Land of Confusion"
(3)
"In Too Deep"
(4)
Audio sample
file info · help

"Land of Confusion" is a song by the English rock band Genesis from their 1986 album Invisible Touch. The song was the third track on the album and was the third track released as a single, reaching No. 4 in the U.S.[1] and No. 14 in the UK in late 1986.[2] It also reached No. 8 in the Netherlands. The music was written by the band, while the lyrics were written by guitarist Mike Rutherford.[3] The song's video featured puppets from the 1980s UK sketch show Spitting Image.

Music video[edit]

The band members (Banks, Collins and Rutherford) as they appeared in the video.

The song is widely remembered for its music video, which had heavy airplay on MTV. The video features caricature puppets by the British television show Spitting Image. After Phil Collins saw a caricatured version of himself on the show, he commissioned the show's creators, Peter Fluck and Roger Law, to create puppets of the entire band, as well as all the characters in the video.

The video opens with a caricatured Ronald Reagan (voiced by Chris Barrie), Nancy Reagan, and a chimpanzee (parodying Reagan's film Bedtime for Bonzo), going to bed at 16:30 (4:30 PM). Nancy is absorbed in reading His Way, Kitty Kelley's unauthorized biography of Frank Sinatra, in which claims are made of sexual relations between Sinatra and the then actress Nancy Davis prior to her marriage to Reagan. Reagan, holding a teddy bear, goes to sleep and begins to have a nightmare, which sets the premise for the entire video. The video intermittently features a line of stomping feet, illustrating an army marching through a swamp, and they pick up heads of Cold War-era political figures in the swamp along the way (an allusion to Motel Hell).

Caricatured versions of the band members are shown playing instruments on stage during a concert: Tony Banks on an array of synthesizers (as well as a cash register full of cookies), Mike Rutherford on a four-necked guitar (parodying Rutherford's dual role as the band's guitar and bass-player), and two Phil Collins puppets: one on the drums, and one singing.

During the second verse, the video features various world leaders giving speeches on large video screens in front of mass crowds; the video shows Benito Mussolini, Ayatollah Khomeini, Mikhail Gorbachev and his aides (appearing like Frank Sinatra's 'Rat Pack'), and Muammar Gaddafi. Meanwhile, Reagan is shown putting on a Superman suit, fumbling along the way, while Collins sings,

Oh Superman where are you now
When everything's gone wrong somehow
The men of steel, the men of power
Are losing control by the hour.

Meanwhile, the "real world" Reagan is shown blowing bubbles in a puddle of his own sweat (at one point, a rubber duck floats by).

During the bridge, the Superman-costumed Reagan and a Monoclonius-type dinosaur (with punk jewellery) watch a television showing various clips (apparently from the Spitting Image show itself), including Johnny Carson, Walter Cronkite, Richard Nixon, Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock (with a Rubik's Cube), and Bob Hope. This segues into a sequence apparently set in prehistoric times, where the Monoclonius-type and a theropod-type dinosaur (wearing a bow-tie) meet up with Ron and Nancy Reagan and a rather outlandish mammal eats an egg and reads a newspaper. At the end of this part, the ape from the prologue is shown throwing a bone in the air (an allusion to 2001: A Space Odyssey).

As the bone begins to fall there is a sudden switch to Collins catching a falling phone which he uses to inform the person on the other end that he "won't be coming home tonight, my generation will put it right" (which is when a caricature of a 1980s Pete Townshend is seen playing a chord on guitar and giving a thumb-up for putative mentioning of his own song, "My Generation") and on the "we're not just making promises" verse the bone lands (on top of David Bowie and Bob Dylan, but misses Mick Jagger). Reagan is then shown riding the Monoclonius through the streets while wearing a cowboy hat and wardrobe (a reference to Reagan's down-home public persona and ranch). As the video nears its climax, there are periodic scenes of a large group of spoofed celebrity puppets, including Tina Turner, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Bill Cosby and Hulk Hogan singing along to the chorus of the song, in a spoof of the charity-driven song "We Are the World", with Pope John Paul II playing an electric guitar.

At the end of the video, Reagan awakens from his dream, and surfaces from the sweat surrounding him; Nancy at this point is wearing a snorkel. After taking a drink (missing his mouth and, indeed, his face), he fumbles for a button next to his bed. He intends to push the one labelled "Nurse", but instead presses the one titled "Nuke", setting off a nuclear explosion. Reagan then replies "Man, that's one heck of a nurse!" Nancy whacks him over the head with her snorkel.

The video, directed by John Lloyd & Jim Yukich and produced by Jon Blair, won the short-lived Grammy Award for Best Concept Music Video during the 30th Annual Grammy Awards.[4] The video was also nominated for an MTV Video Music Award for Video of the Year in 1987, but lost to "Sledgehammer" by Peter Gabriel (coincidentally, Genesis' former lead singer). It also made the number-one spot on The Village Voice critic Robert Christgau's top 10 music videos in his year-end "Dean's List" feature, and number three on the equivalent list in his annual survey of music critics, Pazz & Jop (again losing out to "Sledgehammer").[5][6]

Singles track listings[edit]

7": Virgin / GENS 3 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Land of Confusion" – 4:45
  2. "Feeding the Fire" – 5:54

7": Atlantic / 7-89336 (U.S.)[edit]

  1. "Land of Confusion" (LP Version) – 4:45
  2. "Feeding the Fire" – 5:54

12": Virgin / GENS 3–12 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Land of Confusion" (Extended Remix) – 6:55
  2. "Land of Confusion" – 4:45
  3. "Feeding the Fire" – 5:54

12": Virgin / 608 632-213 (Germany)[edit]

  1. "Land of Confusion" (Extended Remix) – 6:55
  2. "Land of Confusion" – 4:45
  3. "Feeding the Fire" – 5:54

CD: Virgin / SNEG 3–12 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Land of Confusion" – 4:45
  2. "Land of Confusion" (Extended Remix) – 6:55
  3. "Feeding the Fire" – 5:54
  4. "Do the Neurotic" – 7:08

12": Atlantic / PR 968 (U.S.)[edit]

  1. "Land of Confusion" (Extended Remix) – 6:55
  2. "Land of Confusion" – 4:45

7": Atlantic / 7-89336 promo (U.S.)[edit]

  1. "Land of Confusion" (Special Edited Remix) – 3:53
  2. "Land of Confusion" (Album Version) – 4:45
  • Remixes by John Potoker

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Live performances[edit]

The song was played on their Invisible Touch,[24] The Way We Walk,[25] Calling All Stations[26] (with Ray Wilson on vocals) and Turn It On Again: The Tour[27] tours, though later transposed to a lower key to accommodate Collins' deepening voice.

It also appears on their live albums The Way We Walk, Volume One: The Shorts, and Live over Europe 2007. As well as on their DVDs Live at Wembley Stadium, The Way We Walk - Live in Concert and When in Rome 2007.

In popular culture[edit]

"Land of Confusion" was also a track used for the final episode of the 1980s cop show Miami Vice (in which Phil Collins once played a con artist) called "Freefall" and was applied as the characters of the show Crockett (Don Johnson) and Tubbs (Philip Michael Thomas) were in the middle of a stakeout. The song was to imply the complexity of the story during the finale.

This song is mentioned in American Psycho.

The cover version of "Land of Confusion" by Disturbed is used in the end credits of Bigger, Stronger, Faster*.

Notable covers[edit]

The song has been variously re-recorded as cover versions by several artists spanning a number of genres:

Disturbed [edit]

"Land of Confusion"
Disturbed land of confusion.png
Single by Disturbed
from the album Ten Thousand Fists
Released 2006
Format
Length 4:47
Label Reprise
Writer(s)
Producer(s) Johnny K
Disturbed singles chronology
"Just Stop"
(2006)
"Land of Confusion"
(2006)
"Ten Thousand Fists"
(2006)

The American heavy metal band Disturbed released a cover of the song on their third studio album, Ten Thousand Fists. The song became the fourth single from that album. Vocalist David Draiman commented that the aim of covering the song was "taking a song that's absolutely nothing like us and making it our own."[30] The line "And the sound of your laughter" in the original's bridge was replaced by "In the wake of this madness".

It was accompanied by a music video animated by Todd McFarlane, known as the creator of the comics series Spawn. McFarlane had previously animated the music videos for the songs "Freak on a Leash" by Korn and "Do the Evolution" by Pearl Jam. According to McFarlane, the music video is "a big view of the corporate world and how it all ties into just one big beast for me... The world is run by one giant thing, which is driven by greed and lust."[31] "Land of Confusion" reached No. 1 in the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks; it is Disturbed's first No. 1 single on that chart.

Music video[edit]

The video starts out with the Guy, Disturbed's mascot, falling to earth. It then shows military forces bearing the symbol of a dollar sign[31] within a circle of white within a field of red, followed by legions of black-clad soldiers reminiscent of Adolf Hitler's Schutzstaffel.[32] The video then shows the Guy, escaping bondage from chains, as the military forces continue to assault cities and civilians. Later on, leaders of various nations of the world (bearing close physical resemblance to George W. Bush, Vladimir Putin, Jacques Chirac, Junichirō Koizumi and Tony Blair) are shown sitting at a table with the same dollar sign on it. Eventually the Guy confronts the soldiers, and leads the people in rebellion. Flags of several powerful nations are then shown, with the final flag sporting the dollar sign. The Guy leads the rebels to the headquarters of the United Nations[32] where they disrupt a meeting of the U.N. representatives. The Guy then leads the angry mob into a back room where they confront the real power behind the throne, a gigantic, bloated Fat Cat. The mob then drags him to the ground and once immobilised, the Guy destroys the Fat Cat, who explodes into a shower of dollar bills.

UK enhanced version[edit]

  1. "Land of Confusion"
  2. "Sickened"
  3. "Land of Confusion" (Video)

UK, European & US vinyl 12" limited edition picture disc[edit]

  1. "Land of Confusion"
  2. "Sickened"

European version[edit]

  1. "Land of Confusion" (Version 1)
  2. "Land of Confusion" (Version 2)

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2006) Peak
position
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[33] 79
US Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks[34] 1
US Billboard Modern Rock Tracks[34] 18

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Genesis – Awards". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 13 June 2016. 
  2. ^ a b "Archive Chart: 1986-12-28" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
  3. ^ Prasad, Anil. "Genesis: Turning it on again". Innerviews. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  4. ^ Grammy Awards – 1987 at the Wayback Machine (archived 21 September 2005). About.com.
  5. ^ Christgau, Robert (3 March 1987). "Pazz & Jop 1986: Dean's List". The Village Voice. Retrieved 13 June 2016. 
  6. ^ Christgau, Robert (3 March 1987). "The 1986 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". The Village Voice. Retrieved 13 June 2016. 
  7. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970-1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  8. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Genesis – Land Of Confusion" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
  9. ^ "Ultratop.be – Genesis – Land Of Confusion" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
  10. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 0775." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
  11. ^ Nyman, Jake (2005). Suomi soi 4: Suuri suomalainen listakirja (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. ISBN 951-31-2503-3. 
  12. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Genesis – Land Of Confusion". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
  13. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Land of Confusion". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
  14. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Genesis Land Of Confusion search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
  15. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Genesis – Land Of Confusion" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
  16. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Genesis – Land Of Confusion". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
  17. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Genesis – Land Of Confusion". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
  18. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Genesis – Land Of Confusion". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
  19. ^ CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending JANUARY 31, 1987 at the Wayback Machine (archived 6 October 2012). Cash Box magazine.
  20. ^ "Top 100 Singles of '87". RPM. Vol. 47 no. 12. 26 December 1987. Retrieved 13 June 2016. 
  21. ^ (German) Jahrescharts – 1987 at the Wayback Machine (archived 9 May 2015). Offiziellecharts.de. GfK Entertainment Charts.
  22. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1987" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 13 June 2016. 
  23. ^ "Top 100 Hits for 1987". The Longbored Surfer. Retrieved 13 June 2016. 
  24. ^ "Invisible Touch". Genesis-movement.org. Retrieved 13 June 2016. 
  25. ^ "We Can't Dance". Genesis-movement.org. Retrieved 13 June 2016. 
  26. ^ "Calling All Stations". Genesis-movement.org. Retrieved 13 June 2016. 
  27. ^ "Studio & Misc". Genesis-movement.org. Retrieved 13 June 2016. 
  28. ^ Widran, Jonathan. "Daryl Stuermer – Another Side of Genesis". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 13 June 2016. 
  29. ^ "In Flames – Trigger EP". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 13 June 2016. 
  30. ^ "DISTURBED Frontman: 'I See Ourselves As Being A Three-Decade Spanning Band'". Blabbermouth.net. 23 November 2006. Retrieved 13 June 2016. 
  31. ^ a b Harris, Chris (10 March 2006). "Todd McFarlane to Make Genesis' 'Confusion' Clip Even More Disturbed". MTV News. Viacom. Retrieved 13 June 2016. 
  32. ^ a b Khouri, Andy (22 July 2006). "CCI, Day 3: McFarlane Vs Kirkman?". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 18 December 2008. 
  33. ^ "Archive Chart: 2006-10-08" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
  34. ^ a b "Disturbed – Awards". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 13 June 2016. 

External links[edit]