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Genesis - Land Of Confusion (1986)

  • Video Views 26,594,501
  • 80's Score80's Score 80's score: 1.92
  • Find this song on: Music Stack

"Land of Confusion" is a song by the English rock band Genesis from their 1986 album Invisible Touch. The song was the third ...

"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. and No. 14 in the UK in late 1986. It also reached No. 8 in the Netherlands. The music was written by the band, while the lyrics were written by guitarist Mike Rutherford. The song's video featured puppets from the 1980s UK sketch show Spitting Image.

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 monkey (a reference to the 1951 movie Bedtime for Bonzo which starred Reagan), going to bed at 4:30 PM. Nancy is absorbed in reading His Way, Kitty Kelley's unauthorised biography of Frank Sinatra. Reagan, holding a teddy bear, kisses the monkey goodnight, falls asleep and begins to have a nightmare, which sets the premise for the entire video. The video intermittently features a line of feet in combat boots marching through a swamp past the heads of Cold War-era political figures including Jimmy Carter, Margaret Thatcher, Leonid Brezhnev, and Henry Kissinger.

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, and two Phil Collins puppets: one on the drums, and one singing.

During the second verse, the video shows, in order: Benito Mussolini, Ayatollah Khomeini, Mikhail Gorbachev and his aides, and Muammar Gaddafi giving speeches on large video screens in front of mass crowds. Meanwhile, Reagan is shown putting on a Superman suit and running down a street 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 exhaling in a large pool of his own sweat (at one point, a rubber duck floats by), as Nancy and the orangutan look out the window. During the bridge, the Superman-costumed Reagan and a triceratops (with punk jewellery) watch a television showing various clips of Johnny Carson, Walter Cronkite, Richard Nixon, Mr. Spock (with a Rubik's Cube), and Bob Hope. This segues into a sequence set in prehistoric times, where two dinosaurs (one wearing a bow-tie) meet with Ronald and Nancy Reagan as a mammal eats an egg and reads a newspaper, and John Rambo hovers in the background. At the end of this part, the orangutan from the prologue takes a large bone from Reagan and tosses it in the air, mimicking the first part of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

As the bone begins to fall there is a shift to Collins catching a falling phone into which he states he "won't be coming home tonight, my generation will put it right" while a caricature of Prince applies mustard, ketchup and a bun to his tongue and devours it, and a caricature of Pete Townshend is seen playing a chord on guitar and giving a thumb-up. On the "we're not just making promises" verse the bone finally lands (on top of David Bowie and Bob Dylan, but misses Mick Jagger. Reagan is then shown riding the triceratops through the streets dressed as a cowboy. As the video nears its climax, there are periodic scenes of a large group of spoofed celebrity puppets, including Tina Turner, Sting, Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Bill Cosby, Queen Elizabeth, Princess Diana and Hulk Hogan singing along to the chorus of the song, with Pope John Paul II playing an electric guitar.

At the end of the video, Reagan awakens and surfaces from the pool of sweat surrounding him; Nancy at this point is wearing a snorkel. After attempting to drink from a water glass (missing his mouth and even his face à la Airplane!), 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 announces: "That's one heck of a nurse!" and mugs for the camera as Nancy strikes him with her snorkel.

The video, directed by John Lloyd and Jim Yukich, and produced by Jon Blair, won the short-lived Grammy Award for Best Concept Music Video during the 30th Annual Grammy Awards. 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, former lead singer of Genesis). 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").

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