Phil Collins, the grimacing Yoda of 80s git-rock, is to release a new album next month. Roll up your jacket sleeves, people, because if that isn’t exciting enough, it’s full of soul and Motown covers. “I want the songs to sound exactly like the originals,” he declares, and surely an album that sounds exactly like a bunch of old soul and Motown songs is a more enticing prospect than an album that sounds exactly like Phil Collins singing a bunch of old soul and Motown songs. Apart from all those received ideas about authenticity and credibility and the sanctity of ‘the original’, Phil’s statement opens up plenty of exciting philosophical rat-runs: will his new album be a Baudrillardian simulacrum of the originals, concealing and perverting their essence, their reality; or perhaps a Borgesian map, on a 1:1 scale to the musical territory it depicts?
Or will it sound like Phil Collins singing a bunch of old soul and Motown songs?