CD of the week: "The Best of Both Worlds" by Marillion

I’m going to be brief on this one, because it doesn’t need much explanation. I’ve been a Marillion fan since the late 1980s: I think it was my son, Chris, who introduced me to Script for a Jester’s Tear and Misplaced Childhood. Like many others, I found an echo of an earlier love in this music: it harkened back to the original Genesis* and albums such as Trespass and Nursery Cryme. (For me, Invisible Touch is the nadir, not the apotheosis of Genesis’ work. But I digress.) CD art for The Best of Both Worlds
Part of the magic of the first incarnation of Marillion (from 1982 to 1988) was the slightly-manic presence of Fish, the lead vocalist. When he left, many wondered if the band would survive, and the first new release with Steve Hogarth, Season’s End seemed to confirm our fears: it was closer to pop than prog. But gradually the new band forged a new identity, and albums such as Brave and Afraid of Sunlight were eagerly snapped up. The two most recent albums, Anoraknophobia and Marbles, were self-produced by the band, financed by advanced orders from tens of thousands of fans (including me).
This album is a double CD of their work on EMI. The first CD covers the Fish era, including classics like Assassing, Kayleigh, and Warm Wet Circles. The second covers the Steve Hogarth (“H”) period up to 1997, including The Univited Guest, Waiting to Happen, and Afraid of Sunlight. (It also includes the execrable Hooks in You, but that’s what the SKIP button is for.)
If you want to understand Marillion past and present, this is a great collection. If you just want to plunge in and experience today’s Marillion, I’d recommend the 2002 release Anorak in the UK Live instead.

* The Genesis line-up with Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford, Steve Hackett, and Phil Collins