In the tradition of blog reviews of random things, this post introduces a new feature here at O.K.! – Rock Site Reviews. What I’ll do is, with each installment, write a review of the official website of some rock band. Given the wide range of styles, and even wider range of quality, of different official websites, I figured this could provide minutes of fun.
Since I cannot comprehend passing up the wordplay, we will begin at the beginning, which is Genesis, whose official site is genesis-music.com. Just <genesis.com> was taken by some computer company, apparently.
Anyway, as soon as you load the page some links come up, a television falls from the sky, a moon floats around the top-left corner, and some deformed dude runs across the screen. If that’s not enough to grab your attention, the letters in the name “Genesis” change font as the mouse hovers over them. It’s a subtle touch, but I spent about ten minutes playing with the letters before I finally clicked something.
Let’s start with the News section. Now, websites devoted to older bands often struggle to maintain a news section, since many don’t even tour, and you can forget about albums. Luckily, Genesis seems to still do the occasional tour, including one that started last year. Genesis-music seems to update with some regularity, and was even nice enough to link to a fansite’s contest. In a further show of generosity, they also link to several tribute bands. Another nice touch is the articles and reviews about the band all the way from the early 1970’s on. It’s definitely nice to have such things available, but unfortunately they’re organized like the news – that is, most recently posted on top. The database is searchable, but why they aren’t organized by topic instead of date is puzzling. There’s also a Press section, which seems to be just like the News but more formal and not updated as often.
Browsing along the convenient navigation bar atop the screen, just under the stylish banner, we progress to Contests, which just takes us to a relevant post in the News section to a contest that ended last year. Okay, whatever.
Skipping Community for a moment, let’s check out the the most critical part of any band’s website – Discography – and what an elaborate Discography it is! Not only do they have the release information, tracklisting, and lyrics for all of Genesis’s albums, they have such information for each member’s solo material. Way to go above and beyond the call of duty, and I must applaud them including lyrics. They’re such an obvious thing to have, but as we’ll see over and over later in this series, many sites don’t even do that. Alas, all is not perfect. Each song tantalizingly displays a drop-down menu offering “Lyrics,” “Description,” “Artist’s Comments,” and “Personnel,” but lyrics is the only one with any content. Allow me to state the obvious, “What is the point of having these sections if there’s nothing in them?” Maybe they’re planned, but I couldn’t find any songs with any description or comments. Oh, well.
Moving on, the Multimedia section has some videos, as well as some photos and images of their album covers.
Where genesis-music really shines, though, is in the FAQ section. Now, most of this stuff is fairly straightforward answers to common questions, but it’s very convenient to have. Impressively, though, they also field more potentially awkward questions like “Is there animosity between Steve Hackett and other members of the band? Is that why he left?” Amazingly, in the Genesis General FAQ section, they actually answer the inquiry
How do I find out what bootleg CDs / DVDs / VCDs / VHS are available and how do I get hold of them?
Now, here you’d expect the basic RIAA line about how bootlegs are illegal so don’t do anything with them. Instead, genesis-music links to an online guide to Genesis bootlegs, and then continues
As for how to get hold of the recordings: start by joining the Yahoo Group “Genesis Trades” […]
Otherwise, try asking in the “Boot Info and Exchange” forum! More often than not, someone will be only too happy to help you out, or explain to you how to get started in trading.
Only one rule – Don’t buy or sell (that includes eBay.) Anything that you may have seen for sale on eBay, at record fairs, or elsewhere is available for free through trading or weeding. It should also be remembered that the versions circulating amongst collectors are always superior to those being sold, often with better sound, extra tracks, lovingly created artwork and so on. Don’t waste your money!
All I can say is, wow, and wow again. o_0
Not all is well, though. Returning to the Community tab, we’re greeted with a list of most recent topics in their message board, some statistics for the same, and a poll. To view the boards, however, you have to register.
First of all, I don’t want to. Secondly, how do I know if I want to join if I can’t see what I’m getting? Playing along for a moment, though, the “Join Now” button tells me all the things I can do as a member, which do look pretty good, except for one thing – a “Premium Membership” costs $35.
Does anyone do that? Pay $35, or any amount, really, for such things? I don’t, and it annoys me that this otherwise excellent site – one of the best of its kind – asks for it. Maybe I’m just too libertarian, or cheap…