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Genesis - Mama

I can't see you mama
But I can hardly wait
Ooh to touch and to feel you mama
Oh I just can't keep away
In the heat and the steam of the city
Oh it's got me running and I just can't brake
So say you'll help me mama
Cos it's getting so hard - oh

Now I can't keep you mama
But I know you're always there
You listen, you teach me mama
And I know inside you care
So get down, down here beside me
Oh you aint going nowhere
No I wont hurt you mama
But it's getting so hard - oh

Ha ha, ha ha ha ha, ha ha, argh
Ha ha, ha ha ha ha, ha ha, argh

Can't you see me here mama
Mama mama mama please
Can't you feel my heart
Can't you feel my heart
Can't you feel my heart oh
Now listen to me mama
Mama mama
Youre taking away my last chance
Don't take it away
Can't you feel my heart?

Ha ha, ha ha ha, ha, argh

Its hot, too hot for me mama
But I can hardly wait
My eyes they're burning mama
And I can feel my body shake
Don't stop, don't stop me mama
Oh make the pain, make it go away - hey
No I wont hurt you mama
But it's getting so hard - oh

Now I can't see you mama
But I know you're always there
You taunt, you tease me mama
But I never never can keep away
Its the heat and the steam of the city
Oh got me running and I just can't brake
So stay don't leave me mama
Cos it's getting so hard - oh

Don't go no no, don't go
No no no, don't go...

"Mama" was the first single from Genesis' 1983 self-titled album. Instantly recognizable from its harsh drum machine introduction, which leads into minimalist synthesizer lines in minor keys and finally Phil Collins' reverb-laden voice, "Mama" serves notice that the album which follows will be considerably darker than previous efforts. It remains the band's biggest commercial success in the UK, reaching #4 on the UK Singles Chart, but was less popular in the US, only reaching #73 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also made #7 on the Dutch Top 40. The track also has a powerful final verse punctuated with a live drum kit (modified with the trademark "gated reverb" effect), comparable to Collins' earlier solo recording "In the Air Tonight". The song has resurfaced in 2007 as part of the Turn It On Again tour, albeit transposed down a key to account for the deepening of Phil Collins's voice over the years. The song's theme involves a young man's longing for a particular prostitute. The song is remembered by many fans for Phil Collins' sinister laugh. On the DVD The Genesis Songbook, the band and producer Hugh Padgham revealed that the inspiration for the laugh came from rap music pioneer Grandmaster Flash's song "The Message". The music video for the song essentially plays out the lyrics, showing Collins singing to a mysterious woman while Banks and Rutherford play in the background. One memorable sequence involves an extremely evil-looking Collins, cloaked in shadows and illuminated by a greenish light, performing the aforementioned sinister laugh. When performed live, white lights were shone from underneath the stage so Collins could re-create the sinister laugh. There are at least four versions of the studio recording of "Mama": the original, full-length cut (7:28, released as a 12" single, backed by the full-length version of "It's Gonna Get Better", also from the "Shapes album"); a somewhat early-faded version (6:48, released on the "shapes album" itself); an edited version (6:03, released on the compilation album Turn It on Again - Best of '81-'83); and a heavily-edited version (5:18, released as a 7" single). The song was covered by Brazilian power metal band Angra (released on their EP Hunters and Prey [2002]), by the band Magellan on the 1996 Genesis tribute album Supper's Ready and by the Finnish heavy metal band Tarot as the second track on the single for Undead Son, the only single release from their 2003 album Suffer Our Pleasures.

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