Phil Collins was a very busy man during the ‘80s. Not only did he record four solo albums, but he equaled that productivity as ⅓ of Genesis, and this is to say nothing of his work as a sideman, producer and member of Brand X. Quite simply, the guy was everywhere. So it shouldn’t have been much of a surprise to see a bit of artistic burnout coming from Phil and his Genesis bandmates (let’s not forget Mike + The Mechanics and Tony Banks’s solo projects) around this time. 1991’s band effort We Can’t Dance is a mixed bag, but the airy ballad “Hold On My Heart” is an unequivocal highlight.
Phil Collins ballads can go one of three ways: you’ve got the forlorn heartbreak songs like “Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now”) and “I Wish It Would Rain Down”, the borderline disturbing songs like “In The Air Tonight” and “If Leaving Me Is Easy”, and plaintive, atmospheric tracks like “One More Night” and “Hold On My Heart” (interesting to note the similarity between the two videos in addition to the songs themselves). Despite a fairly cold, synthesized background, Phil’s singing cuts through with warmth. The overall effect is as soothing as it is sad, even as an anxious Phil is falling head over heels and telling himself to not play his entire hand at once.
To some, “Hold On My Heart” might sound like your typical sleepy Phil Collins ballad, but to me, it’s one of his most evocatively written songs.