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Best Phil Collins Albums: All 8 Studio Releases, Ranked, Reviewed

Best Phil Collins Albums: All 8 Studio Releases, Ranked, Reviewed

Packed with pop-rock hits, the best Phil Collins albums prove why the Genesis frontman’s solo turn made him one of the 80s’ biggest stars.


Phil Collins’ solo output spans four decades and eight studio albums, each of which serves as a much-needed reminder of what makes his songwriting so beloved by fans. Thanks to classic soft-rock hits such as In The Air Tonight and Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now), the Genesis frontman has enjoyed a long and distinguished career, filled with era-defining tunes that have been loved by generations. Feel it coming in the air tonight, as we count down the best Phil Collins albums – his entire studio discography, ranked and reviewed…

Listen to the best of Phil Collins here, and check out the best Phil Collins albums, below.

8: ‘Testify’ (2002)

Containing hymn-like expressions of devotion for his then wife, Orianne, and his new baby boy, Nicholas, Phil Collins’ seventh album, 2002’s Testify, was recorded at his home studio in Switzerland, at a time when Collins noticed that he was beginning to go deaf. The album’s most successful hit was a cover version – a new take on Leo Sayer’s 1978 song I Can’t Stop Loving You (Though I Try) – and the album also boasted the synth-pop opener Wake Up Call, which helped it shift a million copies in Europe. Such figures may not have matched those of his 80s and 90s peak, but Collins remained admirably stoic about the album’s impact. “I am truly philosophical about this,” he wrote in his memoir, Not Dead Yet. “I’ve had more than my 15 minutes.”

Must hear: Can’t Stop Loving You

7: ‘Going Back’ (2010)

Described by Collins as “the tribute album I always wanted to make”, the 2010 covers album Going Back saw him tackle Motown classics such as Martha Reeves And The Vandellas’ (Love Is Like A) Heatwave, and 60s easy-listening standards including Dusty Springfield’s Going Back. With Collins seemingly energised and reinvigorated by putting his own spin on the sounds of his youth, Going Back is a joyous and endearing listen, avoiding the trap that most covers albums fall into. “For me it was a case of trying to recreate the vibe of that Motown era,” the singer explained. “It was something that I really had the best time doing.” Shortly after the album’s completion, Collins’ ailing health prompted him to give up playing the drums for good, which very likely makes Going Back the last time we’ll ever hear one of the world’s best drummers behind the kit.

Must hear: (Love Is Like A) Heatwave

6: ‘Dance Into The Light’ (1996)

As the first solo album Phil Collins released since announcing his departure from Genesis, Dance Into The Light found him stretching beyond the piano-based balladry which characterised his earlier work, and leaning more into guitar-based music in response to the popularity of mid-90s Britpop. “This is an optimistic album, full of brightness and colours,” Collins later reflected in his memoir, noting the added influence of world music, due to his love of Senegalese singer Youssou N’Dour. The reggae-inflected uptempo charms of Dance Into The Light’s title track sits comfortably alongside the Beatles-esque country-pop of It’s In Your Eyes, making the collection a vibrant addition to the best Phil Collins albums.

Must hear: Dance Into The Light

5: ‘Both Sides’ (1993)

Leaning into an adult contemporary sound, Collins’ 1993 outing, Both Sides, shares much in common with his debut album, Face Value, in that it candidly explores his relationship difficulties; this time, however, it’s his split from second wife, Jill Tavelman, that informs many of the songs, among them the album’s lead single, Both Sides Of The Story. Both Sides gave Collins yet another No.1 album in the UK, though he began to sense a shift in the musical landscape. “Broadly, the innermost thoughts and feelings of this haunted, guilty man are not clicking with the record-buying public,” Collins wrote in his memoir, “certainly not compared with the surreally huge sales of what has gone before.” However, with hidden gems such as We Wait And We Wonder and Everyday, Both Sides has much to commend it.

Must hear: Both Sides Of The Story

4: ‘… But Seriously’ (1989)

The best-selling album of 1990, … But Seriously capped off Collins’ golden run of studio albums, selling over four million copies in the US largely thanks to its US No.1 hit single, Another Day In Paradise, and the epic power ballad I Wish It Would Rain, which featured a guest spot from guitarist Eric Clapton. With a more soft-rock-inspired sound that eschewed the jaunty mid-80s synth-pop of his previous album, No Jacket Required, … But Seriously saw Collins grow more ambitious lyrically, tackling themes such as homelessness and social strife. As one of the best Phil Collins albums, it’s a record that the singer claims he had a good time making, and given that it was nominated for a Grammy Award for Album Of The Year, its success was well-earned.

Must hear: Another Day In Paradise

3: ‘Hello, I Must Be Going!’ (1982)

Capitalising on the initial wave of success that greeted his debut album, Face Value, Collins’ follow-up record, Hello, I Must Be Going, contains numerous fan favourites, such as Thru These Walls and I Don’t Care Anymore – aided in large part by the winning brass ensemble The Phenix Horns – which leads it to rank highly among the best Phil Collins albums. “I know there are some songs that are huge for fans,” Collins wrote in his memoir, reflecting on the album. “But there are no real stand-out memories of writing it or even recording it.” Nevertheless, the success engendered by a cover version of You Can’t Hurry Love, originally by The Supremes, bagged Collins a UK No.1. With Hello, I Must Be Going notching up three million sales in the US, it’s clear that the album was a pivotal release for the Genesis frontman as he continued to branch out into a solo career that would establish him as one of the best 80s musicians.

Must hear: You Can’t Hurry Love

2: ‘No Jacket Required’ (1985)

Doubling down on what would come to be regarded as Phil Collins’ signature sound – an intoxicating blend of pop-rock balladry and upbeat dance-pop – the 1985 album No Jacket Required spawned era-defining radio staples such as One More Night, Sussudio and Take Me Home. With guest backing vocalists including Sting and former Genesis bandmate Peter Gabriel, No Jacket Required became one of Collins’ most successful albums to date, racking up over 25 million in sales worldwide and making him a superstar. “I was one of the biggest pop stars in the world,” Collins reflected in his autobiography. “But at the time, on the inside, it didn’t feel like that.” No matter how it felt, No Jacket Required is one of the best Phil Collins albums for exemplifying what he does best – an 80s pop master at the peak of his powers.

Must hear: Sussudio

1: ‘Face Value’ (1981)

Pioneering the “gated reverb” drum sound that would soon dominate the sound of the 80s pop-rock, Collins’ 1981 debut album, Face Value, got his solo career off to a flying start. The earth-shattering drum fill on his debut solo single, In The Air Tonight, not only peaked at No.2 in the UK, but it also helped to introduce new sonic possibilities for rock drumming that had far-reaching repercussions. With lyrics musing upon his divorce from first wife, Andrea Bertorelli, other tracks such as I Missed Again and If Leaving Me Is Easy channelled Collins’ anger and rage into vital forays of art-rock that still merit repeat listens among the best Phil Collins songs. Going on to sell 12 million copies worldwide, Face Value has even been cited by the songwriter himself as his favourite solo album, and that’s why it more than deserves to top this list of the best Phil Collins albums.

Must hear: In The Air Tonight

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