"Ripples never come back" sang Phil Collins on Trick of the Tail, one of the last Genesis albums of note, from an era when the whole, hairy, progressive rock genre was being displaced by the withering sneer of punk rock. The song "Ripples" is a metaphor for the dispersion of nineteen-seventies introspective romantic optimism, "The face, in the water looks up. She shakes her head, as if to say, that it's the last time, you'l look like today...ey".
Song lyrics really do not need to say anything at all because they are there to carry the music forward through the linked structures of words and lines. The music of a song also does not need to be specific, to say anything in particular because, in the same way as a reader brings meaning to a text, so does the listener bring her own meaning to a song, usually by way of associative experiences and feelings at the time of hearing the music.
"Sail away, away. Ripples never come back" gives movement, any movement in the mind of the listener resonates with various memories. When a wave reaches a flat shore at an angle the point of impact travels sideways, although it is only an appearance. The observer supplies the apparent sideways movement as a product of perception and interpretation. Just watch a dog chasing and snapping at such an intersection.
After Foxtrot, Nursery Crimes, Selling England by the Pound and The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, Genesis managed the lovely Trick of the Tail with Phil Collins finally replacing Peter Gabriel completely on vocals. After that Genesis would never be the same anymore, "Ripples never come back, they've gone to the other side".
But all is forgiven Mr Phil Collins because around the same time you made the astonishing album, "Unorthodox Behaviour" with jazz-rock fusion group, Brand X. This record managed to express complex and intelligent ideas despite the complete absence of vocals and lyrics. The synthesis of Percy Jones's fretless electric bass guitar and Phil Collin's articulate jazz drumming sounds like the rustle of language.