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The lyrics, written by Mike Rutherford, deal with a man who does nothing more than watch his television, so much that he becomes obsessed with the people he watches on it, believing them to be his friends.
The song is also characterised by a rhythmic structure uncharacteristically complex for pop music, with verse/chorus sections in alternating time signatures, 6/4 to 7/4 (13/4), while the intro and bridge sections are in 4/4 and 5/4 (9/4).
"Turn It On Again" has been a favourite in Genesis's live shows. Consequently, the group's 1999 compilation album Turn It On Again: The Hits was named after it, as was the band's 2007 Turn It On Again: The Tour reunion Tour.