Peter Gabriel (1977)
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Moribund the Burgermeister A+
Really, it's the shear drama that gets me. That sort of creepy, crawly verses section that makes way for its huge, bombastic chorus that comes at you like a rapidly approaching rhinoceros. Of course it helps that the whole thing is catchy as all hell. I mean, this is a melody that sticks with me so much that I sort of try to help it along whenever I listen to it. Lastly, I must mention that there's a quirky factor to it that helps it grow especially endearing to me. (Indeed if there weren't a quirky factor or wildly creative edge to Peter Gabriel's music, then I might not be much of a fan of his at all!) Those funny sounding, high pitched synthesizers grooving away and those wooden blocks are all very fun... and I always seem to laugh inside whenever Gabriel gets around to talking in that low-pitched, rumbly voice of his. ...All in all, great show! Already this shows that Gabriel's regrettable departure from Genesis was well worth it!
Solsbury Hill A+
This is about as straightforward of a pop song that you could expect from Peter Gabriel, which is pretty darn straightforward. It also apparently contains the reason why he left Genesis, although I've never totally understood that. From what I've been able to gather it's something about an eagle visiting him on a hilltop who came to take him away... But anyway, what an excellent pop song! The melody is one of the catchiest things that I've ever heard, and the instrumentation consisting of a gently arpeggiated acoustic guitar and a flute riff gives it a sunny, pastoral texture. The flow from the verses section to the chorus is exciting to hear, and Gabriel sounds like he's excited to be singing it.
Modern Love A-
Not the David Bowie song... in case you were curious. This is another fairly simple pop song where Gabriel sings amidst some loud and heavy power chords. The melody is excellent of course; the hooks are as solid as ever, but I would say the star of this show is the boisterous and even quite growling vocals from Gabriel. He's what makes this song as exciting as it is.
Excuse Me A-
This one starts out as a sort of barbershop quartet before turning into a bouncy, music hall ditty... I'm not sure what possessed Gabriel to do a song like this since I thought this style went out with The Kinks in 1969, but whatever! This is fun, and the hooks are quite strong. You can make a song like anything, as far as I'm concerned, but if you have a strong melody and make it fun? That's what I care about most. Yes it's true this comes off as a bit corny, but perhaps Gabriel had wanted to do a song like this for awhile? He has it out of his system now.
This one starts out like it's gonna be... er... humdrum, but then those bouncy tango rhythms pipe up, and I realize that this is going to be yet another awesomely absorbing Peter Gabriel classic. This song goes all over the place, too. When it isn't engaging in that tango rhythm, it's a rather gentle and sweeping ballad. Naturally, this being the late '70s, the main means of orchestration is synthesizers. He picks excellent ones for this; they provide body to the song, but they also don't draw too much attention to themselves. As far as production standards go, you'll be hardpressed to find too many albums that sounded better than this.
This also isn't the David Bowie song, in case anyone was curious. (I don't know what David Bowie's deal was... taking all of Peter Gabriel's song titles and stuff...) But anyway, here is another excellent ditty that I love listening to! This is structured a little more closely to what I probably would have expected out of him, knowing that the previous album he had been involved with was The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway... It's super dramatic, contains a few tightly textured arpeggios, and is structured in a complex manner.
Waiting For the Big One B-
This is a tricky one! And I've got to say that it took a lot of confidence for Gabriel to have pulled something like this off. It starts as a sort of ordinary piano jazz song... which isn't exactly something that I've been yearning too much to hear out of Gabriel, but whatever. It's there, and it's not bad. Gabriel's vocals are nice and lizardy, pulling off a smoky jazz performance as though he had been waiting his whole life for such an opportunity. But then these series of King Crimson-ish power chords pop up, which seems entirely unrelated to everything that he was performing beforehand. It's an interesting idea although unfortunately neither bits thrill me to death.
Down the Dolce Vita B+
Well this is more like it! But it's still pretty odd. Part of it of it is a loud, pompous and bombastic classical music piece with huge, dramatic crescendos, and another part of it is a danceable bit with hard-grooving guitars that automatically makes me think of disco. There's an unusual, atmospheric instrumental interlude in the middle that also seems somewhat overwrought. He creates an unusual texture in the final third with some wooden blocks and disconnected organ noodles. ...Again, it's a bit much, and it doesn't thrill me to death.
Here Comes the Flood B
This is more of a straightforward song than the previous two, although it also doesn't do a hell of a lot to thrill me. The melody is nicely written and nicely sung. The production is BIG, particularly the chorus where I hear an infinite number of Peter Gabriels joining in with an electric guitar that sounds bigger than the universe. Certainly, a song like this, and the previous two for that matter, showed that Gabriel had tons of ambition... But he still needed time to focus them on a more inspired product.
Peter Gabriel (1978)
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On the Air A
I've always liked this song. (That's not a particularly shocking way for me to start a new album review of Peter Gabriel songs!) Foremost, it is a loud and glamorous pop song that anyone who likes pop music should enjoy. However, it also has an interesting artistic edge to it, which makes it interesting to the rest of us. Gabriel's vocals are pure performance art, frequently screaming the lyrics off the top of his lungs in a way that makes the lyrics mostly unintelligible to me unless I'm reading along with them. He creates an interesting synth-texture in the background, which is sort of a poppier version of what we'd already witnessed throughout The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.) There's some rather rough and “artsy” synthesizers and electric guitars playing around to keep things edgy. The vocal melody is pretty great, of course. All in all, it's a fun and exciting thing to sit through!
I didn't want to make it seem like Peter Gabriel making poppy art music was all that special in the previous track review, because I think that must've been exactly what he set out to do when he left Genesis. And this is another good poppy, art song! The groove he creates for it is heavy with a pulsating bass, thwacky drums, a piano, and some rather vicious singing. And it's all catchy! Just a short song, really, as I suppose he didn't have good reason to extend it past two and a half minutes.
Mother of Violence A+
Yes, you can probably assume by this that my appreciation for piano ballads have escalated over the years. (When I first reviewed this album, 2004-ish, I gave it a mere 9 out of 10.) But indeed, I'm currently a total sucker for a good piano ballad. I also like neat uses of sound effects, which Gabriel does at the beginning of this, opening it up with what sounds like sound effects from a pond. ...The song itself isn't terribly unusual, especially since it sounds like a quiet segue from one of Genesis' epic songs. A piano plays arpeggios that seem like they must be jewel-encrusted while an acoustic guitar plays a gentle texture. Gabriel gives an almost whispery vocal performance, never really managing to completely grab my attention away from that piano (as it should be)!
A Wonderful Day in a One-Way World B+
The main “problem” I can see with this song is that I'm not sure where Gabriel was going with it. It sounds like a disjointed reggae tune (as if reggae generally wasn't disjointed enough). The sparse and disconnected groove never comes together and thus the song doesn't have much drive. Eventually a synth-bass comes in for the party in the chorus, and the song gets more enjoyable where Gabriel also comes up with a few good lines of melody to sing. Other than the chorus, I'm not a huge fan of this...
White Shadow A
...Really, this is just a cool song. Again, similarly to “Mother of Violence,” it doesn't sound too far removed from what Gabriel was doing with Genesis... with a little extra production work, it would have been a swell fit for The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. It has an extended instrumental intro, which gets a nice mid-tempo groove going with an engaging bass-line, some atmospheric synthesizers, and some texturally rich acoustic guitars. After a minute and a half or so, Gabriel decides to start singing, and we discover that it's a mighty fine pop song. One of the synthesizers in the background starts playing some vaguely Middle Eastern scales, which I suppose lends it a bit of intrigue.
What the heck is with this color? It's one of the colors of the rainbow, but I rarely ever hear the color used anywhere else. Indeed, it's the black sheep of the color spectrum (the black sheep, which happens to be the color of indigo). But good old Peter Gabriel must've felt sorry for that frequently forgotten color of the rainbow, so he wrote a song about it. ...Well, it's not one of his best songs. The pace is a bit lumbering, and the melody takes a little while for it to really take off. (And the only really good part of the melody occurs when he sings, to dramatic effect, “Alright, I'm giving up the fight.”) The lumbering groove starts to generate a few sparkles in the final third, and that's of course helps keep this song from being a drag on the album, but it's too little!
Animal Magic A-
If you don't know what else to do, rock! This is a pop song, which of course seems to be Gabriel's main goal with this album. He generates a little bit of dust with the piano-heavy groove and more of his convincingly dramatic and hefty vocals, which helps make this thing sound epic. I'm enjoying this, indeed, as it is a toe-tapper. However, I don't feel completely encapsulated by it, unfortunately...
Gabriel creates a texture here, more than anything, while he sings artfully over it. He has a mean and snappy bass guitar and a funk guitar playing a groove while some atmospheric guitars and synthesizers play some long-drawn-out notes in the background. Gabriel sings in a whispery low voice simple lyrics and a non-melody. ...So yes, if you're going to like this song, then it'll be for the groove, and the groove is good.
Flotsam and Jetsam B+
There's some flutes playing Medieval chords at the beginning of this song, which I suppose makes it pretty starkly obvious that Gabriel hadn't quite gotten over his Genesis phase. Although the song itself sort of wanders in a way that it never really captures my attention as such. The melody is fine, but I find it unmemorable. The textures are indistinct. But it's nice to listen to.
As I've said before, if you don't know what else to do, then ROCK! This is little more than an electric-guitar-heavy, groove-laden rock 'n' roll song in which Peter Gabriel sings his lyrics in a screaming manner. Of course it's nothing that'll make you lose function of your bowels, but it's a fun song. There's a little bit of Saturday Night Live saxophone thrown in there for good measure. (Who invented the Saturday Night Live saxophone, anyway? It probably seemed generic even in 1975, but what am I to do? Everybody knows what this saxophone sounds like!)
Home Sweet Home A-
This is a rather understated closer that would pass as a song between hits on an early Elton John album. (Now that I say that, I find some of those wails Gabriel does at the end of this reminiscent of Elton John, except he's squealing, for some reason.) I don't find too tremendous a reason to love this song to pieces since it is rather average for Peter Gabriel. The melody is nicely written, at least, so let's give it its due credit for that.
Peter Gabriel (1980)
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Oh man... Do you know how many times I've listened to this album? I mean, I've been very familiar with the previous two Peter Gabriel albums I've reviewed, but this is where the dude hit his stride. I can tell that right away with this opening song. The first obvious thing to hear about it is that large, pounding and menacing drum beat. ...Never mind that this idea for HUGE DRUMS got a bit tiring by the end of the decade! Here, it's done to give us shivers down our spines, like the creepy-crawly intruder that he's speaking about in the lyrics. Gabriel whispers the song in a devilish, sly sort of way, showing exactly why everybody sensible in the world says that he was a great performance artist. ...I mean, isn't he taking this role as a cat burglar a little bit to heart? ...Brrrrrr. And those of us who like overproduction, there's all sorts of little trinkets Gabriel scatters across this. Those unusual creaky sounds at the beginning of this... a mad xylophone solo in the middle... and ominous whistling at the end... There's so much going on here...
No Self Control A+
So the previous song wasn't really a pop song, although I can't imagine the pop crowd would have too difficult time enjoying it. I mean, it had those LOUD DRUMS on there for pete's sake. But this song, on the other hand, is definitely fit for some radio play, because Gabriel sings a catchy melody with some passionate and paranoid scream-singing vocals. ...Of course, it nevertheless matches the previous song, because it has a thick atmosphere and there's a definite unhinged quality about it. ...The first thing you'll probably notice is that memorable riff played either by a saxophone or a saxophone-ish synthesizer (I can never tell)! The second thing you're going to notice about this song is that it's orchestrated with an intricate xylophone texture, which comes off as dazzling. The third thing you'll notice are those gruff and grisly guitars that pop up for that detached chorus... Did I say this song would work well on the radio? ...Yeah! Why not? It has a strong backing beat, flashy vocals, and a catchy melody. What else could you want? ...And, I feel as though I must point it out. You can hear Kate Bush singing faintly in the background at one point! ...I MEAN, HOLY CRAP, IT'S KATE BUSH!!!!!! And heck, this is the album that gave her the idea for The Dreaming... she's admitted as much.
So, this is a minute-and-a-half long instrumental where some sullen synthesizers play along with a jazzy saxophone. The saxophone is in the same style as the Saturday Night Live stuff I heard him do on his previous album, but it seems far more contemplative and artistic and not so much cheesy. I wonder how he did that so well? ...I'm not always a fan of these minute-long instrumentals, but this one actually leads in beautifully with the next song...
I Don't Remember A+
In case you were curious, this is one of those albums I gush over... Why? SIMPLE. Because this is an artsy-fartsy album with dance music. Is there anything better than this? That rubbery synth bass and heavy, steady drums will get your foot tapping, if you want to, but there's plenty of other things going on that you can have a pretty damn fun time listening to this with head phones. There's a whole, thick array of synthesizers and electric guitars buzzing around creating a thick atmosphere. Peter Gabriel's singing continues to be completely mad, and he even makes great use of vocoder effects, which I suppose proves that such studio strategies had inspired origins. (Hear him scream “I really don't remember!” through that processing device, which makes it seem gritty and faded... It's cool...) The rhythmic electric guitar stabs keeps the song danceable, but it's creates another teeth-gnashing, menacing atmosphere. ...My god, I can keep on gushing over this thing, if I felt like it.
Family Snapshot A+
Yup, another A+. If I gave this song less than an A+, I would have to morph into a different person. ...You know, like somebody normal... I really liked Peter Gabriel's piano ballad in his previous album, but even that was nothing like this! It starts out simply with Gabriel singing with a husky voice to a sort of sparse piano. But then it builds up, very gracefully, into a full-on dance song... It's like one of those huge crescendos I kept talking about in Genesis albums, except you can dance to this one! ...And what the heck! That SAXOPHONE!! Hearing that thing blare up during that driving beat is one of the most memorable things about this. The lyrics are also great, and that full-on and passionate way in which Gabriel sings them are utterly magnificent. (“I've been waiting for this / I have been waiting for this / All you people in TV land / I will wake up your empty shells / Peak-time viewing blown in a flash / As I burn into your memory cells / 'Cause I'm alive”) ...Yes, something has burned into my memory cells. That saxophone!!
And Through the Wire A
“WHAT?!?!” you're probably asking yourselves. I'm not going to give an A+ to everything on this album? ...Come on, I can't come off like some sort of hopeless Peter Gabriel fanboy. I mean, I'm publishing this stuff on the INTERNET, aren't I? ...Seriously, this is another fantastic song. But the thick production doesn't quite fascinate me like the other songs do, and I also think he repeats that chorus a little bit too much. Other than that, it has a fun, danceable beat, those gruff electric guitars are a lot of fun to listen to, and Gabriel's loud and passionate vocal performance is—once again—utterly magnificent. So, I guess that means I'm still a fanboy...
Games Without Frontiers A+
This has been my favorite song on Peter Gabriel (Melty Face) for quite awhile! And no, that's not because you can hear Kate Bush on background vocals even clearer than you could hear her on “No Self Control.” ...And I never understood what she was saying until now... “Jeux sans frontières,” which is the name of this song in French. (I took French in college, baby! ...But I don't suppose that was so hard to guess.) The reason I've always liked this song the most is because it's hands-down the catchiest song of the lot. It's also far more playful than everything else—which was sort of rough and paranoid—and I like that about it. I don't care if the lyrics are supposed to have serious political metaphors. (“Whistling tunes, we hide in the dunes by the seaside / Whistling tunes, we're kissing baboons in the jungle / It's a knockout / If looks could kill, they probably will / In games without frontiers / War without tears.”) Oh, and that whistling tune! Did I mention that whistling yet? ...For some reason I think I better reviewed that whistling in a Katy Perry album.
Not One of Us A-
Uh oh! Here's another song I'm not going to give an A+ to. In fact, I'm even bringing it down a notch and giving it an A-. What's wrong with it, do you ask? ...Nothing, really. It's another nice dance song with a catchy melody and thick, paranoid atmosphere. What bugs me slightly about this is the chorus, which is pretty weak. It seems like it should at least have a different atmosphere than the verses portion of the song... but all I hear is the same old synth-bass, drum beat, and subtly grooving electric guitar. It picks up some steam at the end where the drums start to pitter-patter around like mad and they introduce a wobbly synthesizer. But that's not enough to make up for the fact that this is the least interestingly orchestrated song of the lot.
Lead a Normal Life A
I've always wanted to be normal... yes sir... And smoke a pipe, too! I was in the left-hand turn lane to get into the grocery store last week when I saw a guy actually smoking a pipe. He was so awesome! (Except that he might get lung cancer. But we'll all die someday, right?) This is certainly not meant to be a pop song, since it's based on a very sparse and artsy. A lonely, high-pitched piano riff plays along with a xylophone that sounds like it's rattling. Gabriel sings in the middle, and he's quite nice! Unlike these other songs, it doesn't end up turning into a pop song. ...Which is fine. Not everything has to be a pop song, you know. I love listening to this and the atmosphere it creates. Perhaps it's not the most awe-striking song Gabriel has ever written.
Now this is a mega-classic. Anyone who disagrees with that disagrees with life. (What I just said there doesn't make much sense to me, either. I wrote that hoping, maybe, it would get printed in a quote book somewhere, and I'll be famous after I'm dead.) This is sounds like Peter Gabriel's first major step into world music. The lyrics pertain to Steve Biko, South African activist (played by Denzel Washington), and the melody sounds like it could have derived from a South African folk song. ...And to make it sound even more worldy, there's some bagpipes and vuvuzela. (It sounds like the 2010 World Cup! What else could that buzzing instrument be?) Anyway, this song goes on for seven and a half minutes, and I hardly notice the time passing. It generates that much momentum!
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Rhythm of the Heat A+
The first thing you're probably going to notice about this album is that it sounds a lot like Peter Gabriel (1980) except there's nothing you can dance to! Moreover those world music undertones have turned into overtones... I close my eyes and listen to this album, and it feels like I'm stuck in the misty rain forests of South Africa. I hear tribal drumming, a synthesizer that sounds like a pan flute, and it's really all quite repetitive. ...Of course, Peter Gabriel wouldn't sic an album on us that ever gets boring. In the middle of the song, the drumming starts to get LOUD... then they get quiet again... and at the very end, they're completely GETTING IT ON. Gabriel sings like the dramatic bastard that he is. Like he's singing about the most important thing in the world. The purpose of this song isn't to deliver a pop melody, but I follow those string of notes quite well... The purpose of the song is the atmosphere, which I would say is nailed 100 percent.
San Jacinto A+
...You're really going to have to like soundtrack music to like this album. Most people who like Peter Gabriel are normal people who like his pop hits of the mid '80s. Just don't expect much of that here. This song starts out with a very heavily textured, jangly synthesizer loop. It still sounds like world music, except I can't picture which part of the world it comes from! (Hell, I'm not an expert in world cultures...) Since this is the '80s, there are some heavy synthesizers that play around. At first, they're a sort of distorted sound effect, but halfway through, they start to play these HEAVY and awe-inspiring notes that help make Gabriel's very dramatic vocals start to SOAR. It feels like I've been walking up a mountain for awhile, and I'm getting my first view from the top. ...Do you know how much I like music that gives me such imagery? The very end of the song features a disjointed synthesizer texture as Gabriel sings something “arty.” ...Sort of a weak ending, but I guess he was doing it to tie the tracks together, or something.
I Have the Touch B+
Yes you do, Mr. Gabriel... But not in this particular instance. There are elements to this song that I like very much. The melody is pretty catchy, and as always I like the way it's sung. But this is one of those rare times when I think he made a mistake with the instrumentation. The drum rhythms are FAR too clunky for their own good. They're quite loud and they have this dinky, tinny sound to them that I don't like. He should have lowered the volume of those things and perhaps did a little more with some bongos, or something. ...The background guitars and synthesizers create a nice texture, but they're hidden too far. ...This had the potential to be something great, but... just misfired...
The Family and the Fishing Net A-
...I don't know what it is with me and loud drums lately. Maybe I'm getting old! But anyway, this is an especially good song where Gabriel of course loves playing around with those loud drums. It's quite long-drawn-out, though, which I can imagine would be a turn-off for some listeners, but Gabriel always seems to breathe new life into it by either introducing a new rhythm or a different instrument that pipes in on the mix. It's the vocals, in the end, that are of course the main star of the show. And they're great, delivering a melody that's—as always—interesting to follow. Toward the end, there's a moody synthesizer that starts to reminds me of that ambient music that played through Myst. ...Didn't Gabriel end up scoring one of those games? Anyway, this is a good song. I wouldn't call it a masterpiece, but I like listening to it.
Shock the Monkey A
Some people don't like this song. And, for the life of me, I can't understand why! Maybe because it was a radio hit, and it's not quite as good as “Sledgehammer.” ...Well I won't argue that this is better than “Sledgehammer!” This is also notable as the first (and last) song of Security with any sort of pop hook. It has a catchy synthesizer groove, a vocal melody delivered confidently and soaringly by Gabriel, and even a danceable beat. All the same, it doesn't sound like he's given up his world music ambitions. The synthesizers in the background sound a bit like steel drums and its overall atmosphere still makes me think I'm in some sort of weird country. ...Of course the only two non-weird countries are England and America. No wonder those two countries are inseparable! (And then there's Canada, but that's basically America's little brother that annoys all the big kids.)
Lay Your Hands on Me B+
...Well, I like Security, but it's not like I worship the ground it walks on! Much of the time, Gabriel's synth-cinematics work very well. However, they also have a tendency to get just a bit long drawn out. This one, on a few occasions, sounds like it's about to lead up to something grandiose... sort of teasing me... but it never really gets there. The atmosphere is nice and thick, but in this case, I don't get that especially great sense about where it's taking me. I like hearing those loud, world-beat drums playing those huge rhythms, and Gabriel's vocals are dramatic. It's a fine composition, but other than that, this sort of plods, I'm afraid.
Don't you see why Peter Gabriel would become known for scoring movie soundtracks? Can't you just close your eyes to this and picture a peaceful field, or something? Like that spinning nun bit at the beginning of The Sound of Music? ...Wasn't that a great movie? ...But I'm getting distracted. This is exactly the sort of song that Peter Gabriel should make. An uplifting ballad! It doesn't try to dazzle us too much with complex musical arrangements or world music flavors (as much as I like those). It's just a nice song. Of course, the atmosphere is still quite thick. Expect echoey synthesizers and despondent bongo drums. If I had one complaint about this, however, it's that it's quite long. ...Indeed, this isn't quite as jam-packed with ideas as his previous album was!
Kiss of Life A
Well at least Peter Gabriel ends this album with a blast! And he almost makes this a dance song, too, but not quite as radio-ready as “Shock the Monkey.” The percussion is so busy that it sounds like he was playing off salsa music, or something. This is still very Peter Gabriel sounding, though, so expect some rubbery bass guitar, background synthesizers, and dramatic singing. It's only four and a half minutes, too, so nobody can complain this time around that it's too long-drawn-out!
Plays Live (1983)
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The Rhythm of the Heat A
Wow! This stuff sounds great! ...I mean, for a live performance, everything seems to be perfectly on cue. Those synth textures they create are almost equally as foreboding as it was in the studio cut. Peter Gabriel's vocals are fantastic and they never miss a note or a bit of drama. That loud drum section at the end is nailed perfectly. That was someone doing that live, I reckon, whereas the studio version had a drum machine. You can hear the audience cheering at intermittent times. ...But I usually like audience noise in live albums, because it gives me the illusion that I was actually there. ...And I really wish I was there!
I Have the Touch A
...OK, maybe I drank Kool-Aid between now and when I reviewed Security, but I actually like this version a lot better than the studio cut. The reason for that is the drums. They have a full-bodied sound that's fit perfectly for the stadium... They don't annoy me like those tinnier sounds in the original. The drumming also fits in better to the song's overall texture, which is also supplemented with a synth-bass, a lead synth playing a loop, and of course Gabriel singing in that full-bodied and dramatic way that he does. ...Since the drums don't bug me, I can appreciate how danceable this is and how catchy it is. Especially the chorus!
Not One of Us A-
At the beginning of this, you can hear Peter Gabriel dedicating this song to outsiders... So all you social misfits out there, this one's for you! I have a feeling there were plenty of those at this concert. This was before he made all those famous radio songs, after all! ...I'm somewhat off-put that the first song he sings from Peter Gabriel III is my least favorite one! But anyway, this is a lot of fun to hear in the stadium. The drums and that rubbery synth-bass create a groove that I'm sure practically everyone in the audience were dancing to. ...They also somehow manage to recreate that paranoid atmosphere of the original, and it's mixed well. (I mean, I even hear them chanting mid-way through! He must've had the whole band participate in that!)
Family Snapshot A
My only complaint about this is that he apparently didn't have enough money in the budget for a saxophone player to blare about during the crescendo like it does so memorably in the studio cut! But anyway, here's one of those great songs from Peter Gabriel: Melty Face that's transferred quite brilliantly to the stage. The drummer creates another danceable pattern that's similar to the original, but surely more suited for the stadium. The synthesizers sound moody and foreboding in the quiet parts, which I'm sure the audience loved hearing recreated in person. And the singing is fantastic. He hits all those notes from the original with the same full-bodied passion that he's always done ever since the early days of Genesis.
Wow! Peter Gabriel still remembers his first two albums! I'd have thought of the runaway success of Peter Gabriel III and Security that he would've left those two albums completely in the dust! He's also singing one of the best songs on that album, so that works for me. The bouncy beat is still there, and so are Gabriel's playful vocals. (That high-pitched singing he gets to doing by the end there is pretty funny, and so is that vibrating note he hits at the end. Clearly the man liked giving live performances.)
The Family and the Fishing Net A-
Well anyone who complained that the original from Security wasn't dance oriented enough might prefer this live version better! It has a few moments where he just lets it turn into a nice, breezy dance tune. Do you think most people in the audience were jumping up and down? Probably!
This is another song that Gabriel seemed to streamline slightly for this live setting. Although, I'm still kind of surprised he managed to recreate so much of the sounds! Whatever that winding/clicky noise is at the very beginning of the studio version can he heard (albeit faintly) here, and so many of those wobbly synthesizers from the song's main groove is right there. (But why not that ever-bending gong? Eh?!) The main differences are that someone plays a theremin, that synth-bass is quite bright, and Gabriel doesn't get away with whispering the lyrics. It sounds a little more suited for a Halloween party than the original! But I still like it. If you're making a Halloween mix with “Thriller” on it, I might recommend this one instead of the studio cut.
I Go Swimming A
What is this? I never heard this before! (Except those times I've listened to this album.) Well? This is a song that doesn't appear on any of his studio albums. Though since it's an almost normal dance song with a groove and upbeat stadium drums, I'd say that it wouldn't fit on any of those albums anyway. Except probably So, but that album didn't exist yet. But he would have had to disrupt the space-time continuum to pull that one off. According to Wikipedia, this version right here got some radio play back in the day. And why not? It's about the same thing as “Footloose” except it has a catchier melody, more passionate vocals, and an interesting refrain section with a busy percussion-and-synthesizer pattern. The chorus is repetitive (“Swimming in water! Swimming in water! Water all over me! Swimming in water! Swimming in water! Etc.”), but I'm with it!
San Jacinto A+
This is Disc II, just in case anyone out there still uses those antiquated “CD” things. ...Or maybe there's even someone left who listens to this thing on vinyl, which of course is from way back in the stone ages? Anyway, I'm sort of amazed that Gabriel's managing to recreate all these textures from the original albums! More often than not, I complain about live albums that vie to sound exactly like the original, but it's kind of cool that Gabriel pulled together a band that was able to do this. He even still has that part in this song, which I described in the studio cut, as sounding like you're looking off of a mountain! (“I hold the line – the line of strength that pulls me through the fear / San Jacinto – I hold the line / San Jacinto – the poison bite and darkness take my sight – I hold the line / And the tears roll down my swollen cheek – I think I'm losing it – getting weaker / I hold the line – I hold the line / San Jacinto – yellow eagle flies down from the sun – from the sun”) How is it that I hang onto every word he says? Especially the way he sings it.
Solsbury Hill A
Here's the album's second song from his pre-III back-catalog, and... well, he has to perform this, doesn't he! This sounds more synth-heavy and—er, '80s—than the studio cut. But what the heck? I like '80s synthesizers when they are playing catchy riffs! And you'd be hard pressed to find too many riffs out there catchier than the one to “Solsbury Hill.” The stadium drums and synth bass are still there, concocting another groove that's easy to dance to. Gabriel's vocals are on fire, once again. I especially like those chants that he's doing at the end, which is evidently completely winding everyone up in the audience as their cheers start to drown him out.
No Self Control A-
Now, this is quite a bit different than the studio cut. Not better, but it's different. The original was evil and menacing, but this version is more laid back. I wouldn't call it pleasant since it still has plenty of grime and grit to it, but the pace is slowed, the vocal performance is more *ahem* controlled, and the percussion section is more passive. Although the texture is still absorbing and I continue to like that melody. I'm not sure why he changed it, because I would have thought that he could have easily pulled off a show-stopping version of this.
I Don't Remember A-
Every lawyer's favorite phrase! (Oh, I'm so funny...) Anyway, this another surprisingly formidable recreation of the studio classic from III, except it's more instrumentally bare and nowhere near as threatening. (Why couldn't he have at least had a synthesizer player make those synth-fireworks we're so used to hearing at the end of the chorus?) But at the same time, the danceable quality of this is amped up slightly, and I assume people in the audience were enjoying the crap out of it.
Shock the Monkey A-
This must've been the song of the hour, because the kids in the audience are cheering a little bit harder here than usual. He also extends this out for seven minutes, not only singing the song in its entirety, but letting his audience sing part of it! I guess Peter Gabriel likes doing audience participation, which is great of course. As a sort of extended dance groove, this is fun, too.
Whoah, he's singing a song from his debut album that wasn't the hit! Do you hear that lackadaisical response he gets from the crowd after announcing he'll sing this song? ...Man, I thought at least more people liked that album! Well, they give him a bigger applause once its over, so maybe they were collectively remembering that album? Especially this ballad, which is one of the nicest songs there. But anyway, this is a solid rendition of it. The vocals are nice and heavy, and his synthesizer crew creates a nice atmosphere—especially during that soaring chorus.
On the Air A
From the second album! Woooo... There's more audience participation on this one, as Gabriel lets his audience scream out “ON THE AIR!!” back at them. I like that tight synthesizer texture I hear in the background, and of course the danceable drums and bass are cool, too. Gabriel's voice, as always, sounds huge and heavy. One of the best singers around? Heck yes.
Wow! He did it! Pretty much reproduced this thing live exactly the same way as it was in the studio—bagpipes and all. I'd also assume this would be the part of the show where people held up their cigarette lighters. I mean, don't the lyrics call for it? (You can blow out a candle, but you can't blow out a fire?) The electric guitar is there, rumbling in around in whole notes while a minimal, African drums beats around. How is it that I'm hearing a stereo effect on those drums? Were there three drummers on the stage? ...I don't know anything about sound recording, I guess. But anyway. Cool song.
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At Night A
Eerie! If you like creepy soundtrack music, then I think I've got an easy pick for you. ...This album starts off in this dark, moody way and never really lets up. The synthesizers are echoey and low-pitched while this despondent drum machine loop plays in the background. The chords seem a little bit out-of-this-world (or, rather, somewhere in the rainforests, if those tribal peoples had access to synthesizers). Some listeners might miss hearing Gabriel's voice, but speaking as someone who listens to soundtrack music from time to time (in order to not get too distracted from homework or work), this is just the ticket for me.
Floating Dogs A
I've seen the movie, but I can't say I remember seeing dogs floating... Maybe it's time for a re-watch? (After seeing Bad Lieutenant, I've been feeling the urge to re-watch every Nicolas Cage movie I saw... holy hell, what a crazy-ass movie...) But anyway, this is more of the same. The synthesizers are dark and moody, coming in through mind-warping and bending waves that it's like I'm at a weird planetarium show. There is a drum machine bit in the middle, which is well-done enough that it actually gets the old feet taping. I almost start to think an early '80s Genesis song is about to pop up, or something! (Oh my! Was Peter still listening to their records?)
Quiet and Alone A
Whoah... that cold synthesizer splash I hear at the beginning of this sends shivers up my spine. I know Matthew Modine in that movie was tortured, but... can anyone really be tortured this much? Surely Gabriel outdid himself... This is another bit that basically takes my brain and sends it to some sort of dark realm.
Close Up (From “Family Snapshot”)
Well! Here's a one-minute piano revival of that great song from III. A song with the name “Family Snapshot” makes me think of a lonely guy looking at an old photo and remembering the days when he was last happy... Brrrrr...
Slow Water A
I've listened to a lot of soundtracks in my day (some of my favorite ones are by Vangelis), and I can't think of one that is more compellingly dark than this one. I mean, these synthesizers create such a spooky atmosphere, and it also completely draws me into its horror. It also makes an interesting listen outside the context of the movie. Although that wouldn't surprse you too much since the music was one of the movie's defining elements! Those dark pulses he creates throughout the song are utterly mystifying... As if those atmospheric chords weren't enough to draw you in by themselves...
Dressing the Wound A
...At some point, it's going to be to repetitive for me to always be pointing out that these songs are dark and moody. This is a consistent soundtrack, which made sense for the movie, because it was dark and tortured pretty much the whole way through. But at least this one has Peter Gabriel (very faintly) singing in it, which means that non-soundtrack fans might take more of a liking to it. But it's still very faint! The star of this show is, once again, the dank moods and the heavy washing of synthesizers. I can't imagine this sort of thing being much better than this...
Birdy's Flight A
This is the part of the movie where I hear “Not One of Us” start to play! Except I like this version better, because it doesn't seem so stiff! (I have to realize I'm probably alone in thinking that “Not One of Us” marked the worst moment in III...) It starts out moody and atmospheric, but very slowly, the intense groove starts to fade in. And it's as upbeat and maddening as ever.
Slow Marimbas A
Now, what would Peter Gabriel's early '80s albums have sounded like without the marimbas? ...Well, a lot less peppery, that's for sure. Here, those slow marimbas sound like raindrops pattering on the window. Those echoey and moody background synthesizers still sound like a freaky planetarium show. Even if you just listen to the synthesizers, they're playing notes that pique my attention. ...Gabriel makes moody soundtrack writing seem so easy, doesn't he? Midway through the synthesizers start to flare up and sounds like they're out of a misty jungle. ...Really cool.
The Heat A
The Heat = Rhythm of the Heat. This sounds more like the original than any of the others that came from his earlier songs. I'll tell you that I really miss listening to Gabriel's vocals, since they were so spot-on in the original... but he takes this opportunity to do some interesting things with it. The ghostly synthesizers sound like they're evil, or something, and that flare-up that happens in the middle is shiver-inducing. Moreover, the wild tribal drum playing is still featured at the end, and it's as wild as ever. ...Even if you listen to this as background music (as most people tend to listen to soundtrack albums), I think this'll be one moment that'll force you to pay attention.
Sketchpad With Trumpet and Voice A
You have to really like these synthesizers he picks. Not only is there a REALLY deep one throughout that sounds like a Buddhist chanting, but the are other ones that sound like a steam train whistling and others that sound like some creepy, soprano angel singing. Gabriel also lends his voice to this one, singing some very Middle-Eastern sounding, bendy notes. ...It's another atmospheric beauty. ...I know I'm giving all these songs the same score, but this is all so consistent! I'm waiting to get bored before lowering the score, but that's not happening...
Under Lock and Key A
Whoah! It's “Wallflower!” (Of all the old songs that he reprises for this album, I have to say I almost didn't recognize this one... which might be because the original sort of paled compared to other songs on that album.) But, this sounds beautiful! He brings back that twinkly keyboard that played “Family Snapshot” earlier in this album. It also sounds lonely, but perhaps just a tad more hopeful.
Powerhouse at the Foot of the Mountain A
This was a rewrite of “San Jacinto,” but only the end of it with those synthesizers that sounded like distorted wind chimes. ...So as long as he was reprising old songs, he's at least reprising parts that perhaps should have been expanded in the first place. It's dark, moody and thick. I'm at the last track of the album, and he never let that up. I'd say that's probably good reason to call this one of the most consistent soundtrack albums ever. And all of the textures are different from one another, so it wasn't boring, either. ...Well, for me anyway.
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Red Rain A+
Oh man... Hearing Peter Gabriel sing so passionately about “red rain pouring down all over him” seems like he must be singing about the apocalypse. What is red rain, anyway? I dunno... But if it started pouring down all over me, my next thought would be about the apocalypse. ...Oh by the way, this is a POP song that actually sounds good on the radio. Not only are Gabriel's heavy vocals in top form, but he's singing a melody that's so infectious that most people probably want to sing along with him. It's also easy on the ears, laden with processed drum machines, bubbly keyboards, bass-guitar that you can almost dance to. Well, sometimes such production is a bad thing, but I think Gabriel pretty much nailed it considering the atmospheres and textures are so thick that you can slice through them with a butter knife. This thing goes on for nearly six minutes, and I'm never quite ready for it to end. What a fantastic way to open the album!
I might not be ready for the previous song to end, but the song that follows it makes it an easy pill to swallow. This is probably the most widely known song of Peter Gabriel's entire career (did you really need me to tell you that)? It's also one of the very few songs that has a music video that's exactly as infectious as its pop melody is. Some might have found it questionable that Peter Gabriel went head-first into pop-music territory with this release... but “Sledgehammer” was a pretty good thing to come out of it, wasn't it? The production is just about perfect. The obviously '80s heavy drums mesh in well with the popping guitars and the wobbly keyboards. Even the female back-up singers are glistening. (Oh yeah... Peter Gabriel sold out so much that he's singing with female back-up singers! And unlike that time Bob Dylan used female back-up singers, these actually sound normal.)
Don't Give Up B-
This has got to be the most disappointing song on the planet Earth. Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush joining forces for a full-fledged duet with one another ought to have been like Jesus and Buddha coming together to write a sermon about love. I mean, Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush were two of the best singers during '80s, so why isn't their collaboration awesome? I don't know. But WOW, this song is boring. All those sparkly instrumentation of the previous two songs are completely gone here, and in its place we have boring, washy synthesizer tones. Gabriel and Bush are singing what amounts to a dull gospel derivative... the sort of thing that Mariah Carey would start singing five years later except she did it better. This thing goes on for more than six minutes and... geez, it tests my patience. Now, I've listened to this album enough times over the years, and I've never once pressed the 'skip' button through it. ...So I don't really hate it as much as I find it an immense disappointment. Definitely a career-low for Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush, both of whom I love immensely. (Don't give up! One bad song, but so much potential for many other great ones!)
That Voice Again B
Here's the problem with Peter Gabriel going pop: If he doesn't have a song that equals “Sledgehammer” or “Red Rain” or at least comes close to it, then it's just going to pale in comparison. In previous albums, he got away with relatively substandard tunes, because he made them artsy. There's nothing artsy about this song in particular. It's just Gabriel singing along with some keyboards and a rather involved drum machine pattern. The melody he's singing isn't memorable at all. The only thing especially good about it is the timbre of his voice, which at least makes it sound like he's singing about the most important thing in the universe.
In Your Eyes A-
Oh man. Do you know what this sounds like? An ordinary pop song. “Red Rain” and “Sledgehammer” sounded uniquely Peter Gabriel. But this sounds like it could have been written by... er... Hall & Oats. Or even Phil Collins. Now, you could be difficult with my argument and point out that the song features predominant African drum rhythms. That is true, but they're streamlined versions of his rhythms. Thanks to Gabriel, those things were becoming more and more popular by the mid-'80s, so their presence here doesn't seem so out of the ordinary. Nevertheless, you might have been able to tell by the rating that I kind of like this song. (As a matter of fact, it has grown on me very slowly over the years.) It also holds plenty of nostalgic value for everyone who remembers it in that Cameron Crowe movie Say Anything for that iconic scene in which John Cusack is about to chuck a boombox at a girls house, but the girl spots him just as he was about to throw it, and she finds it terribly romantic, so he just goes along with it. (It's been a few years since I've seen it; that's what happens, right?) There might not be anything special whatsoever about the instrumentation—ordinary drum machines, ordinary keyboards, predictable development—but it has a nice melody. ...Well who says Hall & Oates and Phil Collins couldn't write one or two great songs within their more limited scope? I'm no snob.
Mercy Street A-
This is another one that grows on you. It's also a lot less “mainstream-ish” than the previous song, and thus some Peter Gabriel fans are especially enamored with it. ...And I do like this song, but I still consider it far from a great moment for him. It's a little too long (scaling past six minutes) and basically does the same thing throughout. Now, the thing he does is pretty good. He creates a pretty neat, jangly texture with synthesizers that I hear tinkling about throughout the song. It's a lighter version of a typical texture he would create in Security. The melody is quite good especially with its chorus that has managed to etch itself in my mind. (“Dreaming of Mercy Street / Wear your inside out / Dreaming of mercy / In your daddy's arm again”)
Big Time A-
I've always thought of this as the weaker version of “Sledgehammer.” It's a bubbly dance tune with a catchy melody and decent '80s instrumentation standards... but not nearly as catchy or interesting as the latter. I might even find those synthesizer grooves just a little bit over-the-top. (I know I'm listening to one of the quintessential mid-'80s albums right now... but this is also one of those moments I sort of wish the norm in the mid-'80s were these obnoxiously loud drums and synthesizers.) But I do enjoy listening to this thing whenever it pops up. Don't you? The music video was good, too.
We Do What We're Told B+
This isn't bad at all, but at the same time... What is this? It's basically one giant fade-in. It starts out with a subdued drum machine world-lite drum machine rhythm. About a minute into it, there's a wobbly electric guitar playing some dark chords. It's not until about the 1:45-minute mark that Peter Gabriel starts singing “We do what we're told / We do what we're told / We do what we're told / Told to do”. Maybe he's singing about yuppies? (After all, I'm betting that guy from American Psycho bought this record. I don't remember him talking about it, but he was such a Genesis fan after all and I don't see how he could have resisted “Big Time.”) Anyway, this is OK, but it takes waaaay too long for it to get started. And once it gets started, it seems like it fades out leaving the proceedings unfinished.
This Is the Picture (Excellent Birds) A-
This is a full-on collaboration with Laurie Anderson who you all might know from her performance-art album from 1982 Big Science, which featured the single “O Superman.” (Anderson doesn't write very accessible music, and I think people at the time were scratching their heads over why that album became such a hit. ...Well, it's a pretty cool album! It's like a pop-rock version of Einstein on the Beach. What's not to like? But back to Peter Gabriel...) I can't tell how much Anderson inspired or Gabriel inspired. It sounds like a Gabriel groove from Security, but it's also very harsh and the lyrics are functionally spoken, which is indicative of Anderson. (To modify a phrase from Toy Story, they're not singing, but rather talking with style.) Peter Gabriel songs really ought to be sung, since he has one of the greatest male voices on the planet. But whatever. I sort of like this. It's performance art. The groove is OK, but it doesn't get my juices flowing too much. The sparse keyboards playing in the background give off an effective atmosphere. It's good listening, but nothing to blow me away.
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The Feeling Begins A
Well, the first thing that strikes me about this soundtrack album is that it sounds extremely Middle-Eastern! Most of us Westerners think of Handel's Messiah when we think of Jesus-music. Not these infectious, world-beat rhythms and bendy violins! (...Look, I'm bad enough about identifying instruments that I learned about in school. When it comes to these Middle-Eastern pieces, I'm just lost. ...So, I'll call them violins, and I'll let some smartie come along later and correct me.) ...But of course, the most important thing about this instrumental is how much it positively rules. It's extremely mystical and atmospheric to start, but pretty soon those spicy drum-beats start to swell up and take us to someplace magnificent! Frequently film music isn't very exciting, but not here...
This is a short track featuring some randomly played pan flute notes before some very deep and mechanical sounding synths come in to make it seem weirder. This soundtrack album kind of plays like one EXTREMELY long track. It was just a common courtesy that he split these up!
Of These, Hope A
Yup... If you're into these sorts of soundtrack albums then this is going to be one of the more fascinating moments for you. The nice thing about Gabriel's style of soundtracks is not only are they densely atmospheric, but they also have a veep steady beat to make them seem modern! (Or at least like one of Klaus Schulze's albums...) I hear a background synthesizer playing long notes that reminds me a little bit of "Biko." But of course the songs are nothing alike! The intensity level throughout this doesn't change a whole lot, but the background synths do seem to subtly change their intensity and there's also a point when we get a blast of drumming!
Lazarus Raised A-
The other thing about soundtrack albums is that many of the tracks are going to be quite short and thus cannot really be considered pieces within themselves. Like this one for example! All that happens is we hear some really mystical 'n' jangly synthesizers play while a Middle Eastern woodwind goes nuts all over the place. (Yeah, I don't know the real name for it... but I have a feeling that it was all synthesizer anyway.)
Of These, Hope (Reprise) A
Here's the next thing about soundtrack albums... there's gonna be a lot of repetition. They kind of have to do that to tie the scenes of the movie together! (And, oh, the more I hear that creepy, high-pitched pan-flute, the more it's going to creep me out!) It's also noted that these tracks all flow within one another...
In Doubt A-
Now this one just makes me want to play some Myst. It sounds like I'm exploring the machine-age, or something. I hear a wobbly, low-pitched synthesizer playing a mechanical pattern while these steamy whistles keep on blowing. ...I'm not sure what these machine sounds had to do with The Bible, but here you are anyway!
A Different Drum A
These tracks flow into one another that you almost wouldn't know where one tracks ends and the other begins. All that happens is that drums suddenly pop up! Now, just as you'd probably expect given Gabriel's previous work with drums, is that these are extremely well-programmed. They're sort of tribal, and they dazzle the ears. Midway through this thing, Gabriel's heavy and soulful voice pops up and it sounds like he's singing a soaring ballad. I don't think he's actually singing lyrics but more using his voice as an instrument. But wow! Even without the lyrics, it sounds like he's singing about the most important thing in the world!
This one starts out very dark and atmospheric (not really an out-of-place sound here) with thick sounding timpanis. I can hear Gabriel singing a little it in the background before I can hear bongos verrrry quietly start to build-up. Soon enough more, percussion instruments come in, and I hear some bendy flutes playing some juicy notes. ...Halfway through, I hear some synthesizer-strings playing what sounds like a modern-classical pattern. Those strings almost make this seem European! (Well, those Romans were European, weren't they...) Anyway, this is a mesmerizing thing that's amazing to hear evolve so gradually throughout it. It's like a shorter version of a Klaus Schulze piece. (And shorter usually is better!)
We got kind of a mystical piece in the previous track, but here we get a busy, and drum heavy piece. All that tribal drumming was enough to mesmerize me, but we also have some synthesizers slurping and humming in the background while I hear a filtered version of Gabriel's voice singing “Nyah, nyeah, nyeah-nyeah!” into it. So, it's like a pop song almost.
Now, we get another heavy synthesizer piece. There's not really a whole lot going on here, as Gabriel just creates a mystical mood and there are no drum rhythms to speak of. At some point, I hear a Middle-Eastern singer DEEPLY in the background. It's kind of cool. I've said before, even though this is a soundtrack album, there's quite a startling amount of variety in here. Besides, if you've made it so far in this soundtrack, chances are you're hooked on it and won't let it go. (Seriously, I was listening to this thing a bunch of times at work over the last few days, and it made those mundane things I've been doing seem like I was on a psychedelic trip for the Holy Grail.)
Before Night Falls A-
Before night falls, there are people rattling around jingle bells? (They're not really jingle bells... but I don't know what sorts of instruments they use over there in the Middle East. They taught me about Mozart at school!) So anyway, here there are those bells rattling around while a mystical sounding pan-flute and violin bend and noodle around in artful ways. Halfway through a percussion rhythm starts to pipe up along with a rumbly sound. ...Whoah.
With This Love A
Hey now! Here's something I can understand! It sounds like Bach, or something. (Actually about a year or two ago, I was listening to this Tomaso Albinoni oboe collection... Wonderful stuff! Anyway, this track reminds more more of that than it does Bach. ...But it's kind of a weird thing I know who Tomaso Albinoni is, since I'm not really a classical guy.) Anyway, it's been a long time since I've seen the movie, so I can't remember why Gabriel felt the need to write EUROPEAN music after spending so much time with world music. But WOW! It's lovely! It's composed with an oboe and more of those creepy background synthesizers. (Well Albinoni didn't have synthesizers... But maybe he would have wished he had?)
Whew! At some points I think I'm probably overrating this. Now, I wonder if there's someone going to come along and wonder why I only gave an A- to this song! ...Well, the mood this thing creates is undeniable. You'll hear basically a lot of heavy synthesizers flowing in and out of the speakers. Midway through, I start to hear a tribal beat slowly fading in along with some chanting. Now... let me ask you... why are they dancing around like that if they were in a sandstorm?
Another good one! Here is a two-and-a-half minute track consisting of someone noodling around atonally with a violin in an artful way. After a little while, I hear someone (possibly Gabriel himself? probably) singing in a bendy way. On the grand scheme of things, this might not be what you remember from this album, but if you've stuck with this so far and you're into it, this isn't going to bring you out of it!
Being the longest track of this release, you'd think it might be the album's masterpiece! ...or at least a sort of climax! But no... It's all a more or less ordinary part of this album's flow. In fact I wouldn't even call it one of the particular highlights. This is a long-drawn-out piece where you have a lot of thick and airy background synthesizers while a Middle Eastern singer bends his voice about in a mystical way. It's easy for me to sort of lose myself in it... which I suppose is the greatest endorsement of a soundtrack piece there is!
With This Love (Choir) A
As you might have guessed, this is pretty much the same thing as the earlier version of "With This Love" except there's a choir. ...A children's choir to be exact. I like the previous version better, but this one his also pretty great. It sounds like I'm stuck in some old Medieval church or something from a video game. It's quite calming...
Wall of Breath A-
This is incidental music that's perhaps not as intrinsically fascinating as some of the others. All I hear is some airy walls of synthesizer while a woodwind subtly can be heard making making quiet Middle Eastern noodles. It could have been boring, but it's short and easy to lose yourself.
The Promise of Shadows A-
Why are there so many tracks on here that sound like machines? Did they have foghorns in the time of Jesus? ...Peter Gabriel seems to think so! (What else could those huge blasts be in the background? It sounds like a battleship is about to dock...) But seriously, this is another insanely cool instrumental. Amidst it all, I hear some high pitched chatter noises slowly fade in and out. Seems like something freaky is going on...
Without a doubt, I just want to not really describe anything in these track reviews! If you've stuck with this, you know that these tracks really bleed into one another... This is just the part that begins with a mystical wall of synthesizer before an extremely busy electro-tribal drum rhythm fades in. Gabriel's always good about changing these textures around enough so that they never grow monotonous...
It is Accomplished A
This one sounds like it's threatening to turn into one of Gabriel's pop songs! It has a very poppy chord progression with flashy, stadium drum machines. The bells constantly chiming though this helps it seem like some sort of celebration. In fact I do believe I can even start to hear Gabriel singing verrrry faintly in the background towards the end! ...But that could just be my imagination...
Bread and Wine A-
Weird how this ends with what sounds to me like Celtic music! Did Martin Scorsese end the movie in Ireland, or something? ...I also feel that I have to apologize to all Peter Gabriel fans out there including myself for what I'm about to say, but here it goes: This sounds a little bit like the introduction to "My Heart Will Go On." ...but in all honesty, wasn't that introduction pretty good?
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