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Peter Gabriel - So CD (album) cover


Peter Gabriel


Crossover Prog

3.84 | 711 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Albums from my teenage days - pt. 3

1986 was a major 'breakthrough' year in my listening history. This LP was originally bought afresh by my sister but it became my favourite new album of that year - and still there are not much competitors. Probably So is one of the best known albums of the time, so I'll be quite subjective... The two big hits of this album (on which Peter goes soul and funk) were never up to my taste, but I'm very fond of all the other six tracks. 'Red Rain', boy how fresh and great it still sounds! The Police drummer Stewart Copeland's hi-hat is the cherry on the top. 'Don't Give Up', the tender and very emotional duet with Kate Bush, is criminally overplayed but it is an excellent song in the soft ballad category. 'That Voice Again' is the least known track but I have always enjoyed it. Especially the lung- testing long note in "only love can make LOOOOOOOOVE".

Two remaning tracks were my most loved ones; they both create a very deep atmosphere, and they both are inspired by a specific text or event. Melancholic and intimate 'Mercy Street' is honoured to the late American poet Anne Sexton. You can find the poem in question thru Google and estimate how much Gabriel uses the same vocabulary and imagery. 'We Do What We're Told (milgram's 37)' is based on the psychological experiment that revealed how easily an ordinary man or woman is made to do bad to other people if (s) he's told to do so. In short: the "tested" pretended to receive louder and louder electric shocks for every wrong answer, while the real object of the test were those who pressed the button. 63% were ready to use the deadly triple-X button after they were strictly told to obey the organizers in any situation. Knowing this story makes the mysterious track all the more moving to listen to. It's different from any other Gabriel track; without vocals it could be in the BIRDY soundtrack maybe.

Bonus track 'This Is The Picture' is a collaboration with Laurie Anderson; its style is closer to Laurie's output than Peter's. A fine track. - -- The fact that So was also commercially succesful doesn't erase its artistic value. Due to the success on both sides (sales and quality) it deserves a place on lists like "100 best records of all time". I could rate it five but Gabriel wouldn't have needed to be SO hit- seeking with the awful 'Big Time' in addition to 'Sledgehammer'.

Matti | 4/5 |


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