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Peter Gabriel - So CD (album) cover


Peter Gabriel


Crossover Prog

3.84 | 681 ratings

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5 stars The mid-1980s was a trying time for music. Metal was dying a slow and painful death, drummers began looking like worried dinosaurs in the face of electronic percussion, New Wave had become old hat, Van Halen had suddenly become Journey, and Prog, well...

There were good things too; U2, Sting's mildly progressive Blue Turtles, and the rebirth of acts like Yes and Pink Floyd. But on the whole, things had gotten ugly and it was all one could do to hold on. In 1986, I was living in Los Angeles, God help me, attending music school and found myself staying in a cheesy but decent apartment. Money was scarce and new music was scarcer. So, when after a charitable meal at a friend's, he put on Peter Gabriel's new album, I was game. Though I was no big Gabriel fan then and only partly interested in prog rock, I was tempted by my buddy's insistance that I "Listen to how it sounds...", so I did. I wasn't disappointed.

And really, that's what is so remarkable about this record: how it sounds. The music? Brilliant. But it was the crystal waters and sonic exactitude that made 'So' the beauty that it is. The unstoppable 'Red Rain' rises out from Tony Levin's elastic bass and reminds of Wagner's sprawling depth and resonance. 'Sledgehammer' is a ballroom peach with Gabriel's self-effacing remarks, sexual symbolism and erotic stupor, and his duet with Kate Bush is a lovely if sappy number. More Wagnerian drama and soaring vocals for 'That Voice Again', the perfection and balance of love song 'In Your Eyes', his delicate tribute to the late poet Anne Sexton 'Mercy Street', and an absolutely searing picture of old bandmate Phil Collins woven into a sarcastic look at success in 'Big Time'. The odd 'We Do What We're Told' ends things somberly, but not enough to spoil one of the best sounding albums in music history, maybe *the* best.

Atavachron | 5/5 |


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