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Peter Gabriel - Peter Gabriel 3 [Aka: Melt] CD (album) cover


Peter Gabriel


Crossover Prog

4.21 | 939 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars For me, this album is the highlight of Peter Gabriel's solo career. Other albums of his may sport even better tunes ("Solsbury Hill", "Here Comes the Flood", "The Rhythm of the Heat" and "San Jacinto" are possible contenders) but none contain as fine as sequence as the first five tracks of PG3. Besides, "Not one of us" and "Biko" are not to be despised either!

PG 3 opens with the kind of drum pattern that would give Phil Collins his first mega-hit when he started using it for his own purposes on "In the Air Tonight". While it's hard (or even impossible) to say which of the two is the better SONG, "In the Air Tonight" or "Intruder", (you could argue Phil Collins came up with a more attractive melody) it will be obvious that Peter G. (ominously muttering: 'I am the Intruder!') offers us, on this very album, a series of portraits of (usually obnoxious) individuals desperately trying to assert their individuality. We're actually talking about quite a long series, which may have its origin in the protagonists of "The Musical Box", "Can Utitility", "Back in New York City", "Moribund the Burgermeister" and "On the Air". On PG3 all of these are joined by the resolutely irresponsible anti- heroes of "No Self-Control" and "I Don't Remember", and by the assassin of "Family Snapshot".

As other reviewers have pointed out, all these new characters seem to express their emotions through music which sounds clearly inspired, and which seemed more-or-less "avant-garde" when this album came out. Only after the fifth track does the album start to lag. "And through the Wire" and "Games without Frontiers" never sounded totally convincing to me. The latter, however, clearly shows that Gabriel was developing a political conscience - as do "Not One of Us" (one of the album's most powerful tunes, thanks to Jerry Marotta's drumming) and the album's final track.

In "Biko" I find the choruses really powerful and deeply moving: both the African choir sampled, and PG's own refrain which runs 'The man is dead, the man is dead'. Surely it was a masterstroke to combine this song's stately rhythm with sampled bagpipes: the best possible dirge any artist could have devised. PG's lyrics occasionally sound pedestrian, though. 'When I try and sleep at night, / I can only dream in red. / The outside world is black and white / with only one colour dead'. Hmm... Couldn't our man find some more striking words? When I think of Dylan's 'The Lonely Death of Hattie Carroll", for example, I don't find PG's version of a protest song particularly eloquent... But others obviously disagree: Robert Wyatt, for example, was sufficiently moved to record a cover version of Gabriel's tune.

fuxi | 4/5 |


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