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Peter Gabriel - Us CD (album) cover

US

Peter Gabriel

 

Crossover Prog

3.62 | 346 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Negoba
Prog Reviewer
4 stars World Music and the Radio

Peter Gabriel could not have known how phenomenally the album _So_ would do commercially when he recorded it (he may have hoped). When it came to record his next formal album, he used his now- mainstream status to continue his ongoing work promoting world music. The resulting album, _Us_ is both consciously accessible and liberally decorated with world sounds that had taken center stage on his amazing soundtrack album _Passion_.

The album opens with Come Talk to Me, fueled by a driving African drum rhythm that at the time was quite fresh. (Not so much now in the Lion King on Broadway era) In fact, most of the percussion on the album leans on ethnic rhythms rather than rock, though the instrumentation varies from hand drums to programmed electronics. Sinead O'Connor provides very nice harmony vocals on tracks 1 and 3, which were reproduced by Paula Cole on tour (who used the appearance to launch her own solo career). Peter Hammill makes a vocal appearance as well, along with many of the world musicians Gabriel had used on _Passion_.

The singles were obviously composed to be singles. Steam, Kiss that Frog, and Digging in the Dirt use conventional structure and a decidedly pop execution. They ARE quite good pop songs and did well commercially. Though not as lyrically intense as some of his other music, these works retain the integrity his former band did not while fishing for success with "Illegal Alien" or "Invisible Touch."

There are a few challenging spots on this album, including the strange rhythmic chorus of Only Us and the dark ambience of Fourteen Black Paintings. There are no low moments on this album; the entire disc is extremely listenable. I loved it when it came out, and in fact I've played it so many times that I can almost run the entire CD in my head.

The only problem with this album is that 15 years later, the most challenging aspects of this album (the world elements) have been absorbed into popular culture. In that way, Gabriel succeeded in his mission. But it also leaves _Us_ as a very good collection of music but no more. None of these songs truly overpower you on their own, as San Jacinto, Biko, or even In Your Eyes and I Grieve do. Still, this is a very good album. 3.5 stars rounded up because it's Gabriel.

Negoba | 4/5 |

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