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Peter Gabriel - Peter Gabriel 4 [Aka: Mask, Aka: Security] CD (album) cover


Peter Gabriel


Crossover Prog

3.95 | 625 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Riding the Wave of Creativity to Success

When Peter Gabriel found his voice on his third solo album, it was no surprise that he simply took the sound and ran with it on the fourth. Named Security or Mask, the disc takes a few ideas (world music and pop) further than the previous album, but for the most part, the album is simply more great music coming from a similar place. Opening in dazzling fashion, the album settles into a collection of great work, solidifying the fact that III / Melt was not just a one-time gift.

1, Rhythm of the Heat - Perfectly named, this song is propelled by an African drum section pulsing like a heartbeat. I actually saw this song performed by a local prog group in the early 90's, which was one of my motivations for exploring Gabriel's early catalog. As the title suggests, the song is not only dark and intense (PG's forte) but also warm in feeling. It pulses with life and this slight tick towards positivity is the major contrast between albums 3 and 4. The vocal performance is top notch, Gabriel truly at the peak of his form. One of my favorite PG tracks ever.

2. San Jacinto - This may well be the prototypical Peter Gabriel solo track, almost universally lauded as one of his best. Intense vocals, great lyric, perfect dynamics. The programming is perfect on this song, and still sounds as fresh as when it was first released over 25 years ago. The 1-2 punch to lead off this album is one of the best ever recorded.

3. I Have the Touch - This song introduces Gabriel's pop sound, which is a bit more upbeat and danceable, with more obvious verse-prechorus-chorus-bridge structures. At the same time, the sense of texture, intelligence lyrics, and emotional intensity remain. Drummer Jerry Marotta gets a chance to fill plenty of space on this song to great effect. The song actually functions quite well on this album, placed between the intense openers and the most challenging song on the album.

4. The Family and the Fishing Net - If anyone thought Gabriel had completely abandoned prog, this song disabused them of the idea. A dark and twisted story song with spooky synths, this song's multi-sectioned, near-epic structure and layers are clearly a nod to the old fanbase. The only song nearing this one in the solo catalog is "Moribund the Burgermeister" on the debut.

5. Shock the Monkey - Again choosing a pop song to break the intensity after the very challenging fourth track, this was Gabriel's biggest hit to date. Despite its pop pacing and structure, the lyric and delivery are remarkably dark and disturbing. It's actually a bit surprising that this song was as popular as it was. In fact, it was the video that propelled the song, a pattern that would eventually gain PG superstardom on the following album.

6. Lay Your Hands on Me - This song plays a very nice balance between dark intensity and a more pop-styled chorus to create a song that is always better than I expected when I listen to it. A spoken word verse allows Gabriel more lyric freedom, using a face two inches away delivery to grab the listener firmly. The near spiritual chorus releases the tension without letting the listener free. A brilliant piece of sonic artwork which also showcases some powerful playing by Levin and Marotta.

7. Wallflower - This quiet, almost ambient piece starts warm and gentle and grows gradually. Continuing his long series of songs on depression, here Gabriel sings a near- lullaby for the victim to emerge. Whether this love song is directed at a part of himself or a specific person is hard to tell. The music itself is fairly straightforward, but very pretty.

8. Kiss of Life - Powered by a frenetic rhythmic track, this is another song that is always better than I remembered. An energetic way to end the album, we get the other end of the world beat spectrum that would increasingly permeate Gabriel's music.

Security is probably even more flawless than its predecessor, with every single track succeeding in its intention. At the same time, where III / Melt developed a completely new sound, IV develops the sound only modestly. This is possibly drummer Jerry Marotta's best album with Gabriel, and most of the new territory explored on this album is in the rhythm section. All the same, the songwriting is superb and Gabriel's vocal delivery stellar. Before coming back to the album for this review, I had intended to give it four stars. But the songs I had remembered as simple pop are actually quite compelling, and the high points are as powerful as ever. There are some who may bemoan that this is a less risky album than its predecessor, but for me it is still a masterpiece. That is, a true master of the artform creating his best work at the top of his game.

Negoba | 5/5 |


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