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Peter Gabriel - Shaking the Tree: Sixteen Golden Greats CD (album) cover


Peter Gabriel


Crossover Prog

3.86 | 94 ratings

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3 stars Crossover pop, that is

This album has not been reviewed in ages and it just so happens that I have been listening to it recently, so why not add a few fresh comments, even though most of what can be said about it already has been.

This is a compilation of Peter Gabriel's solo work from his departure from Genesis to 1990. Many reviewers contend that compilations start with an handicap because they are almost certain to include or miss tracks that people will disagree with, but this is not how I see it.

In my view, compilations are for more lazy fans who do not want to care about listening to the whole work of an artist and only want to go for the candies. Since compliations go for the candies, they are more likely to contain many hits or more easily accessible songs than studio albums, especially progressive studio albums which often require commitment and attention to an harmonious whole rather than to a series of separate, popular singles. In a sense, compliations are anti-prog by nature.

Then, Shaking the Tree is a pretty good album because Peter Gabriel produced many pop hits after his departure from Genesis. Putting them all together makes it difficult for this album to really miss the mark, even when it comes to non-fans of Gabriel. But because Peter Gabriel is an icon of progressive rock due to his work with Genesis does not make his solo work progressive music.

As a pop artist, one has to admit that Peter Gabriel is quite unique and original. He draws his particular style from many genres (except from... prog), and manages to create an original and artistic blend of sounds and melodies that catch the ear and the imagination. But apart from the originality of his work when compared to most pop artists, Peter Gabriel's solo work certainly is not an essential of progressive rock music, nor an excellent addition to any prog rock music collection, simply because this is not progressive music.

On the other hand, all 16 tracks on this album are different from each other, are very enjoyable, contain no clichés from the usual pop industry, and make a very good collection of songs from an artist who successfully made the transition from the progressive world to the commercial music world. Some songs are more melodramatic than the others, like Red Rain or Don't Give Up, allowing for a few intervals of atmospheric-oriented sounds through this series of up-tempo, feel-good radio hits.

This is as good an introduction to Peter Gabriel's solo work as you can get. Like his other compliation Secret World, it is recommendable to those, like me, who missed him with Genesis and yet still enjoy from time to time a good pop album that avoids the clichés and standards of many commercial music products.

SentimentalMercenary | 3/5 |


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