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Peter Gabriel - Us CD (album) cover

US

Peter Gabriel

 

Crossover Prog

3.62 | 491 ratings

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FloydWright
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Of all of PETER GABRIEL's non-soundtrack albums I've heard, this is one of the two best, either tied with or just behind Up. This is one of my more frequently listened to albums, especially the first three songs, which I play often as I'm drifting off to sleep. In its best moments, it is nothing short of stunning, as the multi-layered sounds wash over you. I would just love to award it five stars, sometimes, but there are (as is sadly typical of his albums) certain factors that preclude it from that highest prog honor.

Many of the songs have a strongly Middle Eastern / African tone that is extremely reminiscent of Passion; I often think of this as a rock "companion" to Passion, though not quite to the same calibre. It is the most heavily Eastern- sounding songs like "Come Talk To Me", "Only Us", and most especially "Fourteen Black Paintings" that are typically my favorites; these songs tend to be (to me) very calming and I have great admiration for the musicians that can play in the Arabesque style, where the scales have more notes closer together, requiring more precision and skill on the part of the musicians. And, of course, Manu Katché's drumming and Tony Levin's bass are fantastic. The lyrics are also very interesting to me on the entire album (with one exception), and have been well covered by other reviewers.

There are, however, a few problems. For one, the poppier numbers that are perhaps more disruptive to the flow of the album here than on most others of his. I actually do like "Steam" and "Digging in the Dirt", but there are times--especially when I'm trying to drift off to sleep--when I don't want "Steam" crashing in and ruining my relaxation. Still, these two are strong songs, and I have to give them credit, even if maybe they oughtn't have been on this album.

"Kiss That Frog" is the one track that truly sticks out like a sore thumb. This seems like GABRIEL's attempt at a radio hit, and comes off as clichéd and weak in comparison to the rest of the album, and I absolutely, completely, cannot stand it. The other problem with this album that loses it a chance at 5 stars is the sound quality. While I do admit I like the grittier, murkier sound sometimes, it simply doesn't measure up even to other albums of its same time period.

It's a shame for those issues--because I really do think this is one of his three best. If you liked Up, or most especially Passion, be sure to pick up Us.

FloydWright | 4/5 |

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