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


Peter Gabriel


Crossover Prog

4.20 | 915 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Peter Gabriel left Genesis following the massive album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway to pursue a solo career. His first two solo albums were a mixture of pop and moderately progressive rock. His third one was his first album to be released in the 80s, and it's one of his darkest albums ever. Featuring a wide array of all-star musicians, from Phil Collins to Robert Fripp, this album is a stunning timepiece that really could have only been done by Peter Gabriel at that time. The musicianship on this album varies from dissonant chords to melodic saxophone solos. One word can be derived from this album, breathtaking.

Beginning with the unsettling chords of Intruder (which really has the Fripp vibe circa Larks Tongue in Aspic), the steady drumming and the amalgamation of the surrounding voices and instruments (especially this shrieking guitar noise in the background) gives this song a very uneasy feeling. Gabriel's vocal is very sullen and quiet, but in moments he really shines with an unsettling cry (and some whistling at the end). No Self Control follows with very groovy vibes and tuned percussion, as well as a very sparse and claustrophobic guitar in the background. Gabriel's vocal here is bitter and sullen. The chorus is where the song becomes more involving. The guitar is a real treat here with some meaty chords. The drumming on this track is also superb.

Start is a short instrumental with a nice saxophone solo from Dick Morrissey, and some nice synthesizers from Gabriel and Larry Fast. It's a nice little interlude between No Self Control and I Don't Remember. This song has some strong synthesizers and a nice beat to it. Tony Levin is a star on this track with a great stick line that gives the song a great groove. Family Snapshot begins with some somber piano and some emotional vocals from Gabriel. The background saxophone creates a more intense atmosphere as Gabriel whales and sings his heart out as the song becomes progressively more intense. Add a great bass line and some great guitars and you have one of the best songs on the album.

And Through the Wire has some nice crying from Gabriel and some very steady drumming and bass guitars. The lyrics for this song are also among the best of the album. Peter really knows how to arrange songs as this song has brilliant quiet sections and uplifting loud sections. Games without Frontiers was the hit single from this album, and I can see why. Some great percussion and guitar lines mold nicely with the restrained drums and the very consistent bass line. The whistling ushers in the chorus, which has a menacing feel to it. Gabriel's vocals on this track are also very strong. Not One of Us begins with some great chord progressions from the guitars, and then the snare drum brings in the rest of the band. Once again Levin provides a groovy stick line that takes the song into many different avenues.

Lead a Normal Life begins with some nice percussion and a melodic piano theme, but once the synthesizers and guitars kick in, the song takes a more disturbing turn. The alternating musical themes in the song really make it a unique one on the album. This mostly instrumental track is one of my favorites on the album. And finally, Biko ends the album with an inspiring Gabriel vocal. His rough vocal on this track is complimented by a nice choir and some tribal percussion. The dissonant guitar in the background helps create a tense atmosphere and it really ends the album well.

Overall, 3 is one of Peter Gabriel's most experimental albums. The "no cymbal" idea works well and allows the other instruments to breathe in the more hectic sections. This album is also great because of its quirky instrumentation and the song arrangements give it a very Talking Heads "new wave" feel. It may be one of the best Peter Gabriel albums to date, and he only went back to this type of sound for his next album, Security. All of the songs are strong and I can find no weakness on this album. Masterpiece. 5/5.

Cygnus X-2 | 5/5 |


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