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UP

Peter Gabriel

Crossover Prog


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barb_eggroll2
3 stars i gave this album three stars only beacuse i can't bare to give a gabriel album 2 stars. i mean this albums has some terrifying lows such as "the barry williams show" but let's take it from the start. this album opens with "darkness" one of the best gabreil composition in years. it reminds me of his 3 album beacuse of the frantic mood swings but it also shows that gabriel has litsened to what bends like radiohead has been doing this past 10 years. at this point the litsener fills like he's about to imbark on an advanture but before he gets to exited comes "growing up" which is a decent "so"or "us" pop song. then comes "sky blue" which is quite moving, a gentle ballad. no way out is a song that doesent really goes anywhere. "i grieve" is a very good song, it approches death in a uniqe way and shifts from deeprssing funeral music to an almost "ska" song.

on "My Head Sounds Like That" the experimental gabriel returnes to offer us a nice mellody which unfortunatlly is not inaf to make us forget the horrors of "barry williams show" which precided it. "more then this" is another half baked song with a nice "sting like" chours. "signal to noise" is a very strong track,with an amazing guest appearence by "ali khan". "the drop" is the best song in this album,peter sings gently over soft piano notes, he sounds a little bit like neil young on this one.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#23964)
Posted Thursday, November 20, 2003 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars No compromise, this album is definitely BIG FIVE STAR. Any of you who disagree with me should play it repeatedly and enjoy the total experience listening to this brilliant work of PETER GABRIEL! It's preferably enjoyed with loud volume. This might be the best that GABRIEL has ever produced in his solo career. I realize now that what my friend commented sometime in 80s: "If Gabriel did not quit GENESIS, he might go insane". My friend is right. GABRIEL is much better with his solo career. He has created a music of his own identity. No one can beat him. He created different kind of music; not a derivative of early GENESIS or even other musicians.

This album has been and will be my longtime favorite. It has a top notch production with many exploration of sounds in its tracks. The CD package is unique: no title at the CD cover but there is a sticker posted at the front side of the CD jewel. The other thing is that the disc itself has also no title; not even single character. It may confuse you as to choose which side will be put in your player. But if you are smart enough you would notice that there is a pink color spot at the inner circle of the disc which should be treated as UP side of the disc. Brilliant idea!

In this album, GABRIEL collaborates with many musicians with various musical backgrounds, for example STEVE GADD, a respected drummer in jazz arena. Also, he introduced new drummer GED LYNCH (drums) who supported him during GROWING UP Tour. MANU KATCHE, one of my favorite drummers also contributes in this album. This album still have DAVID RHODES (guitar) and TONY LEVIN (bass).

Let's talk musically. This album represents GABRIEL's exploration of his previous works. The music in this album is "discrete" and typically like the music of SAN JACINTO, WALLFLOWER, BLOOD OF EDEN, RHYTHM OF THE HEAT, THE FAMILY AND THE FISHING NET. Definitely, you would not find any song similar to SLEDGEHAMMER or BIG TIME or SHOCK THE MONKEY. You would not find any sort of "continuous" music that flows naturally as typical art rock music.

My best favorite track is SIGNAL TO NOISE. I cannot believe that human being could ever create this well-researched (in terms of sounds) and well-thought-of song. Every detail of this track is really great! Many melodies in its musical segments are really wonderful and memorable. When I spin this CD and reach this track, I always repeat this track 3 times (minimum) with my fingers keep adjusting amplifier volume to satisfy my enjoyment. Usually, I don't want to be disturbed by anything else when listening to this track. I'm so "entrance" with it. The tagline melody is great, combined with excellent orchestration at the background. The additional vocal of NUSRAT FATEH ALI KHAN is terrific. Many sound explorations are produced brilliantly in this track. I like the piece when GABRIEL sings "Turn up the signal wipe out the noise!" followed by sort of guitar rhythm and programmed drumming. WOW! What a wonderful piece here!!!! It makes me cry from my heart. (later when I got a DVD of Growing UP Live, my admiration of this track has increased dramatically as the live version is much much much better!!!). The ending part of this track is really stunning with orchestration and percussion / drums tone rising up until it ends.

Other tracks are also excellent. DARKNESS is a great opening track with surprising sound after quiet and silent keyboard introduction. The music is discrete at the beginning but when it reaches the part where GABRIEL sings "When I allow it to be / There is no control over me .." the continuous music flows in with great melody.

GROWING UP is an upbeat tempo track with sort of disco music, but it's nice. Tony Levin's bass guitar playing is stunning. Many strange sound effects are carefully produced throughout the track. SKY BLUE is a melancholy song with touchy melody. - The Blind Boys of Alabama contributes this track on vocals altogether with GABRIEL. NO WAY OUT has a funny sound of guitar with simple melody in its opening, great bass guitar and electric piano.

I GRIEVE is another track of my favorite. It opens with a percussion sound loop followed by heavy, low yet powerful voice of GABRIEL. Again, the music is discrete but it's very nice. All music instruments' sounds are not typically produced by typical music instruments. Almost in all tracks this kind of sound is produced. This indicates how brilliant GABRIEL is. MY HEAD SOUNDS LIKE THAT is also an excellent track. THE DROP is a piano based song. It reminds me to the piano version of HERE COMES THE FLOOD.

If you like PETER GABRIEL 4 (SECURITY) or US, you will definitely love this album. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!! If you have enjoyed this album, I will recommend you to purchase the Growing UP Tour DVD. Masterpiece!! I'm not yet fortunate for having a chance watching PETER GABRIEL performs on stage directly!! It's my dream. - Gatot Widayanto, Indonesia.

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#23973)
Posted Sunday, June 27, 2004 | Review Permalink
Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Much better than ' Us'. 'Up' delivers a fine set of songs as usual in Gabriel's conceptual way. Up being ,moving on from mortality and as we assume going...Up! Essentially a dark, moody, sombre set beginning with the abrasive ' darkness' . 'Growing up' follows and this is by far the most riveting body moving song on the album. Sky Blue is next and is truly beautiful using the Blind boys of Alabama on vocals. 'I grieve' for me the saddest but most poignant track on Up. This song was used in the movie ' City of Angels' a good few years prior to Up's release.' The Barry Williams Show' is a rip off of Jerry Spinger and shock TV. Why people hate this track God only knows.Remember ' get em out by Friday' and ' Harold the Barrel' or ' Counting out Time'? Much in the same vein and good to see PG have some fun for a change. The album ends on a high note with ' The Drop' recorded with warts and all. It is an exceptional song! Well PG reckons he has enough material for five more albums. I hope that will be over a span of 20 years not 50. Why? Cos time is not on his side :-) and the world is a better place with his contributions. 4 1/2 Stars

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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#23974)
Posted Friday, July 30, 2004 | Review Permalink
mashnova2000@
5 stars As an avid fan of early Genesis and especially Gabriel's voice I followed his solo career closely, from the 'cabaret-bombast' of his first album, the understated and underrated beauty of the second, the angst-drenched third, to the polished angst of the fourth outing. During that time I saw PG three times live in concert, stopped buying Genesis albums and was ready to give myself up to the master. Then came 'Sledgehammer' and I stopped buying Peter Gabriel albums. I still investigated in anything new he released, but was somehow disheartened. Until I saw his performance of 'More than this' on the Jools Holland show. It wasn't quite the quality I was used to in the Eighties, but it had something. So I went out and bought 'Up'. I put the CD in my player and shortly after I pressed the 'Play' button my ears went into overdrive. A distorted scream unfolds 'Darkness', a heavy beat and dissonant chords fill the room, as if 'Intruder' (from PG3) had been given a sound-lift. What was this? No doubt Peter Gabriel, and he had returned from the land of Pop Music. The track with all its depth and fragility left me breathless, so it was only natural that I expected the rest not be up to the set standard. But I was wrong. 'Growing Up' has an almost conventional beat, nevertheless the production is wonderful (as on the whole album), and the vocals and instrumentation are simply brilliant. If you need a track to dance to let this be it and forget about 'Sledgehammer'. What follows are three slower tracks, each one full of grace and beauty of the kind only Peter Gabriel can master. After this emotional trip the listener is finally treated to a pop-tune, 'The Barry Williams Show', a modern version of 'Games without frontiers', full of sharp observations and musical drive, miles away though from the mediocre coy funk of such numbers as 'Steam' or 'Big Time'. With 'My heads sounds like this' Gabriel returns to more experimental fields, and proves that he is a master in modern compositions. Just listen to the brass section in the track. 'More than this' is classic PG, a brilliant amalgamation of his early 80s sound and his more conventional tunes. By now you should think there can't more of this excellence, but 'Signal to noise' is simply the grandest finale Peter Gabriel ever recorded. Once you have heard this track you will never forget it, with the haunting voice of the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, soaring percussion and sweeping strings, that seem to spiral out into eternity. And before the listener loses him/herself in this maelstrom of sound, 'The Drop' calms the ears and soul. Yes, Peter Gabriel is back in my life (and in my CD player) and most likely for good. After repeated listening of 'Up' I actually went out and obtained all the albums I left untouched before (So, Us, Ovo) and now can even listen to 'Sledgehammer' without shivers running down my spine. By the way, if you have not had a chance to see Peter Gabriel on his recent tour, the 'Growing Up' DVD is an absolute must! Just like this album.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#23975)
Posted Thursday, August 12, 2004 | Review Permalink
Marc Baum
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars It's now 12 years that had been gone as Peter Gabriel released his last studio album "Us". So it was very interestening to wait for "Up". Could the ex-Genesis mastermind set new standards again? Could he introduce the music of the last decade in his sound, but without catching trends? The question on both answers is: yes. The opener "Darkness" is a changing game off beautiful refrain and disharmonic guitars with Portishead-character, and is one of the best songs in prog since years. All songs on this masterpiece move on to think about things, like the wonderful "Sky Blue", the very melancholic "I Grieve", which moves on at the end and makes a positive mind about moving on in life, or the short, just with piano underlined ending track "The Drop". Any tune or note on this album have hand and foot, and there is enough place to breathe for the unbelievable musicianship. But there is only time to wait, how many people will interest themselves for the in truth kind of word progressive music of Peter Gabriel in a more and more faster changing world. Here's nothing really hard; the album doesn't work as background music. But who will dive in in this trip, will be very rewarded. "Up" touches the soul. Which album really can this today?

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Send comments to Marc Baum (BETA) | Report this review (#23976)
Posted Friday, September 10, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars The 10 year gap really worth it. This record is more like an statement, a view of the mind, a showcase of perfection and common sense. With this record, Gabriel supported his crusade, of a fine exposure of world rhythms blended into the new sound formats of this millenium; DARKNESS, the opening song, is really a shocking piece, noises, silences, tears, voids... an introdution to the beatifully crafted GROWING UP, a mix of sounds, and feelings. SKY BLUE is a clear sad song with hope in it, very silent and slow tempos, NO WAY OUT, I GRIEVE and THE BARRY WILLIAMS SHOW are into the "classical "Gabriel sound, making them a very enjoyable and good mid section of the album, a strong line, leading into the controverted MY HEAD SOUNDS LIKE THAT, but with a little pace into MORE THAN THIS, and finishing with very emotional songs SIGNAL TO NOISE (with guest vocal by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan) giving a very deep and sad ambient, and THE DROP, a clear sound- off song, letting the mind be into an intimate space. So, being a record with such high end emotions is not a very easy task to hear it all at once, try to dig into it little by little, enjoying every piece. a jewel of prog, and music in general

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Send comments to arqwave (BETA) | Report this review (#23977)
Posted Monday, September 13, 2004 | Review Permalink
geopainter@ho
2 stars As a huge fan of Gabriel-era Genesis, and most of his solo work as well, i'd been long awaiting Peter Gabriel's follow-up to 1992's "Us" LP. Unfortunately, i kind of gave up the wait in 1997. Since the latest work, "Up", arrived 5 years too latefor an ardent fan, imaging how it sounded to a public who hadn't seen much of Gabriel for 10 years? The answer is, "it didn't sound like anything, because (a) few people heard it, and (b) those that did would be hard-pressed to find this very memorable".

The Sound of "Up" is darker, more claustrophobic than the songs on "So" or "Us", a definite return to the spooky density exhibited by Gabriel on his earlier LP's (notably "3" and "Security"). But where Gabriel's tunes used to inspire with latin or african rhythms and interesing sounds accompanying equally-inspired lyrics, "Up" is like throwing too much in the soup. The result is a barrage of disjointed sounds and vocals that don't communicate much except, "it's hard growing old".

There are some beautiful moments when the balance is right (for example "Sky Blue" and "Growing Up"), but they're outnumbered by plodding songs that don't touch a nerve even after many listens. Gabriel's albums have always been challenging to understand, but it's a challenge to like much of "Up". Basically, my sentiments are, "it took 10 years for this?" Nothing noteworthy in terms of themes or sounds. Instead, it's PG revisiting himself, but unable to recapture the creative spark.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#23978)
Posted Saturday, November 06, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars He has released this album after 10 years. This is masterpiece of the rock. World Music is horrible last time but peter is still great musician. All tracks are great. It is good that burn you up,burn you down hasnt been put to the up album. It is masterpiece !!!

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Send comments to Titan (BETA) | Report this review (#23979)
Posted Monday, November 29, 2004 | Review Permalink
FloydWright
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars It's not a perfect album, but extremely rewarding in the end. I'll begin by going ahead and getting the weaknesses out of the way, so I can move on to far better things. First there's "Growing Up", which, while it's not bad, I have to be in a specific mood to listen to. It seems like every PETER GABRIEL album I've heard (minus the soundtracks) has at least one song that is aiming a little too obviously to be a hit single, and on Up, this is the one. There is something a little bit contrived about it. The other track I don't really feel the need to listen to is "The Drop". There just doesn't really seem to be enough to it...while I appreciate the contrast to the more heavily textured parts of the album, it just doesn't do anything much for me.

That's the key thing I like musically about it--the thick layers which, although there is a lot of electronically-based stuff, there are also generous numbers of analogue instruments to balance it out. This keeps it from sounding too harsh on the ears, although I think a certain amount of edginess is intentional on GABRIEL's part. The unique textures of the various songs, the number of moods he manages to capture, is quite impressive. But once you factor in the lyrics, some of them can pack an incredible punch. In one case, I didn't fully appreciate it until suffering for myself the very experience he describes, even though I already recognized what a good song it was. There was something about it I didn't fully understand--but now that I do, it is incredibly powerful indeed.

Let me tell you something about "I Grieve".

He got it right.

I went through a period around the end of 2003 where it seemed like I was experiencing one loss right after another, some of which hit me with a completely unexpected force. It was only then when I was able to understand for myself the feelings he described and captured in his music, only then when I was able to understand the gyrations in the mood of the song. When you're in the worst part of grieving, there are times when you feel positively bipolar, and a bit afraid of this because your mood seems to be entirely out of your control. One second you are in the throes of deep depression--the next you're filled with elation and peace. But that peace evaporates on you the instant you begin to believe it might remain. Yes, things eventually do even out, but it's hard during that time when you almost begin to fear it never will. He's captured that extraordinarily accurately, and now I am in a position to say so fairly authoritatively.

The other highlights of this album are "Sky Blue", with an absolutely wonderful appearance by the Blind Boys of Alabama. You'll also hear a variation on this theme on the soundtrack album Long Walk Home, if that intrigues you. "No Way Out" is also very powerful, and makes a good prequel to "I Grieve"...perhaps this song is the actual moment of the death. But also, there is some extraordinary drumming at the end of that song, that I very highly recommend hearing. (By the way, if you like that drumming style, I suggest Broken China by RICK WRIGHT for more.) "More Than This" is another incredibly touching song, that in some way sounds like the beginnings of recovery from the loss you hear about earlier in the album. At least, that's how it feels to me after my experience. But the one with the most "punch" to it of all is "Signal to Noise", with its climax that absolutely must be heard to be believed. Another song I very much like, although in my opinion one of the weaker ones musically, I have to say it--the lyrics to "The Barry Williams Show" are just TOO dead-on accurate!

Overall, although this album isn't perfect, I do suggest picking up a copy because most of it is truly spectacular. Don't expect the soft, soothing sound of Us or the completely pop sound of So...this one has got intricate layering and sharp edges. In a nutshell, don't give up after your first listen. This one will grow on you.

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Send comments to FloydWright (BETA) | Report this review (#23980)
Posted Thursday, December 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
Henne101@hotm
5 stars This is a masterpiece! If perfection exists - this is how it sounds! With "UP" Peter Gabriel has made his best album to date. Quiet, melancholy and so rich on pictures - this record haven't left my cd-player for almost two years now and I think it will be there a good while yet! This is for everyone: The proghead, the one who appreciates good, visiual lyrics, the bass player (go Levin, go!), the HI-FI sound nerd (Jesus, what a production!)... everyone! On my personal "top 10 best records ever"!

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#23981)
Posted Friday, January 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a msterpiece, and a huge improvement from "US". Even after all these years Gabriel's vocals remain beutiful. The instruments are wonderful,and well put together, creating a wonderful atmosphere brining you from emotional highs to depressing lows. The theme of the album deals with life, and death in a very black and white manner, but also contains tunes such as "The Barry Williams Show", a sarcastic mockery of Springer like talk shows. In the end the music seems mellow and dark, but if listened to correctly which may take a few times the attitude is positive.

As always Gabriel's lyrics are brilliant, and he has once again reinvented "pop". Never has he doen an album as revolutionary as this since "So".

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Send comments to Rob The Plant (BETA) | Report this review (#23988)
Posted Tuesday, March 08, 2005 | Review Permalink
kunangkunangku
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars It took me almost two freezing weeks from the day I bought this album at a record store in Washington D.C. to finally had a chance to listen to it. A very long time in waiting, indeed. This happened due to the fact that I didn't bring any CD player when I visited the USA more than two years ago.

It wasn't (as in Bob Marley's song) a waiting in vain. First time spinned the CD: I was appalled at the uncompromisingly darkness keyboard sound brought by track number one "Darkness", and yet I was so appeased as there was parts with slow tempos and soothing melodies. This impression has always emerged every time I listen to it.

But darkness is not the only theme, as "Darkness" is also just the beginning of this incredibly, dense album. There are grief, meditation and almost anything people got when they delve deeper into their life and their mind, including hopes. This album grows stronger with every attempt to listen to it. Each listen reveals new moments and wider ground to anticipate what may come at the next attempt.

A decade after the last album ("Us"), Gabriel still has its uncompromising magic as a songwriter. And with contributing performances from friends and colleagues, including the great Toni Levin, this magic effortlessly transformed so many melodies to become powerful songs such as "Growing Up", "Sky Blue" and "Signal to Noise".

This album definitely is not to be missed.

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Send comments to kunangkunangku (BETA) | Report this review (#40017)
Posted Friday, July 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
Zitro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Peter Gabriel has surprised his fans by writing a progressive and experimental rock/pop album this late in his career. The line-up Peter brought to create this album is extensive and full of talent. Also, Peter Gabriel's composition skills and creativity were as good as always. This album brings back the claustrophobia and darkness from his third album (the melting face)

The darkness of the album is introduced by er. well ... "DARKNESS" and it is one of Gabriel's best tracks. All instruments seem to be distorted when the musical explosion commences (the first time I heard it, my body leaned back in shock). "GROWING UP" is Peter Gabriel's catchiest track on the record which might be an attempt to score on the radio. The melodies are rich here. "Sky Blue" has a genius melody done in a vocal harmony that stays in your head. "No Way Out" and "Grieve" are two dark, and melancholic tracks connected together. "The Barry William show" is a funny mocking piece about shows. "My Head Sounds like that" is am experimental melodic piece which unfortunately does not excite me a lot. "More Than This" sounds like an outtake from His third solo album, it is excellent. "Signal To Noise" is the masterpiece of the album, and my favourite song from Peter Gabriel. It has a great and haunting percussion that reminds me of Biko. It has a guest vocalist who used his unique voice as an instrument with extraordinary and magnificent results. And of course, it has that symphonic finale!

Highlights : SIGNAL TO NOISE, darkness, and Sky Blue

Led Downs: The Drop, My Head Sounds Like That

Highly Recommended!

PS : It is very challenging music that requires repeated listens in order to find the beauty in the record.

My Grade : B

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Send comments to Zitro (BETA) | Report this review (#43229)
Posted Wednesday, August 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Impressive! Mostly the album conscists of very cleaver arrangements! It is filled with small details that makes it interesting and fun to listen to. However, the starting track "Darkness" sounds too much nineties to be interesting for me today. Listen to the sound on "Barrel of a Gun" with Depeche Mode for example and you'll see what I mean. I usually start at track 2, and after that it is a very good album. "Growing Up" (the track) is just perfect!

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Send comments to 1971 (BETA) | Report this review (#59251)
Posted Monday, December 05, 2005 | Review Permalink
eh@uh.af
5 stars One of PG's best solo-albums. This one is kinda slow and sad, which makes you love it more and more everytime you listen it. This is far from "brains-to-rack" music. It makes you think. I GRIEVE him/her who doesn't like this.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#59259)
Posted Monday, December 05, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars I consider any other P.G album better than this boring, dark and over produced album. Eaven P.G 2 is more interesting and has better songs on it, all though it sounds more like a demo than an offical album. In the end its the songs that matter.

This one kicks of with the depressing but hopeful song Darkness. Its one of the better ones and reminds me of the older PG material. Other good songs are Sky Blue and the piano ballad The Drop. This album doesent rock at all. There´s hardly any good melodies eather. I Grieve starts up nicely but in the chorus you realise that it ain´t nothing but a collection of sounds. The Barry Williams Show with it´s embarrasing lyricks is just painfull to listen to, all though it has a deasant chorus. No Way Out or should we say Red Rain part 2 makes you wonder why he choose these songs out the 1000 others he wrote during the ten years after the Secret World tour. Signal To The Noise was probably supposed to be the master peace of the album. The dead guy singing thing doesent make me cry. More than this...is good if you forget about the silly lyricks. Is this the same guy who wrote So and Us? This is´nt experimental. There is nothing new here. Security is experimental, good sounding and real prog rock with real songs on it!

I´ll buy the next album anyway. This one was such a dissapointment after Us. Up is not a bad album. It has its moments but ten freekin´ years and this is what we get!! It still beats the hell out of another failed album called Testify from mister Phil Collins.

Waitin´ for the Genesis reunion.

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Send comments to esakasa (BETA) | Report this review (#60182)
Posted Monday, December 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
Chicapah
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars If you want to scare the holy bejesus out of someone just slip this cd into their headphones and wait about ten seconds. "Darkness" is frightening in its bleakness and a lot like tiptoeing through a haunted house. I, too, had waited 12 years since the inspiring "Us" had thrilled me and I naively expected more of the same from Mr. Gabriel. Not so. In fact, it is such a departure from his previous albums that at first I didn't know whether I liked it at all. But repeated listenings have endeared it to me. I must be in the minority from what I've read on this forum but I like "Barry Williams Show" because it is true satire in the same vein as "Big Time" and "Games without Frontiers." And the funky track is perfect. What a show... Another stand out is "More than this" which is one of his most infectious melodies ever as it builds both musically and lyrically. But it is "Signal to Noise" that elevates this endeavor to majestic heights. It pulls you along with its mysterious sounds until the introduction of the complex symphonic score that ascends into the stratosphere. It literally takes your breath away with its unorthodox chordings. If Peter had any leanings toward repeating the commercial success he had with "Sledgehammer" and "Steam" he definitely worked them out of his system long before putting this odd collection of songs on the market. And for that I applaud him. It was time to move on and he did. He took the high road and recorded what he had found in his heart and soul, not what his record company was probably begging him to produce.

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Send comments to Chicapah (BETA) | Report this review (#76280)
Posted Tuesday, April 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
Trybiszon@int
5 stars Work of ART! The fans have been waiting for UP for years, bt it was worth every single day. There aren't many artists knowing how to use electronics to creae a warm mood - Gabriel is a specialist. There aren't many ones, that know how to mix modern music with ethnic species - Gabriel did it twice (gospel choir in SKY BLUE - what a piece!, and Arab chanting in SIGNAL TO NOISE). Every song has a melody to remember, not beause of its simplicity, but rather beauty, every composition is cread basing on different ideas and one more thing - Gabriel's voice, better than ever before.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#80865)
Posted Saturday, June 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album really is good. I have heard many say that this record will sound dated in 10 years, due to the over-the-top futuristic (for 2002) production. Well, that may be true, but the same goes for nearly every Peter Gabriel record. His productions have always pushed the sonic envelope, usually to great effect, as on the excellent "3" album.

Certainly, there are a few clunkers here, but the only one really worthy of mention is "The Barry Williams Show", which is on the verge of being a cool pop song, but falls into the Atrocious category instead. Mr. Gabriel is always, to me, teetering on the brink of contrived schtick while flirting with true artistic genius.

All in all, this is a worthy album for Peter Gabriel fans, but really not one that I would recommend to the uninitiated.

AN ASIDE: I am certain that this is not the place to do this, but this is a desparate plea for some help with this site. I cannot confirm my forum registration! I have tried dozens of times to have the system send me a confirmation email, and an email never arrives in my inbox! My apologies for writing this here, but I have simply found no other means of communication with anyone connected with Prog Archives. If anyone can help me, please email me at wurlyburd@hotmail.com

feel free to delete or edit this review. THANKS!

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Send comments to mootbooxle (BETA) | Report this review (#82041)
Posted Monday, June 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars For sure the best PG solo album!!! Gabriel 4 was my fave until this one easily knocked it off that perch. The opening track "Darkness" is an incredible psychoanalysis of himself - better than "Digging in the Dirt". "Growing Up" - great cross-over from a guy in his 50's! Newer artists today couldn't make as good a song. "Sky Blue" - just a beautiful song - wonderful backing vox from the Blind Boys of Alabama. "I Grieve" - the saddest song he's ever written. "The Barry Williams Show" - just great! A wholly cynical look at TV - it could have been written by Roger Waters. "More Than This" - has a very pop feel to it. "Signal to Noise" - HUGE. Best song on the album. I am amazed that after all these years, PG is stillwriting such incredible and relevant music. He is one of the giants of Prog Rock. RECEIVE AND TRANSMIT............RECEIVE AND TRANSMIT

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Send comments to Mcgraster (BETA) | Report this review (#85373)
Posted Tuesday, August 01, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Unsatisfied with the taste of modern music, Peter Gabriel set out on a pilgrimage to alter the elements of today's music to his liking, and bend the style of any genre he likes to his will. And this pilgrimage is named Up.

Combining elements of World Music, Blues, Progressive Rock, Classical, and even ambient-like electronic music, Gabriel delicately creates a touching, personal album of epic proportions. Near-catastrophic aggressive moments balance the serene, and strangely otherworldly atmospheres that this journey takes you on. World and ethnic influences make small appearances, but their impact is surprisingly effective. Lyrics that any human can feel, and relate to, not only live up to Gabriel's very, very high standards, but offer a bit of a variation from previous lyrics he's penned.

This album could not have been made in Gabriel's early career. Not only because of the electronic devices used to produce the sounds, not because of the excellent production and crystal-clear sound quality, or because of artistic limits that he may have had in Genesis. The sole reason I say this is because this music requires a huge amount of maturity, and understanding of human nature to produce. I often overlook later works by older artist, which is something I'm ashamed of. I can't bring myself to get a new Yes album or a new Jethro Tull album - but Gabriel has not only remained steadily artistic in his entire career, but he has actually improved since his early solo work.

It's very gripping and jumps around on the volume scale, with incredibly beautiful singing and textures. Memorable and recognizable melodies and riffs run amok. Again, lyrics are extremely sympathetic, and all effects and/or electronic sounds fit perfectly with the album as a whole (and individually, too!). Ethnic percussion, passionate vocals, and eerie moods seal the deal. The addition of the stellar Blind Boys of Alabama just put it over the top. In the end, there's no doubt that this album is a masterpiece, and an absolutely moving and touching experience, at that. The bond this album makes with the listener won't easily be broken.

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Send comments to Shakespeare (BETA) | Report this review (#89883)
Posted Sunday, September 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Up is the last Gabriel studio release so far. It is close to Gabriel's studio release "so". Again it's a mixture of ambient, pop and rock. Pretty simple composition and catchy tunes are the ingredients of an album which doesn't have so many highlights with the huge exception of the song "Sky blue". This is a wonderful song but the vocals from the blind boy from Alabama just makes it one of Gabriel's solo career most amazing songs. You have to watch Gabriel's DVD, "Growing Up Live" to understand what I mean.

It's one of the cds you can put when you invite people home for dinner since the music is atmospheric with powerful moments at times, emotional and not really demanding. It's a pleasant listen. However it's not essential. It may seem boring or too simple to many prog fans.

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Send comments to sularetal (BETA) | Report this review (#94065)
Posted Wednesday, October 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
Prog-jester
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars I thought of making a good hedline for my review.Something like "A Classic Progger makes an excellent Modern Prog album".Or "Bold Peter and his Bold band strikes again!!!".Or "Did I believe this dream?Or did I dream this believe?".Or "I have ny fear but it doesn't have me".Or "Life carries on".

Anyway, apart of all jokes, this is a masterpiece.First of all,you must bhe really grown up enough for this album - I bought it few months ago but came to this review only now.Forget about weird rhytms and signatures - Gabriel makes his Prog mixing World music with Modern pop and a bit of Dark Magic.He has created dark mellow emotional CD of excellence,and I can't see any reasons why not to buy it.

The album opens with "Darkness" - fine song with some moments of ocassional madness.Then "Growing Up" follows - the best song of the whole album.It is just flawless,it contains everything this album can offer,and it's the best prog track I can dance to!!! "Sky Blue" is most lyrical song - very fine lyrics and choir closer to the end.Besides it's the only song not in 4/4 on the album ;-) ."No Way Out" ,as well as "More than this" (reminds me of later Marillion), has the most mainstream harmony - it is easy to sing, and I'd chose them both as singles for radio/TV rotation."I Grieve" in 3 parts has wonderful lyrics - I must say that Peter is the only artist whose lyrics I understand from the very first listening (I'm not the native speaker of English) without any translation - they penetrate right into very heart.The optimistic "Life carries on" part is one of the most joyful tunes I ever heard - a ray of light in the realm of darkness."The Barry Williams Show" with reality-show atmosphere shocked me at first - I saw the video and found there more blood than in all Cradle of Filth' videos taken together!!!"My Head Sounds like this" ,unlike tracks 4 and 8, has the most frightening and unusual harmony.At first it reminds of Beatles,but then into something incredible."Sugnal to Noise" is the most dramatic piece, with strong oriental flavour and huge orchestrations."The Drop" is nice closing track - just to make you relax after magnificient "Signal..."

This is a Masterpiece.I hope Peter will manage to create at least something related in his future - he has not much time to hesitate ;-) Highly recommended to every grown-up Progger.Don't you dare miss that!!!

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Send comments to Prog-jester (BETA) | Report this review (#95908)
Posted Friday, October 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Peter Gabriel's return to form after the underwhelming album Us came in the form of Up. It may have taken a long time to see this album come to life, but the end result is one that is near perfection. Gabriel greets the new millennium well with a very modern approach to his music on this album. The crisp audio production and the well-conceived arrangements are a definite plus, too, as they help create atmospheres that go with many different moods. I would probably say that this is my second favorite album from Gabriel, behind the unbelievable third solo album.

While I can't say that this album is a masterpiece, it certainly has some overwhelmingly brilliant songs. I remember the first time I listened to this album (in particular the opener), I was in awe at what I was hearing. The mysterious atmospheres of Darkness soon broke out into a screech of guitars and right then I knew I was in for a wonderful ride. And it didn't stop there. Growing Up is a fantastic piece with a magnificent chorus and some great interplay between Tony Levin and Ged Lynch. There's so much to this album on every level it's hard for me to even describe the power that is exuded from it.

Even though the songs are generally pretty long (around 6-7 minutes), they are filled with depth, focus, and undeniable cohesion. That's what seperates this album from Us. Where Us, in my opinion, lacked direction, Up makes up for that with incredibly inspired pieces that move the listener on every single level. Take Signal to Noise, it's unsettling atmosphere combined with the harrowing vocals of Gabriel creates a shocking, if not thought-provoking tone and it really moves the listener (at least I was in awe at this song).

That said, My Head Sounds Like That and The Drop could have been a bit more refined, but the rest of the songs on this album are generally of the highest quality. Again, I can't say that this album is a masterpiece, but it's not that far off from being one. Mr. Gabriel will have a hard time topping this one. Highly recommended.

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Send comments to Cygnus X-2 (BETA) | Report this review (#109406)
Posted Monday, January 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
evenless
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars After the great "SO" there was the somewhat disappointing "US". After "US" Peter Gabriel treats us with "UP"!

Actually after owning "SO" and "US" I really didn't keep track of PG's whereabouts until my brother bought the fantastic live DVD "Growing Up Live" in 2003. This made me think that perhaps the preceding studio album of this awesome DVD could also be of interest. And I could not have been more right about that! What a magnificent album!

I came across this album on some CD/LP open air market in the city where I live in for just 10 bucks or so and decided to buy it instantly. When I came home I put it in my CD-player and for some strange reason it stayed in there for days. This strange reason of course was that "UP" is a very good album. Maybe even just as good as "SO" was some 16 years ago.

If you liked "SO" and "US" you should get "UP" and "Growing UP Live" as well. The only minor negative point, as Gatot already pointed out, is that if you would be familiar with the Live DVD already some tracks on this studio album might sound a bit "cheesy". It's not bad or irritating. The problem is just that PG is such a great live performer that now I actually rather hear most of his tracks live.

This will surely be an excellent addition to any music collection!

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Send comments to evenless (BETA) | Report this review (#109826)
Posted Tuesday, January 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Peter Gabriel is something else. Many people have great voices, many have great timing, many a amazing song writers, many are inventive, many combine all of these characteristics into one. However, few are able to imitate moods and colors musically as is Peter Gabriel. He communicates these feelings so fluently, showing an understand only parallel by few of his musical peers and the most learned in the scientific community. This I believe is the source of his cross-genre popularity, not the actual "sound" of his art.

I hear nothing to resemble pop on this album despite a bias which tells me there is. Gabriel takes his prog spirit and combines it with the sounds of world music. Now the world is a pretty big and diverse place, and so the album is also equally diverse. Heavy, airy, symphonic, electronic, tribal, all take a place in the album. Gabriel's voice has done nothing but improved since his departure from Genesis, and its at his peak on this release. He's parted ways with his heavily dramatic delivery, but retains his beautiful sense of timing and embellishment that he will put into his lines.

This is Peter finest post-Genesis hour, quite amazing given its release two decades after he began his solo career. When I listen to this album I give it no doubt 5 stars, but when I think about this album I only give it 4. And since this technically is a prog-related release, I will regrettably side with my brain and not my heart.

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Send comments to Equality 7-2521 (BETA) | Report this review (#110067)
Posted Wednesday, January 31, 2007 | Review Permalink
russellk
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This release caught me by surprise: I thought the days of new PETER GABRIEL albums were over. I'm delighted to be wrong.

This album (plus the track 'Burn me Up, Burn me Down', which was included on pre-release versions of the record) is a summation of GABRIEL's solo career. 'Darkness', for example, could have sat nicely on PG III, and similar places could be found in GABRIEL'S back catalogue for many of the other tracks.

Two real highlights for me. 'The Barry Williams Show' is an excellent jab just where it is needed: take that, Jerry and you rubbish bin merchants! And 'Signal to Noise' is about as good a piece of drama as GABRIEL has ever been party to, including his GENESIS days. No weak tracks, and plenty of strengths. But it's not a masterpiece. It looks back rather than looking forward.

I wonder if we'll get another one from the fabulous PG? And if we do, what will it be like?

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Send comments to russellk (BETA) | Report this review (#116075)
Posted Friday, March 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars While I'm not a huge fan of Gabriel's solo material I really like this album. It's much better than US in just about every way.

Dark. Brooding. Classy. Strange. Foggy. Painful. Elegant glacial unease. Just some of the words that pop into my head as I think about what the music sounds like and what it makes me feel. The first three tracks are simply stunning material for any artist but even more so for someone who's been around this long. "Darkness" is like a living nightmare, a song that begins in a shocking manner and nearly jolts you from your seat. "Growing Up" is more typical Pete but still quite good. And then there is the money shot. "Sky Blue" is a phenomenally gorgeous ballad and a song that nearly brought people to tears when I saw Gabriel do it live. Yeah, "Barry Williams" is a little topical and breaks the trance-like intimate flow of the album but it's a minor complaint and an aberration. Once past that track you resume the emotional deep sea dive that is UP. He also helps the material by giving the songs 6-8 minutes to breath rather than doing 3-4 minute tracks. I believe he made a conscious decision here to largely pass up radio play, both by the lengths and the dark moods and I respect him for that.

Before this album came out I had zero expectation that it would be good. I figured we'd get more video friendly pop schlock like "Kiss the Frog." I was wrong. This is a deep and dark album with so many layers of atmosphere that I owe Pete an apology. I didn't think he had it in him any more.

A shame that his friends Genesis and Kate Bush cannot pull off material like this anymore. 3.5 appreciative stars for not simply repeating US.

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Send comments to Finnforest (BETA) | Report this review (#121588)
Posted Thursday, May 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars it's been ten years since his last solo studio album and boy was it worth the wait. It is totally different from anything he has done before. Once again, Peter just changes directions, keeping his fans guessing where he's going. His voice is darker, he's older, he's balder, and he's filled out a bit (sorry, Pete, just driving the point home of how much you've changed, no offense), but the music has not lost a step in quality. He's still got that great subtle percussion going here. It is in some ways a more simple album than his other ones, in that much of it relies on subtleties and his voice, rather than many instruments and melodies. It's very mood driven. " I Grieve" is possibly his most emotional composition and one of his best a long, long time. It's not hard to figure out what it's about. It deals with death and has an incredible message of grieving but realizing that life "carries on" and how hard it is to do so. His voice has changed but still gives me chills. Every song here is great. Once again, I can't really pick favorites because he makes it so hard to do so.

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Send comments to White Shadow (BETA) | Report this review (#136359)
Posted Wednesday, September 05, 2007 | Review Permalink
Tapfret
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Half a good album

I jumped in the car with a friend of mine not knowing what was in the CD player, the song Darkness started and I was immediately intrigued. Once I heard PG's voice I was shocked, not his typical fare, and I was quite enjoying it.

Darkness is a hard driving number that fits its name. One of the most artistic pieces I have heard from PG since his solo career began. Growing Up on the other hand is a little more familiar as a PG song, dance oriented but holding the listeners ear. Then a series of very somber, soulful songs, Sky Blue, No Way Out, I grieve all three hold the listener in a trance fostered by the grief of PG's loss of a friend. Then comes the rest of the album.

The Barry Williams Show is a nightmarish dive into the world of daytime TV with Barry Williams as the Springer/Povich style TV host. Yes, Springer is bad, we get it Peter. It's a concept as worn out as the shows themselves. Basically the the album is over at that point. The enjoyment of the first 5 songs is so shattered by The Barry Williams Show that it is impossible to resume the album in its presented context. Its the curse of the skip button. I actually later listened to only the last 4 songs. My Head Sounds Like That is not unlike the second 3 songs, but lacks the sense of feeling. More Than This is a radio song that seems out of place, not as much as The Barry Williams Show, but out of place anyway. Signal to Noise is the most enjoyable of the second half, with string orchestrations that renew the albums energy, but a bit to late. The Drop is a melancholy closer with PG on piano and vocals.

This album is a prime example of how a poorly placed song can really scramble an album. 5 points for the first half, 2 points for the last 4 songs, I firm shake of the finger for The Barry Williams Show.

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Send comments to Tapfret (BETA) | Report this review (#143434)
Posted Wednesday, October 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Simultaneously modern and innovative, "Up" is probably Gabriel's best album to date, featuring masterful arranged songs which ooze class and emotion-- his vocals are more mature and poignant than ever before. Lyrically sound and sonically intense, the listener is treated to a usually dark palette of sounds which throb and slither. The first half of this album is probably the finest work ever, and I recommend these songs as a perfect place for a new listener to Gabriel's work.

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Send comments to Prog Leviathan (BETA) | Report this review (#145160)
Posted Tuesday, October 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
Raff
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I must be one of the few people on this site who definitely prefers Peter Gabriel's solo output to anything he did with Genesis. Even though some may vehemently disagree, I see his solo albums as nearly perfect examples of that notorious 'crossover' subgenre, blending mainstream appeal with more sophisticated, intellectual influences. True, some of his earlier work did indeed stray a bit too much into pop territory for some to feel comfortable with calling him a fully prog artist. However, Up is probably one of PG's most progressive offerings for years, and easily on a par with his Eighties classics, PG 3 (aka "Melt") and 4 (aka "Security"). After the huge commercial success of "So" (his most accessible effort by far), and the rather nondescript "Us", this is a strong return to form for one of the most stimulating, complete artists on the modern music scene.

"Up" is largely a dark, richly atmospheric album. What strikes me most every time I listen to it is the spacey, haunting overall slowness of the songs - the only exception being the upbeat, yet ultimately disappointing "The Barry Williams Show", which to be perfectly honest sticks out like the proverbial sore thumb. Gone are the funky grooves of the likes of "Sledgehammer" or "Big Time" - the closest we get here is "Growing Up", which is nowhere as catchy or radio-friendly as those two songs, though still somewhat 'danceable'. On the other hand, the rest of the tracks are intense, rarefied, and ever so slightly disturbing, providing a great opportunity for Peter to display his unique vocal style. The opening "Darkness" is a perfect example of the general mood of the album, stark yet intimate, with Peter whispering and pleading over the heavy, stop-start percussive patterns - almost a throwback to my favourite Gabriel opener, the disturbing "Intruder" from Melt.

While the standard of all the compositions on "Up" is very, to these ears two tracks stand head and shoulders above the rest: the beautiful, melancholy ballad "Sky Blue", and the hauntingly dramatic "Signal to Noise". Both songs, in their own different ways, have a deeply moving quality, further enhanced by Peter's masterful vocals. There is no doubt that his voice has really matured a lot over the years, and his interpretation of the intelligent, thought-provoking lyrics is awe-inspiring. In some odd way, I see this album as more 'vocal' than 'musical': namely, the voice seems to be the main instrument, and the music more of a background that adds depth and texture to Peter's emotional singing.

If I had another half star at my disposal, I would give Up a 4.5 star rating. Those who were disappointed by "Us" or "So" could do much worse than give this one a listen - Peter is back, and he'll hopefully release another album of the same quality in the near future. Very highly recommended.

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Send comments to Raff (BETA) | Report this review (#160481)
Posted Friday, February 01, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Something that strikes me as a welcome departure from what Gabriel used to do in Genesis but not necessarily better. Of course that is hard to beat. And this sounds exactly what Peter should be doing in the 2000's. Unique...catchy...beautiful...dark...all those things are generally good things and that is what he accomplishes in this album. Using some wonderful sounds and technology this is truly a forward looking album that still manages to not sound too polished

In particular...progressive dance music? Growing Up is a wonderful exciting trip...what a beat

In particular...enjoyable grieving music? I Grieve is heavy and beautiful but still manages to justify many many listens!

Great album and a must for Gabriel fans.

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Send comments to endlessepic (BETA) | Report this review (#165628)
Posted Friday, April 04, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars That album is a masterpiece of electronic-prog-rock! An extraordinary mix of trip-hop and rock. Very moody, very dark, very important for every prog-fan, who likes to search, to absorb a new kind of sounds, not only speeding electric guitars. And what important - each of Gabriel's compositions on that LP have some kind of message for listener. That's not just a step in twenty first century for Gabriel and the whole prog-rock music. That's also an album wiich comments our reality (Barry Williams Show!!!) and the condition of human being in our times. Brilliant work from Peter. I'm little scared, because I think he won't do anything like that in the future... Plus - the unique package with minimalistic photo on the front cover. Thank you, Peter!

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Send comments to PeteWarsaw (BETA) | Report this review (#185474)
Posted Monday, October 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
Negoba
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The Old Dog has some New Tricks

Peter Gabriel's album _Up_ begins with brief gentle rhythmic figure before bludgeoning the listener with a blast of industrial distortion that is the thematic riff for the opening song, appropriately named Darkness. The song continues to alternate between moments of catching your breath and spasms of pain, in one of the best musical depictions of depression I've heard. (Lord knows there have been many). The first time I heard this song, and then the entire album, back during a particularly dark time in my life in 2002, I was knocked back in my seat, thinking This is more like it. The old dog still has some life left in him.

This album was a long time coming, with Gabriel fans clinging to his soundtracks as the only new music since 1992's _Us_. Unfortunately, these didn't add a lot to his catalog that hadn't already been covered on the wonderful _Passion_ and elsewhere. In any case, I didn't have high expectations, but my brother (a bigger PG fanatic than me) reassured me. Well, _Up_ delivered completely. Along with plenty of the signature Gabriel sounds, with updated production, were a number of new elements, not least of which was the use of more aggression. A good example is "No Way Out" which updates his signature "Red Rain" sound with a low, twangy guitar riff along with Tony Levin's signature rolling bass. In fact, the whole album is darker than he'd been in almost 20 years, more personal and close.

Every song except one is excellent. "The Barry Williams Show," the first single, was a cheap shot in the bucket at daytime TV hosts, and a complete throwaway. But other more poppish singles such as "More Than This" and "Growing Up" are superb, up with any of his previous work. The song that is most often quoted, however, is "I Grieve" which had already appeared on the soundtrack to the movie _City of Angels_ 4 years before. (Yes I bought the album just to have the Gabriel song). The song is bonecrushingly sad and yet uplifting at the same time, an emotional masterpiece in a catalog that is filled with some of the most emotionally expressive performances in rock. I could go on. Suffice it to say, that each and every song stands on its own, but the album remains cohesive.

4.5 stars rounded down because you don't round up to masterpiece. Recommend completely.

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Send comments to Negoba (BETA) | Report this review (#209452)
Posted Tuesday, March 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
lazland
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars It is somewhat difficult to believe that this, the last true Peter Gabriel traditional solo album is now seven years old - talking about walking at a snail's pace!

This is a natural follow up to Us, and as rewarding with several listenings. As with all of the great man's LP's, the mood is as important as the quality of the songwriting and the musicianship.

Darkness, the opening track, is a good example. An almost silent opening is broken by a frenetic burst of noise, reprised throughout the track, and is a very introspective reflection on childhood nightmares and feelings. Gabriel's voice is quite remarkable.

Growing Up is the track from which the subsequent tour, and its follow up Again, took its name. My wife and I and some friends saw the tour in Birmingham, and we all agreed that we had seen genius. I, having seen him with both Genesis, and virtually every solo tour, was especially pleased. Again, the track plays on moods, and I think that the instrumentals are more advanced than they were on Us. I would not pretend that it is classic Gabriel, but it certainly does make your foot tap incessantly through the ghost section. Not in any way commercial, just very catchy and clever with a strong bass and percussion lead. My ghost likes to travel, and then the wholesome piano and chant, followed by a huge noise before calming down to a reflective period again. The mark of a confident and clever man, to be sure.

Sky Blue is one of those songs which makes you glad to be alive. An incredibly beautiful piece of music, with David Rhodes very much at the fore, sees Gabriel reflecting on the incredible power of our planet. The track moves along from the start at a deliberate pace, as if commentating on Gabriel's travels. Then, we hear the most incredible Gabriel chants and vocals, crying and letting it out, before the remarkable Blind Boys of Alabama (who accompanied Gabriel on the subsequent tour) come in to remarkably chant and lead the track to its denouement. An amazing piece of work.

No Way Out follows, and represents another huge change of mood. Not an exceptional piece of work, but it does, again, feature some articulate harmonies of voice, bass (Levin is a genius), piano, guitars, and keyboards, with thoughtful percussion. I do also think that Gabriel again is so passionate and makes your hairs on the back of your neck stand up when he moves to the don't leave section of the song.

I Grieve is, to my mind, the most important Gabriel work since the '70's. It encapsulates everything that I love about him, this ability to sing and lead a band to capture a certain mood. I recently had my old companion cat put to sleep. Silly, really, but I put this on immediately afterwards in tears as a bitter kind of tribute to an old friend and member of my family. Because, as he says, the love that we feel carries on and on and on, and when that love is expressed in such a perfect set of world and prog influences, it really does not get much more perfect. Life Carries On (and on) - a gloriously uplifting song which affirms the true love of life and the grief we feel when a loved one (of whatever species) dies.

The Barry Williams Show follows, and this is basically a send up of the American (and now, sadly, British) chat show Kings such as Jerry Springer. It's a catchy song, but easily the weakest on the album, simply because it really doesn't fit into the album as a whole.

My Head Sounds Like This follows. Very similar at the start, certainly with the brass, to tracks from Ovo, the Millennium Show album, it is, again very moody and dark. However, one listens with fascination to the most incredible Gabriel vocal. I love this man's voice - I have done since listening to Trespass, Nursery Cryme, and the rest in the '70's, and I think that his voice has really matured in the long intervening years. The feeling and the passion.

More Than This is a more upbeat track, with lots of sampled noises thrown in to a funky beat and vocal. Gabriel also, again, employs his trick of using simple piano notes to accompany very complicated bass, drum, keyboard, and guitar backdrops. A fun track, which clearly took many years and takes before getting to the finished article. An uplifting track which dispels much of the darker material that preceded it.

Signal to Noise is the track which, more than any other, uses the exceptionally rich world music influences that Gabriel has amassed over the years to such rich effect. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan supplies such incredible and powerful vocals to accompany the main instrumental. He died before the album was released, a testament to the fact that it was actually a gap of ten years between Us and this album being released. A remarkable piece of music, it has everything, including a thundrous drum and bass backdrop to a keyboard and string orchestration symphonic closure to Gabriel's vocals. Wonderful, this track closed the live show in such a powerful way. Essential listening to all Gabriel and symphonic prog lovers alike.

The Drop closes the album. Beginning with the kind of quite, single key, piano that Gabriel has made his own, it features a thoughtful vocal. It is a nice way to come down after the intensity of what went on before.

Without The Barry Williams Show, I would award this an easy five stars. However, that track, and a filler track such as No Way Out and the closer prevent it from being essential. It is, however, excellent, thoughtful, mood driven, and a perfect addition to any collection. Regrettably, it looks as if the long wait for a successor will continue for the time being.

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Send comments to lazland (BETA) | Report this review (#218054)
Posted Sunday, May 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars I have been going back and reviewing some of my favorite progressive albums down through the ages, and Up is one of those classic albums that still excites me when I listen to it. I can't give the album 5 stars because I think that the work continued to evolve after its release through live performance, remixes, and the like, but it is a solid 4 stars. I hope that there is an Up boxset one day that explores this album in more depth, as many of the songs have several alternate mixes that really change the character of the songs, plus the band that toured the album was top notch, and the songs took on their own life in the live setting as well.

The album kicks off with the dark, King Crimson-esque "Darkness." How a song can be so brutal and beautiful at the same time...it is startling. The dark edge is present through the entire album, mostly thanks to the playing of guitarist David Rhodes, but also thanks to the programming and keys by Gabriel.

There is some light on the album also. "More Than This" is a sparkling single, and "Sky Blue" has the Blind Boys of Alabama providing some incredible, joyful background vocals.

But it's the darkness, typified by the closing track, "Signal to Noise," that intoxicates. I really think that Up is the pinnacle of Gabriel's solo career, and if a deluxe version of Up is ever released (with the original mix of "Signal to Noise," the Martin Bennet remix of "Sky Blue," live version of "Darkness" from the Growing Up Tour , the Up version of "Burn You Up Burn You Down" and other tasty treats) it will probably earn a fifth star from me. Some people say Gabriel killed the album with his attention to detail and reluctance to finish it. I would encourage him to mess about with it some more.

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Send comments to sixpence-guy (BETA) | Report this review (#226236)
Posted Sunday, July 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars 'Up' - Peter Gabriel (9/10)

It's an all-too common misfortune for an artist's quality of work and material to slope downward in it's quality as a career moves on. The majority of the musical giants of yesteryear that still produce music to this day seem to have lost their creative spirit somewhere along the way. Maybe it was the taste and longing for past greatness that makes them try too hard, or the cold fact that age has caught up to them, it is a grim reality that time wears down on the artist's soul. It is my pleasure however, to announce that Peter Gabriel is certainly not an artist that submits to age.

It is safe to say that Genesis were one of the biggest bands of their time. Early in the youth of progressive rock, they were there to pave the way for generations of forward-thinking musicians to come. While Peter Gabriel is certainly better known for his vocal/front work for that band, it is also safe to say that the man hasn't lost touch with his muse. Adapting with the times of modern music, 'Up' is a very futuristic-sounding album, with very little connection to the past. Gabriel isn't trying to keep hold of one trick that works, he's making new ones here. There's a very industrial sound (Nine Inch Nails?) on the album here; something that most fans of the man's music wouldn't have expected from him. While the music is dense, and even noisy at times, Gabriel makes the music his own; something personal, and that really shows.

My favourite track on here would have to be the song 'Darkness' which deals with Gabriel's fears, and his quest of overcoming them. He goes so personal in his music as to dissect his psyche in the song, and present his inner self to the world. That makes for a very moving song. Other highlight is the ballad 'I Grieve' which also shares the intimate, personal quality about it, while still being complex in the way it's done.

'Up' isn't an album for everyone however. It's 'noisy' production (in a good way, though) and very different, almost industrial sound might turn some listeners off. What makes 'Up' so good is that it's an album that needs several listens to really appreciate. Its a very dense album sonically speaking, but the feeling encompassed is stupendous.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#238360)
Posted Wednesday, September 09, 2009 | Review Permalink
snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I missed my interest to Gabriel solo works somewhere after Birdy OST. I liked earlier Gabriel albums, but slowly his music became too much predictable and repetative for me ( Birdy was perfect examption).

So I returned back to his music with mixed feeling: absolutely respecting his historical role, I was afraid of receiving one more portion of the same music. When I started to listen Up, first sound almost confirmed my expectation. Yes, from very first sounds you will know for sure that it's Peter Gabriel! His music generally didn't changed at all.

But after few listenings, I felt differently. Yes, it's for sure same Peter Gabriel and don't expect changes or experiments there. But this album is very mature, using all the best Peter found in his long musical solo career. So, now I believe, that it's possibly the best album of mature Master.

It's difficult to find weak points there in the music of this work. Everything is played,recorded and produced perfectly. Yes, there are the difference with his earlier classic works: this album is less energetic, more dark and much more ... sad. No more crazy explosions of rhythms and sounds, instead you have complex uptempo well balanced pseudo-african drumming. Sad melodies, sad Peter voice... There is nothing depressive, just light sadness and melancholy. Balance between melodies, sound,atmosphere and voice is excelent!

For me this album is as Master's monument to his music for years.But again, all this exists in Gabriel's world of music, so could be not too much interesting for people, who are living far from his music.

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Send comments to snobb (BETA) | Report this review (#242143)
Posted Wednesday, September 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Although it is not clear for everybody, this is of course a masterpiece. Why not clear for everybody? Well, it has an easy explanation. It is not easy to listen this album many times. At the beginning, you wonder how Gabriel is able to do this music. Then you think that you can not like a music like that. Then, little by little you are discovering that certain tracks you like a lot. At the end you like a lot every track, except maybe one. But if you do not like one track it is still a masterpiece because nothing in this world is perfect. For instance, Growin up. At the beginnin you think that it is like a remix for a disco. Later you take into account that is something very well done. Everything in this album is great, I hope you will discover.

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Send comments to amontes (BETA) | Report this review (#244227)
Posted Sunday, October 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
4 stars What can I say about this album that has not been said before? It's a true return to form where every track has something new to offer with every new spin. But it wasn't always like that.

I admit that it took me quite some time and effort to fully gasp this albums genius, but now I definitely consider it to be up there with Peter Gabriel (3 - "Melt"). Every composition feels well crafted and thought through to the smallest detail. This can create an almost clinical effect since there really isn't a single unplanned note on the entire album, but I really like this type of material especially coming from a master like Peter Gabriel. Every track, besides the closing number, is a 6+ minute adventure that takes the listener through many different music frontiers. The transitions between different sections is done to perfection, especially on tracks like Growing Up and I Grieve. The only minor misstep for me here is the pretty straightforward More Than This that becomes a bit tiresome after the first three minutes.

The only thing that I definitely still regret is that I've missed out on Gabriel's Growing Up-tour when it came to Stockholm since according to the DVD these compositions sound even better in a live setting! It's great to see that Peter Gabriel is still going strong and even getting better with every passing year!

***** star songs: Darkness (6:51) Growing Up (7:33) I Grieve (7:24) Signal To Noise (7:36)

**** star songs: Sky Blue (6:37) No Way Out (7:53) The Barry Williams Show (7:16) My Head Sounds Like That (6:29) More Than This (6:02) The Drop (3:01)

Total rating: 4,44

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#255707)
Posted Saturday, December 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Dark, uplifting, melancholy, pungent, soothing. These adjectives all describe "Up" to a 't'.

It is hard to believe that Peter Gabriel, who has produced handfuls of great records, could produce the best solo work of his career in his 50s, but that is what he did when he wrote "Up."

Music like this is not your typical pop fluff that is going to instantly grab you. This is music that must be listened to numerous times, and before you know it, those dark yet calming melodies will have grabbed a hold of your soul. And there will be no turning back.

My recommendation is to sit in a dark room, put your headphones on, turn it up loud, and let this powerful record take you to places you never knew existed.

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Send comments to Biff Tannen (BETA) | Report this review (#265985)
Posted Saturday, February 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
3 stars Up has been a most pleasant surprise for anyone who cared to listen. 10 years after his previous album and last commercial success, the mainstream couldn't be less concerned about anything Gabriel. Neither did he care a dime about the mainstream. Up is an ambitious album with extended compositions that have been heavily worked on in the studio. Luckily it's not overdone, or is it?

I must say that some songs could have been improved a lot by chopping off 1 or 2 minutes and pealing off a few layers of studio wittyness. The opening Darkness for example has a most impressive opening, quite proggy in a way, featuring entwined vocal dialogue and a loud and noisy Crimsonesque main theme. After a good 4 minutes, you could find your attention wavering.

Growing Up is even longer, but it's saved by its entrancing beat. Sky Blue is a dark melancholic anthem that can join the ranks of Mercy Street and Red Rain. The heavy self-importance of Don't Leave is a weighty listen, the soft parts don't have vocal lines that are strong and memorable enough. They fit into the category of David Sylvians less melodic meditations. And so fares I Grieve, a ballad with the material for 2 minutes stretched into a unmanageable length of 7 and a half. It gets a bit of a pace in its last 2 minutes but its an old man's pace, not the vibrant swirl of Growing Up.

My Head Sounds Like That is ok but rather sounds like a John Lennon song then like Peter Gabriel. Also More Then This bears the mark of a muse that solicits for early retirement. Luckily the album ends with two adroit composition. Signal To Noise is the most impressive. It has a slightly industrial and menacing power. The feverish flamenco outburst by the guest vocalist compensate for Gabriel's more understated expressivity. The Drop keeps things at a shorter song length that more songs should have taken an example from.

After its initial good impression, Up has not continued to impress me. It makes for good mood music but the extended song lengths and carefully assembled arrangements can become a weary experience. As a Peter Gabriel fan you should not skip this album though. 3.5 stars

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#266078)
Posted Sunday, February 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars I couldn't bring myself to give this less than 4 stars, despite a few weaker tracks. I like Peter Gabriel because he is so open minded. When the rest of the (prog) world seems obsessed with the sound of Genesis and classic, 70's prog, the least 70's sounding member of the prog community was a founding member of that sound .

On 'Up', Peter Gabriel touches genres, like Hip Hop and Techno, that no other 70's musicians dare even to look at. But at least Gabriel knows what 'progressive' really means. It means moving forward and keep innovating, and he certainly does that. Actually this album is a splattering of experimental drum rhythms, world-music, groove, tension building, songs that take time to develop and have climaxes, and very importantly characteristically emotionally rich vocals. Most of these songs transcend usual genre classification, although 'Growing up' is a catchy piece of progressive techno, 'Sky Blue' is progressive gospel. These are both highlights of the album.

Other interesting songs include the groovy 'I grieve' and the hip-hoppy 'Barry Williams Show' which actually sounds a bit like ZZ Top. But my favourite on all the album is the dark, dramatic 'Signal to Noise'. I mean what an innovative guy, dramatic middle Eastern vocals, haunting, horror-movie style strings, dramatic drumming, suspense and originality! Such an original song, and so effective. It'll leave you sweating!

Unfortunately there are weaker tracks, notably the barely audible 'The Drop' and 'My head sounds like that' but the high points kind of make up for it. Peter Gabriel is constantly striving for originality and on 'Up' he leaves the 70's-imitating kids of today far behind.

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Send comments to Brendan (BETA) | Report this review (#285467)
Posted Monday, June 07, 2010 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 3.5 stars. I like the fact that this album has the same style throughout, there seems to be a common thread musically with these tracks. I like the melancholia too but for the life of me I don't know why I have no patience with this album. It's all I can do to get through it which of course means i'm not really enjoying the music (no kidding). I don't know what it is with solo Gabriel albums but i'll take Wyatt or Hammill solo records over anything Gabriel has ever created since he left GENESIS. And GENESIS is one of my top five bands.

"Darkness" kicks in with a mechanical-like rhythm section. A calm with mellow vocals around a minute as contrasts continue.Then reserved vocals,piano and a beat take over around 2 1/2 minutes.That mechanical rhthym is back as themes are repeated. "Growing Up" features reserved vocals and a beat. It's catchy when the sound gets fuller. "Sky Blue" has the focus on the vocals. We do get piano and a beat standing out as well. "No Way Out" has a good chorus where the sound picks up although you'd think he was going to start to sing "Red Rain".

"I Grieve" has a deeper sound to it with deeper vocals as well.There's more life 5 minutes in. It then settles back before 7 minutes to end it. "The Barry Williams Show" has a catchy beat with vocals.The lyrics are funny.The sound picks up on the chorus. "My Head Sounds Like That" is mellow with a light beat and piano. Melancholical vocals a minute in. "More Than This" is a song that annoys me to no end, especially the chorus when it slows down. "Signal To Noise" is my favourite. I just love the atmosphere and I find it really interesting to listen to. "The Drop" ends the album with piano and reserved vocals.

A good album especially considering how late this is in his career (2002).

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#384541)
Posted Friday, January 21, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars What can I say? Peter Gabriel is the man!

"Up" was his last full album (he contributed several tracks to "Big Blue Ball" (2008) and his latest album, "Scratch My Back" (2010) is a covers album).

At over 50 years of age, he shows the rest of his former bandmates in Genesis how it's still done. Only Gabriel and Steve Hackett have created cutting-edge Progressive Rock outside of their Genesis days.

Peter Gabriel is always "progressive" in that every track is inventive and pushes the boundaries (yet with the incredible knack of keeping us with him with an accessibility that is uncanny). How I wish he would have joined the rest of Genesis for the reunion tour in 2007!

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Send comments to BobVanguard (BETA) | Report this review (#442803)
Posted Wednesday, May 04, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Rating: 9

An incredible trip through the darkest, deepest and most sorrowed Peter Gabriel ever.

He asks you to drag down inside a deep and huge hole inside the ocean of his feelings.

If you dare, you gonna find inside a dense, tortured and even twisted -at certain moments- mix of moods, attitude and feelings.

The result is a fragile, fractured album in which Peter sings so low that almost talks, but his voice and interpretation is so authentic and hearted that manages to be emotive and epic.

Gabriel also finds margin to experiment in sound terms with Indian atmospheres, synthesizer bases and electronic drums loops that give the album a fantastic compensation to obscure lyrics and piano driven musical concept.

From the demolition start with the fantastically depressive and thrilling "Darkness", going through the beautiful distress of "Growing up" and "Sky blue", the horrifying anger of "The Barry Williams show", the unbelievable and magisterial sadness of "My head sounds like that" -perhaps best Gabriel song ever-, the claustrophobic yet amazing electronic beat driven "More than this", to the emotive, touching end with "The drop", this should be regarded as Peter Gabriel at his best in all terms and perspectives.

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Send comments to Mattiias (BETA) | Report this review (#461184)
Posted Tuesday, June 14, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars 9/10

Death is a general theme for humans, because we are all subject to it. Our lives are ephemeral, made ​​up of moments that are lost in the infinite - and ending on the said death. This is certainly a reason to feel fear.

How to translate this feeling dark and gloomy for music? It makes it Up. After ten years without releasing a single album Peter Gabriel came back with his late masterpiece, unlike anything he had done. Life and death, light and shadow, joy and sorrow - that is the antithesis of conceptions that dominates this album.

And I'm captivated. In my review of his previous album Us I wondered if there was a Peter Gabriel album that I would call a true masterpiece, because with the exception of So and Melt (which I gave 4 stars) it had no other album really "pulled "(if you know what I mean). I threw the question: Is Up? The answer is: yes.

The opener ,Darkness has set the general mood of the album and its potential. An introduction is broken by a quiet guitar frighteningly aggressive and that's how the music follows. The letters were darkly personal? Not know, but they reflect a little of the overall theme of the album: life and death.

Growing Up is a much more optimistic, with its electronic beats that I won, letters talking about the challenges of growing both physically and emotionally. Sky Blue is another gem, guided by a piano that is eclipsed by the various textures and wonderful union of the voices of Peter and The Blind Boys of Alabama.

The next two songs, No Way Out and I Grieve and are probably the centerpiece of the album. However I do not care much for them two, as are songs that do not offer anything new. On the other hand The Barry Williams Show is another strong point of the album, even if his lyrics are out of context - especially its shocking, bizarre and funny clip (well, at least I liked). My Heads Sounds Like That is another highlight, with some soft music create a relaxing background metals - only one section aggressive (like the first track) breaks the mood, and More Than This is another weak song without anything significant.

That's where we come to Signal to Noise.

This song is just 7 minutes and an epic that follows the typical structure of "accumulation" - that is, the song starts calm down, calm down and grows until it culminates in a bombastic climax with a powerful orchestration. This song was a little difficult for Peter to conclude, because its singer, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (vocals responsible for the incredible support of the music), died in 1998. but he went all the way and the result is this fantastic work.

Finally there is the short The Drop, which, unlike other parts of the album, whose durations are between 6 and 7 minutes and are covered with layers and textures is just a short 3-minute song composed by the voice of Peter and a simple piano. It is as if he is stripped of everything that has been done, which reminds me of the verse in Job 1:20-21: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither. God gave me, and God took : Blessed be the name of the Lord. "

Well, after everything was said here, except to say that Up is definitely the best album of Peter Gabriel, and I give it 5 stars. A modern masterpiece.

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Send comments to voliveira (BETA) | Report this review (#531239)
Posted Saturday, September 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
Sinusoid
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars Growing Up, Rating Down

Considering UP being released in 2002, Peter Gabriel's voice is about the same as it ever was throughout his career which is amazing considering his solo career spans for 25+ years. He has this quality of consistency and easiness in his voice that few other singers carry. Unfortunately, the singing is almost negligible when the music backing it does very little.

That's exactly my problem with UP; it never really establishes itself musically. Peter Gabriel seems to have jumped on the trip-hop-bandwagon and fully immersing his music in it. That itself isn't bad, but my little experience with the genre leads me to this conclusion; if the beat is interesting, I'll follow along. Else, it's torture. More often than not, I'm completely bored with the established beat and less impressed with the tempo picked. ''Darkness'' is a perfect example of my frustration; whatever genius other reviewers see in this song is completely lost on me as from the out-of-place noises to the incredibly sluggish tempo make me eager to find the skip button.

If you're like me and find that the album has little of a pick-me-up, you'll be even more uneasy with the song average being about 7 minutes (throwing out the ''not-that-bad-not-that-good'' ''The Drop''). The lone exception to everything is ''Growing Up''; the tempo isn't neckbreak, but it keeps me awake and it is the one song on here that really achieves something (can't say what) that the other songs only attempt to do. There's some interesting tongue-and-cheek subject matter in ''The Barry Williams Show'', and parts of others (notably ''Signal to Noise'') made me notice.

UP is nothing more than a frustrating experience coming from an artist whose past shouldn't be. The trip hop genre from a prog rock perspective was tackled better by Paatos around this time (''Quits''). I prefer the Peter Gabriel that pretended to be a lawnmower. I wouldn't start the Peter Gabriel solo journey here unless trip hop is your kind of music.

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Send comments to Sinusoid (BETA) | Report this review (#531550)
Posted Saturday, September 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
Starhammer
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars "Turn up the signal, Wipe out the Noise..."

Work on this album began three years after the release of its predecessor 'Us', but it took three years to be completed, and a further four years before it was finally released.

Whilst the overall style of 'Up' marks quite a departure from his other studio efforts, it does share the same trend for imaginative album titles, and a list of contributing musicians longer than the River Nile. The sound is classic Gabriel, but in place of the world music influences is a more electronic, almost industrial approach. That said, there is still much variation within the album itself both in structure of song, and instrumentation.

The songs are nearly all superb, picking a favourite is a hard task, and whilst Peter Gabriel's work has never been about virtuosity, he adapts and evolves with enough intricacies to keep his music sounding fresh with every listen. Truly one of the greatest composers of the past century.

I did however say 'Up' is nearly all superb, the one exception being The Barry Williams Show, which is just as annoying as the day-time TV talk shows it pays 'tribute' to.

The Verdict: Peter Gabriel's best studio release since 1980.

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Send comments to Starhammer (BETA) | Report this review (#531665)
Posted Saturday, September 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars I didn't like Gabriels last studio album in that I personally thought it was too bland. What about this one then?

"Darkness" - Overcoming and controlling fears. Very interesting track that is frightening - kind of like a horror story done in sound. Strong album opener.

"Growing Up" - Birth, death and then perhaps reincarnation - the growth cycle. Interesting upbeat track.

"Sky Blue" - Irrelevantly of anything else or what happens in life the sky is there and it's easy to get lost staring up into a deep blue sky. Another interesting track.

"No Way Out" - Starts off with a twangy guitar that sounds like a Western Movie theme. The tightening you feel when you see an accident or a tragedy and you hope that a loved one isn't the focal point.

"I Grieve" - Life goes on after death. The world doesn't stop turning. A really sad track.

"The Barry Williams Show" - About trashy TV shows (Jerry Springer etc). Upbeat number.

"My Head Sounds Like That" - Having a migraine - or a hangover (heh heh). Sounds very similar to a Beatles number that I can't quite place if that number were slowed down considerably. Interesting track.

"More than This" - There is much more to life and things than we percieve. Nice track.

"Signal to Noise" - How a pure signal can become corrupted by noise - purity can become tarnished. Very interesting and very dramatic track.

"The Drop" - The last great mystery is death. The imagery in these lyrics is very strong. I always love the piano when it is used properly.

This album is a work of art in the way that it uses lyrics and music. There is not much in music that is like a Gabriel album and for that fact relating to this specific album and for the fact that this is a really strong album full of lyrical ideas and musical ideas I cannot but give this a 4 star rating.

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Send comments to sukmytoe (BETA) | Report this review (#948300)
Posted Tuesday, April 23, 2013 | Review Permalink

PETER GABRIEL Up ratings only


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