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Peter Gabriel - And I'll Scratch Yours CD (album) cover


Peter Gabriel

Crossover Prog

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3 stars Now, in return, a majority of the musicians who were symphonically "covered" in PG's 2010 "Scratch My Back", (Neil Young, Bowie, The Radioheads, are missing), "cover-up" some Peter Gabriel's own pen-written songs in this "And I'll Scratch Yours" 2013 album. It should have been a real thrill, considering PG has some amazing "jewels", the ones we all mostly know and like, and the personal favorites (if you follow PG). And yet, the picks are quiet obvious, as to "cover" only the well known songs or to put it lightly, his "greatest hits' (except Eno's "Mother of Violence" and Stephin Merritt's "Not One of Us"). That, I suppose, has a reason, and that is exactly what turns this V.A. project, quiet predictable,as far as song-writing goes. Some great performances, some personal ones, an a couple of uninspired "tributes". What is great will grab you, what is personal is more towards the experimental side, and the couple of "tributes" are at least well studio-recorded and performed, as the usually excellent PG's standards. This kind of "Various Artists" albums, for being various, by rule, will be hard to be considered "essential" (if the world ends tomorrow). By choice, I'm already a follower of some musicians of the project, so it's like a "bonus" for my personal collection, if not known, I look out for the music that was unknown at the moment of listening and check it out, and the worst, if it happens with what I don't like, will be to feel compensated with what is worth listening to. So "essential' as such it is not. Worth listening to some very inspired re-visions, of his already, great songs, by some very diverse music-genre musicians, is well worth the time. ***3.5 PA stars.
Report this review (#1043454)
Posted Tuesday, September 24, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars This review is based upon just one listening in a public library, but since here's surprisingly only one review concentrating on general speculation instead of dealing with individual tracks, I believe my half-baked review has some value here. (I'm not planning to get the CD for a closer reception, but this is not to suggest I wouldn't have pleasure out of it if I did.) By and large I agree on all the remarks admireArt makes here, especially the line "some great performances, some personal ones, and a couple of uninspired 'tributes'". Yeah, that's how tribute albums tend to be.

In theory Peter Gabriel is a very interesting object artist for a tribute. He sees himself primarily as a song-writer, not a performer, and as an artist who pays a lot of attention to sonic details, there's a very good chance that another artist is able and willing to offer a whole new approach to a song. And this is surely happening on several tracks. Sadly some artists have taken a little too experimental path, making the result rather unpleasant to ears, but happily there are also opposite cases in which the song in question comes alive in a very fresh and natural way. For me the winner of the dozen is REGINA SPEKTOR's simplified and sincere version of 'Blood of Eden'. She doesn't give a damn how Gabriel (+ Sinead O'Connor) voiced the words, she reveals the song's natural, folky strength by letting go of all the special features in the original performance and by increasing the tempo a little bit.

The tracks I don't particularily like include DAVID BYRNE's New Wave-ish 'I Don't Remember', BRIAN ENO's rude 'Mother of Violence' (points for the brave originality!) and, most of all, LOU REED's eccentric and alienating 'Solsbury Hill'. When that percussion-heavy track started, I thought it to be 'Biko'. PAUL SIMON performs that song in a quite natural folk style of a protest song. Versions that don't take big risks include BON IVER's 'Come Talk to Me', ARCADE FIRE's 'Games Without Frontiers' and FEIST's 'Don't Give Up'. 'Mercy Street' is among my PG favourites and ELBOW's safe version is not the first covering of it that I've heard and liked, but of course Gabe's own version is superior.

JOSEPH ARTHUR's 'Shock the Monkey' is very interesting; it differs a lot form the original and yet it has a strong (90's/00's) Peter Gabriel-like vibe to it. RANDY NEWMAN makes 'Big Time' his own sovereignly. I dislike that PG song but Newman makes the song actually better.

True, the song selection could be more surprising. Not a single track from Up, which is a pity.

Report this review (#1395863)
Posted Thursday, April 9, 2015 | Review Permalink

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