Peter Gabriel

Crossover Prog

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Peter Gabriel Us album cover
3.62 | 346 ratings | 34 reviews | 24% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1992

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Come Talk To Me (7:05)
2. Love To Be Loved (5:19)
3. Blood of Eden (6:38)
4. Steam (6:03)
5. Only Us (6:33)
6. Washing of the Water (3:52)
7. Digging in the Dirt (5:18)
8. Fourteen Black Paintings (4:38)
9. Kiss That Frog (5:20)
10. Secret World (7:01)

Total Time: 57:49


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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Peter Gabriel / bass, harmonica, keyboards, percussion, triangle, vocals
- Richard Blair / keyboards
- Bill Dillon / guitar, guitar (electric)
- N'Diaye Rose Doudou / drum loop
- Brian Eno / keyboards
- Kudsi Erguner / flute
- Babacar Faye / djembe, drums
- Tim Green / sax (Tenor)
- Reggie Houston / sax (Baritone)
- Gus Isidore / guitar
- Darryl Johnson / drums, percussion
- Manu Katche / drums
- Daniel Lanois / guitar, shaker, vocals
- Caroline LaVelle / cello
- Tony Levin / bass
- Marilyn McFarlane / vocals
- Levon Minassian / doudouk
- Leo Nocentelli / guitar
- Sinéad O'Connor / vocals
- Ayub Ogada / vocals
- Chris Ormston / bagpipes
- Renard Poché / trombone
- Hossam Ramzy / tabla
- David Rhodes / guitar
- Doudou N'Daiye Rose / loops
- Lakshminarayana Shankar / violin

Releases information

1992 CD Geffen GEFD-24473

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PETER GABRIEL Us ratings distribution

(346 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(24%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(42%)
Good, but non-essential (28%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by daveconn
4 stars The atmospheric, understated "Us" may have come as a disappointment to some following the upbeat "So", but anyone who picked up "Passion" will anticipate the mix-heavy melange of third world sounds and electronic effects present here. Coproduced by Daniel Lanois, "Us" did feature a few singles that sought to cultivate the audience developed with "So": "Kiss That Frog", "Digging in the Dirt", and especially "Steam". And more groundbreaking videos were in the offing for each, giving the impression that little had changed over the years. And yet much had changed; Peter GABRIEL and Rosanna Arquette (yes, it's nice to be a rock star) had split, and GABRIEL seems to have plumbed the experience to its depths in a post-mortem examination of their failed attempt to connect. More indicative of "Us" are the moments when GABRIEL exposes his wounds, such as "Love To Be Loved", "Secret World" and "Blood of Eden" (one of several tracks to reference Adam and Eve as aliases for the parties involved).

The album does take time to appreciate, slowly working its way under the skin with subtle melodies and exotic soundscapes. Although "Passion" and "So" are the albums most like it, "Us" does give a nod back to GABRIEL's second album with "Washing of the Water", a piano-led ballad that recalls "Flotsam and Jetsam" and "Indigo". Building on his musical alliances with alternative rock's leading ladies (Laurie Anderson, Kate Bush), GABRIEL here enlists the help of Sinead O'Connor on backing vocals, who makes an impression out of the gate with her distinctive voice on "Come Talk To Me". "Us" isn't the happiest record in the GABRIEL arsenal, though the artist was increasingly disinterested in making commercial music (and perhaps music altogether). It is a sonically gorgeous effort, however; perhaps a little too subtle for some tastes, but bound to please his fans on at least a few levels.


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Send comments to daveconn (BETA) | Report this review (#27253) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, April 17, 2004

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars 'Us' is a good album there is no denying that but for me is began to expose Gabriel's eccentricities and that mean't...OK this album took 6 or so years to make and I feel the mood in the album exposes why delays took place. For me this sound like Passion part 2 with vocals. What for me makes the album strong is his ability to plunge you into the theme he sings about..man and woman, the frailties, emotions and dark karma of the psyche.Most Gabriel fans will understand the themes he weaves so here is a list of the best tracks. Love to be loved Blood of Eden Only Us Washing of the Water Digging in the dirt....a great macro view of that dark emotional underlying force that controls our everyday lives...sex!


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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#27254) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, July 23, 2004

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Perfect album! Why? Couple of reasons. First, Gabriel has pushed forward all his creativity and wild ideas to generate this wonderfully crafted album. First time I listen to the audio CD, actually I did not rate this album that high as I thought there were some disco styles in this album. But .. when I purchased the laser disc / video clip of US - my appreciation grew tremendously. A have to admire that he is a genius! I cannot tell you in detail but I'm sure if you observe this music in greater detail, probably would take you 7 or 8 spins, you would understand what I mean.

Second, I like the choice of sound quality used in this audio CD. This is funny. The first time I purchased the album was in cassette format (well, at that time I was broke and could only afford to buy cassette). And then I was so so dissatisfied with the sound quality that had no treble sound at all. But I liked couple of songs in the album. When I had some money then I purchased the CD format. Same thing happened - bad sound quality. And I tried to think, it must be that this kind of sound was made "intentionally". And I tried to enjoy again. To my surprise, I started to like (even love) this kind of sound quality. Bingo! Thanks Gabriel, you helped showing me the hills. Since then I like the sound. It's unique! It seems like no treble but it has a very pure mid range voice.

Third, it's brilliant musically. All songs were composed in meticulous detail and crafted to reach perfection in terms of structure, melodies and harmony music. Many of my prog mates down here argue that Gabriel's albums sound poppy and disco-like. Well, I agree with it - but they don't understand how the musical elements have been built in such a way that at the end produces perfect music with perfect sound. In my view, we can not judge Gabriel's album in only 1-3 spins of the CD. The more you spin, it will grow firmly with you.

Fourth, it's strong lyrically. Name any song in this album. The lyrics are wonderful. I like "Washing of the Water", "Secret World", "Blood of Eden", "Steam" . great lyrics, great melodies.

Above all, I am really happy with the musical direction (and quality) that Peter Gabriel has taken since he left Genesis. His music evolves in the right direction to achieve perfection. He is really a genius! BUY THE CD! - Keep on progging!! Progressively yours, GW - Indonesia.

"In the washing of the water will you take it all away. Bring me something to take this pain away ." - Washing of the Water, Peter Gabriel.

This piece of lyrics, I personally dedicate to the people who are suffering due to the tsunami disaster in Southeast Asia countries .. . God Bless You!!


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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#27255) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, January 12, 2005

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

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

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

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

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


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Send comments to FloydWright (BETA) | Report this review (#27262) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, April 07, 2005

Review by NJprogfan
3 stars Peter is one moody son-of-a-gun. Take away all the electronics and world music stylings and you basically have an easy listening adult contemporary album with two tracks, ('Steam', 'Kiss That Frog') that will make you move a body part. Now, I'm not against a moody, brooding track or two, but "US" is filled to the brim. I rather enjoy the "Secret World Live" DVD more, it has an immediacy lacking on the album proper. For me, 'Digging In The Dirt' has a combination of the two styles, an underlining broodiness, but a bass line that propels the song. I know Peter is a serious dude. It's nice though when he allows himself a bit of humor, ('Kiss That Frog'). I only wish on this album he mixed it up a little more.


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Posted Monday, September 19, 2005

Review by Chicapah
5 stars The first thing you need to know about this album is that Manu Katche and Tony Levin are the rhythm section. That alone would make this a must-have. But there is so much more to love about it. The songs, lyrics, production and arrangements are top notch throughout. Peter's vocals have never been better. From the tribal drum beats that start "Come talk to me" to the haunting fade out on "Secret World" there's not a dead spot to be found. He finds a lilting slow groove on both "Love to be Loved" and "Blood of Eden" that carries you as if you were gliding down a peaceful stream. "Steam" is one infectious, playful song that is joyous in its danceable delivery, rivaled only by the wonderful "Kiss that Frog" that is funky beyond belief. "Only Us" is one of those curious turn-the-beat- around ditties that Mr. Gabriel loves to puzzle us with every so often and "Digging in the Dirt" uses innovative drum sounds to create a feeling of being underground like some kind of existential mole. But it is "Secret World" that continues to linger in your mind long after the cd is over. Peter expresses a universal theme of regretting a missed opportunity to create something special with another human being that is heartbreaking in its truthfulness. He unashamedly bared his soul on this album and when a gifted artist does that honestly it almost always results in one of the best efforts of their careers. That certainly is the case on "Us."


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Send comments to Chicapah (BETA) | Report this review (#76353) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Review by Guillermo
3 stars I bought this album in the Cassette format in March 1993, after buying a Rock magazine`s special issue about GENESIS` and Peter Gabriel`s biographies and discographies. That special issue magazine was clearly sponsored by EMI / Virgin in my country, as the Mexican EMI company was then releasing some CDs and Cassettes from GENESIS and Gabriel in those days. I remember that the writers of the reviews for some of those albums were praising "US" very much, and in contrast, they were "destroying" Phil Collins `reputation as a soloist when reviewing his albums. I think that it could be very different if EMI had the rights to release Collins`solo albums here , but, IMO, as he is not part of their company in some countries (with Collins`albums being released in the U.S., Mexico and other countries by Atlantic / WEA) they showed a clear bias against him! Anyway, if Collins is or isn`t a good quality composer, it is not the subject of this review, but I bought "US" with great expectations.

"US" it`s not a bad album, but it required, like many other albums, repeated listenings. It wasn`t as accessible like his 1986 album called "SO", but it wasn`t as interesting as "SO" and other albums released by Gabriel. It still has good songs, but, in the end, I was disappointed. One day in 1993, my oldest brother listened with me to this album, and in the end he liked the album more than me, so, as I did before with other albums (like TANGERINE DREAM`s "Cyclone" album, which I also didn`t like very much), I gave this cassette to him as a gift. Having recorded from the T.V. the videoclips from the songs "Blood from Eden", "Kiss that Frog", "Digging in the Dirt" and "Steam", I wasn`t interested to keep the Cassette of "US" in my collection.

Anyway, there are some good songs: "Blood from Eden", "Kiss that Frog", "Steam" (the best of all, it also has a very funny videoclip), "Digging in the Dirt" and "Come Talk to Me".

At that time, I also read in the newspapers that Gabriel was divorced from his wife (Jill) and that he also had other love relationships (with actress Rossanna Arquette, and it also was "rumored" that with singer Sinnead O`Connor too). He had all these experiences between 1986 and 1992, and these experiences influenced this album a lot, but I couldn`t be very much interested in this album, so this album was more directed to Gabriel`s greatest fans, IMO.

In September 1993, Gabriel played some concerts in Mexico City. I was given as a gift a ticket for one of those concerts, by one cousin, who had an extra ticket not used by another person who couldn`t attend the concert. I can say that I enjoyed being in the concert very much. It was a very good experience. Gabriel played some songs from this album, which sounded much better played live. Sinnead O`Connor was singing with him in some songs.

Gabriel`s album titled "UP" was released in 2002. I listened to it once in one Records Shop. I was even more disappointed and not interested in that album too, so "US" became the last Gabriel`s new album that I bought.


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Send comments to Guillermo (BETA) | Report this review (#81012) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, June 12, 2006

Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars After the breakout success of So, and in particular to single for Sledgehammer (and the exposure of In Your Eyes in the 1989 teen film Say Anything), Peter Gabriel spent the next few years working on various projects. In 1992, he released Us, an album that is loved by some and hated by others. For me, I'm indifferent. While I like some of the songs on the album, I find a general lack of interest when I listen to it. It's only when I get to the really good songs (my two favorites are at the end of the album), that I feel some sort of real enjoyment out of listening to this album.

There seems to be a misguided focus of what the album should be like, I think. Some of the songs meander around the same theme for an extended period of time (Fish would have a similar problem with his album Suits, which was wrought with songs that were too long). To be perfectly honest, I find most of this album boring. Songs like Come Talk to Me, Digging in the Dirt, and Secret World, though, are classic Peter Gabriel and shine brightly in this album doused with mediocrity with excellent grooves, melodies, progressions and vocals (especially in Secret World).

In the long run, Us is probably my least favorite Peter Gabriel album. I don't really think it compares well to the rest of his catalogue (and the quality of his previous studio efforts like 3 and So) and his next album, Up, would blow this one completely out of the water. For fans of Gabriel, there's something to like about it so it may be worth checking out, but for those just getting into Gabriel, check this one out towards the end of your collection.


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Send comments to Cygnus X-2 (BETA) | Report this review (#109294) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, January 29, 2007

Review by evenless
4 stars "SO" had the 2 mega hit potential tracks "Sledgehammer" and "Big Time" on it. On "US" those 2 tracks would be "Steam" and "Digging in the Dirt". What do those tracks have in common besides being potential hits? I guess they are the most poppy tracks and therefore also maybe the least interesting tracks on the album. As they seem to be the tracks we get bored by sooner than by the others. Once again "radio overkill" isn't really helping here.

But if we look beyond those two tracks that I just mentioned, I guess what is left is a very interesting album. Once again Mr. Gabriel shows he's really a "word artist", collaborating with many international musicians and always an abundance of African instruments being played on his albums. I certainly love all different kind of drums and the flutes. Very wonderful and colourful instrumentation!

So what about the rating of "US". Actually I find it a bit difficult as I find "US" weaker than "SO". But then again I rated "SO" 4.5 stars and rounded it down to 4. I guess this album would be worthy a 3.8 rating.


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Posted Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Review by russellk
4 stars After a wait of six years since 'So', PETER GABRIEL delivered 'Us'. And it was worth the wait.

I don't imagine everyone would think so. The music here is more restrained than on anything since his first album, tempered to a degree by his ambient experiments in the 1980s. However, each song is a well-crafted gem, multi-layered music (much of it exotic in origin, courtesy of GABRIEL'S growing commitment to world music) supplementing thoughtful lyrics. The gauchness of GABRIEL'S GENESIS years has gone. This is sophisticated, understated art rock.

Some of the tracks, such as 'Washing of the Water' (reminiscent of the stripped-down 'Here Comes The Flood') and 'Fourteen Black Paintings' are beautifully minimalist, whilst others build into powerful examinations of the human condition ('Secret World' and 'Only Us', my two favourite tracks on the album). It's not all highlights, however. 'Steam' is fun, but is clearly a pale imitation of 'Sledgehammer'. And the album does take a while to get going, worthy though the first three songs are.

This is a middle-aged man's album, exploring sexuality and gender trouble, as well as revisiting childhood with nostalgia. I'm not sure, therefore, that it will appeal to a younger audience looking for straightforward messages and dramatic moments. However, PETER GABRIEL manages here to be enthralling and entertaining, to me at least.


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Posted Friday, March 23, 2007

Review by kenethlevine
2 stars The trouble with upper middle class British boys wanting to do convincing "world music" is that they are so far removed temporally, spatially, and economically from it that they cannot do a convincing job no matter how much they strive to be authentic. An alternative is to be half-baked about it and pay lip service, which is largely what Paul Simon did on "Graceland." Yet another approach, that practiced on "Us", is to include just enough of the exotic to make the listener feel educated, while producing an AOR album.

This is a hodgepodge of neither here nor there, with neither the ethnic charm of one nor the potency of the other. You can't just throw more repetition or jubilant female voices at it either a la "Kiss that Frog", or substitute lazy laid-back-ness for sincerity, as in the beyond boring "Blood of Eden" and "Only Us", or add some hip drumming like in "Come Talk to Me". None of it masks the fact that Gabriel really doesn't have much of a clue, and that his greatest service is simply that of bringing attention to some of the genre's greats, rather than his own output. He does manage to transcend these problems with songs like "Love to be Loved" and "Secret World"

Peter Gabriel may have embraced world music big time, but he should leave its interpretation to those who know best, including some of the people who support him here. OK, so I have criticized, and it's only fair I provide an example of an approach that worked. You might try the works of White South African Johnny Clegg, especially with the band Juluka, who fused the English folk from his ethnic background to Zulu sounds in a convincing way that bolstered rather than diminished both parts. And it is just as progressive as "Us", even if it is not to be found in these pages. It's also a lot more subversive.


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Posted Sunday, July 29, 2007

Review by The Whistler
4 stars I suppose that every artist has one of these...well, at least the good ones. You know what I mean, don't you? A record that sounds exactly like the one just before it, where everything is in exactly the same place...except it sounds totally different?

On the one hand, you still get a bunch of cool, funky, danceable grooves and some heartfelt ballads, just like good ole So. However, with Us, there IS something different. I guess it has something to do with maturity, or a lack thereof. See, this puppy is like Pete's Minstrel in the Gallery; his simple, sad, cathartic ode to his lost love (read "divorce").

I reckon that's what makes him sound so old. And by old, I mean tired. Tired of fighting. Tired of pain. That dude singing "Blood of Eden" and "Washing the Water;" Is that REALLY the man who once sang "Red Rain?" "Shock the Monkey?" "Dancing With the Moonlit Knight?" I don't think so.

But of course, this IS still the same ole Pete we've come to love (or loathe). Case in point, "Come Talk to Me" opens with a blast of African drum beats and bagpipes. Heh. Who else would dare do something like that? AC/DC? "Come" is a nice little song, good lyrics, and the climby chorus is great. Perhaps a little too long for its own good, but, what are you gonna do?

"Love to be Loved" is a little less hard hitting, a rather straightforward ballady sorta deal. Nice chorus, but not terribly effective, in my opinion. But "Blood of Eden" of fantastic. There true beauty in there, I swear it. I love the self recycling chorus, and the bridge is a billion times more effective than the one from "Love to be Loved."

But I think that "Steam" is the best song off the record. Unforgettable really. I could listen to that all day. Not only is it a fantastic, shape shifting, brilliantly orchestrated artsy pop rocker, but none of the overall feeling of the album is lost. The chorus where he yells "Gimme ST-E-E-E-A-M!" is both hopeful and desperate. "Only Us" cools us down from all that (beat) from all that ST-E-E-E-A-M! Uh, sorry. "Only Us" is another okay ballad. The chorus is kinda cool, but hardly brilliant.

However, "Washing of the Water" might be, just might be, the prettiest song on the record (REAL hard to tell that). The verses are sung with almost passionless sorrow, but it grows little by little, until it hits the painfully desperate conclusion. Of course, that's not to understate "Digging in the Dirt." The verses are biting and angry, scary even, but they give way to a downbeat, optimistic, truly gorgeous chorus. Kudos to Peter Hammill for the backing vocals (which are there, ya just gotta "Dig" 'em out. Heh).

Unfortunately, nothing past this point is quite as good. Still nice enough though. "Fourteen Black Paintings" is the weirdest piece of the lot (more so than "Dirt" even!), a sort of abstracty, ambient piece. Does that equate boring? Uh, no comment. "Kiss That Frog" might not have the power of "Steam," but it's just as fun. It's impossible not to like the dorky but cool fairy tale lyrics, or the repeated "c'mon c'mon c'mon c'mon baby" bit.

"Secret World" has a nice melody, but it never feels like it does anything with it. Perhaps it lingers a little longer than need be, but, so did the opener, and the closer is just as effective (if not more so). In other words, that's a wrap folks, and all in all, a great experience.

Not a masterpiece by any means, I'm sorry to say. I wonder if anything truly cathartic can be; it's so personal that it can't help but be a little muddy. I'm not just talking about the weaker tunes here (and, in truth, none of them are offensive or anything). I mean that the flow sometimes feels a little off. I mean, putting ambient lil' "Black Paintings" between the moody "Dirt" and the funky "Frog?" Whose idea was that?

But beyond that, if you like Peter Gabriel (and I like him reasonably enough), then you'll love this thing. Pete bears his soul! We get some quality melodies (suitably complex too, this puts the "art" back in "art pop"), some great lyrics, some moments of real beauty. Resonance even (I mean, "Washing of the Water," I've been there, haven't you? Almost brings me to tears, I mean it). Heh. Maybe I just Pete's old man voice.

And, even if you aren't the world's most diehard Peter Gabriel fan (and, I am certainly not that), you still should have this in your collection. I mean, dude, it's like a who's who of art rock! There's bound to be SOMEONE you care about on this record (oh, look, John Paul Jones!).

And don't even get started on the music videos (chicks in towels and babies buildin' towers)...


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Posted Friday, August 31, 2007

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars "this time you've gone too far."

My sentiments exactly. While "So" was a perfect combination of Gabriel's unique artistry and appealing accessible music, "Us" takes things a bit too far in the latter direction but with more emphasis on accessible than appealing unfortunately. Gabriel had so much going at this point, besides the music he was also as much a video artist as a musical one. Whereas on "So" I felt I was truly listening to a great album on its own accord, "Us" feels like the commercial aspirations and the video potential of the songs is more the concern and it suffers a bit for this. It never rises to the same level of art rock grandeur and it never delivers the same level of sheer beauty.

"Come Talk to Me" is a decent opener but certainly no "Red Rain." Likewise "Blood of Eden" is a nice song but compared to the coolness of the Bush duet "Don't Give Up" it leaves much to be desired. Quite slow and repetitive. "Steam," "Digging in the Dirt," and "Kiss that Frog" are the worst examples of pandering to the middle-of-the-road marketplace with songs that place pop catchiness ahead of any other concerns. "Washing of the Water" is one of Peter's most heart wrenching vocal performances of his career and is likely the high point of the album. The rest of the lesser known songs (Love to be Loved, Only Us, Fourteen Black Paintings, Secret World) are neither exciting nor particularly interesting. The CD booklet has one cool feature, a still shot of art to go along with each of the tracks, from various artists around the world. Here, as in the videos he made for the album, Gabriel excels at the visual. Sadly in this case, "Us" does not hold up as well as simply a listening experience. Look to his next work "Up" or his earlier master work "So" for a better Gabriel album. This one is for his fans


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Posted Saturday, October 27, 2007

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars I just noticed today that despite being a PETER GABRIEL fan, I have not rated a single studio album, so I must change that and of course will do it with my favorite "Us", probably not the most Progressive album of his discography but incredibly creative and well elaborate.

By this point of his career it's obvious that the guy is fascinated by the African rhythm and percussion, but the real important fact is his ability to blend them with Rock even performing with unusual instruments for both genres as bagpipes and violin in the best Prog spirit.

The album starts with "Come Talk to Me", in which Peter makes a powerful duet with Sinead O'Connor and Manu Katche shows how outstanding drummer he is. But again what impresses me more is how Peter manages to fusion African and Arabic music with Rock, simply a masterpiece.

"Love to be Loved" begins with a very a drum and percussion intro which leads immediately to the vocal section where he makes use of his versatile voice, sure it's raspy and has problems with the low ranges, but the whispering and technique cover any problem.

The third song is "Blood of Eden", a very solid track from the beginning, again the blend of ethnic influences can be easily identified and morphs into a ballad, where he makes the delight of the listener with his trademarked semi-yodel, again a good duet with Sinead O'C0onnor, not as strong as the previous but good enough.

"Steam" is another great song, despite some similarities with the unfairly maligned "Sledgehammer", the song is very original for Peter, the use of wind instruments makes the song richer, and even though is a bit monotonous due to the repetitive percussion and choir, is strong enough not to affect the quality of the album.

"Only Us" with an impressive contrapuntal experiment between Peter and Levon Minassian playing his Doudouk, but after a delightful moment Peter begins to sing the lyrics with a delicate backing vocals which I don't know if are overdubbed by him or by another vocalist, a very pleasant song that flows gently from start to end.

"Washing of the Water" is the weaker track of the album, almost exclusively a piano and vocals duet with a subtle percussion in the background, despite his effort, this song turns boring and predictable, something unusual in the talented vocalist and composer.

"Digging the Dirt" is a good change, a very rhythmic song more or les in the vein of Steam, with a constant percussion plus a great rhythm section formed by two masters as Tony Levin and Manu Katche, but if we add the excellent guitar, we have another solid track.

"Fourteen Black Paintings" begins with a doudouk intro that creates an exotic and mysterious atmosphere, as the song advances the keyboards and flute join with a subtle percussion and Peter's voice recorded as if he was in a distant location, the excellent vocal work makes of this song an unforgettable piece of art.

"Kiss the Frog" is another track that despite being good, has never captured me, I find it too repetitive, not bad though, only a matter of personal taste.

Peter saved the best song for the end, the magnificent "Secret World", a song that combines everything, excellent keyboards, solid drumming, one of Peter's best performances, bagpipes, flute and radical changes, all covered with a dreamy but at the same time energetic atmosphere. The instrumental break is everything that anybody can expect from a PETER GABRIEL album, seven minutes of pure and first class Progressive Rock but overall quality music almost for any taste.

Even when I would love to give a perfect rating, I can't do that without falling in fanboyism, being that there are two weaker tracks, but no way I would rate this album with less than 4 solid stars (that would be 4.5 if the system allowed half stars), because that would be unfair.


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Posted Thursday, September 11, 2008

Review by Negoba
4 stars World Music and the Radio

Peter Gabriel could not have known how phenomenally the album _So_ would do commercially when he recorded it (he may have hoped). When it came to record his next formal album, he used his now- mainstream status to continue his ongoing work promoting world music. The resulting album, _Us_ is both consciously accessible and liberally decorated with world sounds that had taken center stage on his amazing soundtrack album _Passion_.

The album opens with Come Talk to Me, fueled by a driving African drum rhythm that at the time was quite fresh. (Not so much now in the Lion King on Broadway era) In fact, most of the percussion on the album leans on ethnic rhythms rather than rock, though the instrumentation varies from hand drums to programmed electronics. Sinead O'Connor provides very nice harmony vocals on tracks 1 and 3, which were reproduced by Paula Cole on tour (who used the appearance to launch her own solo career). Peter Hammill makes a vocal appearance as well, along with many of the world musicians Gabriel had used on _Passion_.

The singles were obviously composed to be singles. Steam, Kiss that Frog, and Digging in the Dirt use conventional structure and a decidedly pop execution. They ARE quite good pop songs and did well commercially. Though not as lyrically intense as some of his other music, these works retain the integrity his former band did not while fishing for success with "Illegal Alien" or "Invisible Touch."

There are a few challenging spots on this album, including the strange rhythmic chorus of Only Us and the dark ambience of Fourteen Black Paintings. There are no low moments on this album; the entire disc is extremely listenable. I loved it when it came out, and in fact I've played it so many times that I can almost run the entire CD in my head.

The only problem with this album is that 15 years later, the most challenging aspects of this album (the world elements) have been absorbed into popular culture. In that way, Gabriel succeeded in his mission. But it also leaves _Us_ as a very good collection of music but no more. None of these songs truly overpower you on their own, as San Jacinto, Biko, or even In Your Eyes and I Grieve do. Still, this is a very good album. 3.5 stars rounded up because it's Gabriel.


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Posted Thursday, April 02, 2009

Review by lazland
4 stars Forget any comments you have seen that any Gabriel album after So is not worth buying. As I said in my recent review, Passion, in my opinion, represents the highlight of his illustrious solo career, and this LP is also an excellent piece of work.

It is incredibly personal, very dark in places, but a listen to the lyrics and the moods created will absolutely have all long term fans of the man's work empathising with the obvious pain he went through with his divorce from Jill and subsequent relationships.

Come Talk To Me is Gabriel's anthem to non communication, and ought to be played at every marriage counsellors office in the world to couples who refuse to talk to each other. The live version was incredible, with Gabriel coming out of a phone box to talk to both his demons and the audience. Very much influenced by world sounds, this is a great opener. The drums, I think by Manu Kache, are especially incredible.

Love to be Loved is, to be honest, a bit of a filler to these ears, but it is still heads above the solo stuff Collins was creating at the time in terms of songwriting and performance.

Blood of Eden is one of those tracks that makes you wonder just how somebody can be so creative, genius, and move you almost to tears in listening to a work. With Sinead O Connor performing beautiful backing vocals (apparently they had a short relationship), the highlight of a brooding and mournful song is the blood curdling scream that Gabriel performs in the middle. The backing vocals are exceptional, male and female, and the whole song simply carries along in a quiet wave of new world soundscapes.

Steam takes away a whole star from this album. I can't stand to listen to it any more. Basically, a very poor imitation of Sledgehammer and a blatant attempt to recreate the commercial success of that track. It didn't work.

Only Us is another track hugely influenced by Gabriel's world music connections, and has some fantastic vocal work combined with interesting keyboard, guitar, and woodwind.

Washing of the Water is another highlight on this LP. Gabriel's vocals are utterly fascinating and incredible to listen to. Again, very simple in its execution, this is its triumph. with minimal piano, bass, and drum pedal accompanying.

Digging in the Dirt is a far better single from the LP. It is a rockier piece, and the video accompanying it was especially clever with bugs, insects, and such like crawling all over Gabriel. The Rhodes guitar burst to the main chorus is especially good.

Fourteen Black Paintings is another track you will love if you enjoy World Music, and hate if you don't, but, as with Passion and other tracks on this LP, Gabriel's chants enchant and grab your attention.

Kiss That Frog is a curious track, the third single from the album. It is a more traditional track, i.e. British rock rather than world music influenced, and is enjoyable without being outstanding.

The album closes with its tour de force. Secret World, from which the subsequent tour was named, is magnificent. Very centred around illicit love, and the agony of keeping it secret, Gabriel again turns in a huge, powerful, and emotional vocal performance, backed by some exceptional musicians. The piano backing is especially powerful.

This is a great LP, and one I think has been much underrated. Certainly not worth five stars, even to a long standing fan like me, but absolutely worth the four stars I give it. Don't listen to the doubters. If you gave up on Gabriel either after he left Genesis, or after So, then this is the ideal place to find him again.


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Posted Friday, May 01, 2009

Review by Bonnek
2 stars The more elaborate things start sounding, the more shallow they become. I don't know how much general truth is in that statement but it's a principle that certainly goes for this album.

This album is so crammed with studio tricks and layers of bouncy instrumentation that it distracts from the essence of the songs. And none of the songs deserve to be longer then 4 minutes anyway, but unfortunately most of them go over the 6 minute mark. Only Come Talk To Me and Blood Of Eden make a lasting impression, that last one has a beautifully sad mood and a memorable melody. Still, it's no Red Rain

Apart from a few good tracks this sounds like humdrum self-indulgence from a tired artist who has nothing left to prove. I would advise to skip this album and flash forward another 10 years to the more satisfying Up. Hardly 2 stars I'm afraid.


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Posted Saturday, May 29, 2010

Review by TGM: Orb
4 stars Us, Peter Gabriel

While it's fairly galling to give what's quite possibly my favourite Peter Gabriel album less than a confident five stars, I have to admit that the overwhelming emotional power and quality of the whole isn't quite matched by a slightly trundling Sledgehammer-lite song in the shape of Steam. Otherwise, however, we have Gabriel at his most heartfelt, with his raw voice and honest lyrics never buried under effects and a sort of electronic world/pop orchestra approach to every song that doesn't really crowd proceedings but rather produces a wonderful, flexible background against which the ideas, vocals and soloists stand out.

The first three songs are various shades of heartbreak, with a special emphasis on the power of the lyrics... this is not the sort of teenage angst that can be wonderful if written preciously enough but a much more mature look back at failed relationships with sentiments that really should make an impression. Come Talk To Me is the most colourful song Gabriel's ever written, in my opinion, just listen to that violin-solo-followed-by-Eno's(I think)-keyboards towards the end or the way the central theme is reprised very quietly in the softer, hopeful but unsuccessful, breakthrough section.

Love To Be Loved is equally powerful from a lyrical perspective, has a great rhythm section and the unsuccessful escape at the end (a recurring theme of this album) has a crushing emotional power, some of Gabriel's best personal dramatic vocals and a touching musical contrast. Blood Of Eden is a slower, calmer piece but no less emotionally charged ? the vocals shared with Sinead O Connor have a wonderful liquid power contrasted with Gabriel's grittier, more defined leads.

I've already touched on Steam but I suppose it's worth saying that it's more how out of place this chugging guitar/horns song is and how lacking in dynamics (well, they're there but more in the minutiae of the construction than the whole piece) it is compared to its obvious model. It's a good song; I enjoy it, but I'm not sure it should be here. While we're here, I suppose we may as well touch on the other two upbeat 'pop' songs of the album ? Kiss That Frog is in the same vein, though I really like it for some incomprehensible reason. Maybe it's the less unitary nature of the second half the album or the hilarious harmonica or the disarming tricksy intro but I think it fits in pretty well.

Digging In The Dirt should certainly not be placed with those two; it's fast-paced but it's also an aggressive, angry piece full of contrasts both emotional and musical and listen to that gorgeous break at around 2.20. In short, it's serious and it really is very good. Probably the piece from the album that's most grown on me.

Only Us is a very powerful piece of dark, murmuring atmospheric music directed mostly through the rhythm parts. The electronics are draped over the duduk and Gabriel's vocals and Levin's breakthroughs into the upper register. I suppose you could trim a couple of minutes and keep the general thrust of the 'song' more or less the same but then you'd lose the album's best guitar part. Washing Of The Water is easily the best of the occasional simple pieces Gabriel's given us in dribs and drabs since Peter Gabriel 1, aside from the powerful central image ('let your waters reach me, like she reached me tonight') and the heart-melting vocals, the choices of instrument (piano, organ, cello) are all pretty much perfect.

Fourteen Black Paintings is a very simple concept executed brilliantly and professionally. Showcases one of Gabriel's best features: while in the details he incorporates a lot of world music and pop elements, he usually retains a sense of overall structure and energy that allows him to mould these into something really powerful, unitary and unique.

Secret World sees at last the escapism so often unsuccessful in the previous songs, breaking free from the constraints of failed relationships. The image is incredible, the lyrics and vocals heart-rending and the bass part is particularly good.

Us is probably my favourite Peter Gabriel album, a bit more consistent than 4, a bit more mature than 3 (which I've rated higher), rather deeper than So and much more vivacious than Up. I'd recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone who thinks that experimental 'pop' music has some possibilities for expressing ideas in a serious way (and if you're on this site, you probably should) or simply more or less anyone. A very good album, get it immediately.

Favourite Track: Secret World Rating: Four Stars (13/15)


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Posted Saturday, May 29, 2010

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars Another two letter word album

It has always astonished me to find people dismissing post-Peter Gabriel Genesis as commercial crap while at the same time embracing Gabriel's solo career. It is one thing to prefer the one over the other as a matter of personal taste, but it is quite another to claim "commerciality" and lack of Prog contents as the reason. Albums like So and Us are, to my ears at least, every bit as commercial as 80's and 90's Genesis. Indeed, as I pointed out in my review of So, listening to Peter Gabriel's music of this period one can simply conclude that had Gabriel stayed in Genesis, those much reviled Genesis albums might not have turned out all that different. The hits Gabriel had at the time are not very different in style from Genesis songs like Land Of Confusion and I Can't Dance. Thus, blaming Genesis for "selling out", while at the same time holding Peter Gabriel up as a hero for never abandoning Prog is a bit hypocritical as far as I'm concerned. After all, Gabriel never produced anything as progressive as Home By The Sea/Second Home By The Sea or Fading Lights.

Us was the follow up to So from 1986. It thus took Gabriel six years to produce this album even though he worked on other musical projects in the meantime. Us builds heavily on the formula set up with So, why change a successful formula? Steam, in particular, is virtually a carbon copy of Sledgehammer from the previous album and again it became a hit. Kiss That Frog is the same type of song as Shock The Monkey from another previous album.

Like So's Red Rain, the opener here too is a good song; Come Talk To Me features some very appealing bagpipes. Other good moments for me are Blood Of Eden and the ballad Washing Of The Water. This latter song, based as it is on piano and a strong vocal, sounds more "timeless" in comparison with most of the other songs, which have a heavy 80's Pop/Rock sound. Towards the end of the album it tends to sound like just more of the same.

For me Peter Gabriel's solo career is not particularly interesting from a Prog perspective. Us is not a bad album by any means, but I fail to bring up any enthusiasm over it. If you are a fan of Gabriel and you liked his previous albums, you will most probably like this one too. But like with So, I cannot recommend this to anyone but such fans.


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Posted Saturday, July 03, 2010

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
4 stars Gabriel proves he hasn't run out of steam!

The Peter Gabriel trademark sound is the first thing you hear as this CD starts. Lots of over emphasised , loud African tribal percussion crashing down, and Gabriel's smooth voice. There is no real rock rather a lot of pop and a very soft ballad about the Blood of Eden; a dark textured meandering slow sleeper.

The first three songs float by without raising too much ire and then the familiar single pumps out; "Stand back! Give me steam? " I always loved this song built for radio airplay, even before I had heard Gabriel era Genesis, so it has a special place in my heart with its memorable video clip and extraordinary claymation. Following on from Sledge Hammer's structure and rhythms Steam is like a twin brother right down to the quirky overblown video clip. The brass trumpet sound is bold and bright, the drums are steady, the guitars are crystal clean, and Gabriel sounds fantastic vocally, though the song is a fish out of water on this album. The melody will lock in the brain quickly and you may never get it out of your head and grow sick of it. I know that as soon as I heard it after all these years it was as familiar as the day it was rocketing up the charts. But I love the chorus, and the song has an innovative structure, and utilises a variety of musical talents. Great lyrics too; "Give me steam, real is anything you see, get a life with the dreamers dream? you know your stripper from a paint, you know your sinner from a saint, You know the quick from the dead. You know the trouble from the breaks, you know your straight line from the curve," It has some wonderful melodies. The lead break is quite innovative but the real drawcard is that infectious tune and Gabriel is so good on this. It is loud and abrasive and wakes you up if you are setling into the ambience of all the other tracks on a cold, windy night. Oh well, it is a great chartbuster and helped Gabriel gain worldwide recognition.

The following song is Only Us which brings things down considerably with an ethereal chanting and off beat time sig that chops and fractures the rhythms made by a duduk. It is a weird sound but very effective as something different from the poppy radio friendly Steam. This crawls along wrapped around the sporadic drums and ambient keys. Gabriel sings "I hear you calling, yes I can read you loud and clear, further on I go oh, the less I know, friend or foe there's only yes."

Washing of the Water follows on, and is even quieter with subtle multi layered vocals, evoking a sense of beauty and tranquillity; "River show me how to float, I feel like I'm sinking down, here in this water my feet won't touch the ground. River deep can you lift up and carry me." A lot of this has Gabriel on husky vocals and some high falsetto. "Letting go is so hard the way it's hurting now", Gabriel croons, with a lot of heartfelt emotion, "the washing of the water, will you take it all away, bring me something, take this pain away."

A groovy bassline drives Digging In The Dirt, a song I first heard on the astonishing DVD "Growing Up Live". It has a catchy hook with jangly guitar, and a great passage I always loved with Gabriel excellent on vocals, "don't talk back, just drive the car, shut your mouth I know what you are, don't say nothing, keep your hands on the wheel, don't turn around this is for real". The music on this is very well structured, an effective keyboard and brushed percussive metrics. Another definitive highlight of the album.

Fourteen Black Paintings begins with an Eastern feel on snake charmer style woodwind and howling wind effects. It transports you to a far off Mystical place instantly, and there is a gorgeous organ sound. The lyrics are quite surreal; "From a tree, from a vision," when the sound builds midway through there is a chilling atmosphere generated with echoing voices and droning keys, an off kilter drum pattern, as strange as Gabriel gets on Ovo.

Kiss That Frog takes us in another direction. Industrial pounding drums and a haunting mellotron sound, and then a friendly choppy guitar riff kicks in. this one has a whimsical nature as the title suggests about a princess and a prince who is a frog, awaiting he magic kiss, "he's wanting it so much, oh can you see the state I'm in, kiss it better, can you hear beyond the croaking, don't you know that I'm not joking". The instruments on this are terrific, weird harmonica, happy impulsive organs, funky bass, and female backing singers enhance the capricious parody.

Secret World is another track I knew from the DVD so it was familiar immediately and comforting. The spontaneity of the music with its multi layered structure is a pleasant sound. Gabriel's vocals are brought up in the mix lending itself to a more intimate setting. This is a rather sombre reflective song to close the album and one of the longest at 7 minutes or so. But it works to bring things to a satisfying conclusion.

So this is perhaps my third favourite Gabriel album after Up and Peter Gabriel 3. A lot of the songs from this are performed and played better live on the Growing Up Live DVD, although when you get used to a certain way a song is performed it is difficult at times to go back to the studio version. "Us" delivers as a personal and well developed album with some of Gabriel's best material to date that sinks into your system like osmosis.


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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#332815) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Latest members reviews

4 stars This album, kind of got lost, in its own, by then, hyper-image and publicity stunt, quiet undeservingly, considering, the almost-perfectly tight song-writing, in an almost, flawless environment... By the time of release, Peter Gabriel, had built, a very respectable, out of Genesis, solo career. His ... (read more)

Report this review (#949559) | Posted by admireArt | Thursday, April 25, 2013 | Review Permanlink

2 stars This album was written while Gabriel was going through the trauma of a broken relationship after his divorce so the emotional content here would be high. "Come talk to Me" - track about Peter Gabriel's difficulty at the time in communicating with his daughter. The beginning features a bagpip ... (read more)

Report this review (#948209) | Posted by sukmytoe | Tuesday, April 23, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars 5.5/10 3 stars. A good album, you can be sure, but far from a masterpiece. Peter Gabriel is a great artist, but he has not won me as a fan.Beyond So from any other of their albums really captivated me, not Us, which is more my recent listening. The album retains the strong features of the ... (read more)

Report this review (#529130) | Posted by voliveira | Thursday, September 22, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars A mixed bag from 1992. There are some excellent tracks on US - "Come Talk to Me", "Blood of Eden", and "Digging in the Dirt". Even "Kiss That Frog" is fun. But the rest of this CD never really excited me. "Steam" is a return to radio-friendly Gabriel, and "Fourteen Black Paintings" bores me a bi ... (read more)

Report this review (#493187) | Posted by mohaveman | Saturday, July 30, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This CD ROCKS!! Well, not in the conventional sense; but in the sense of hits the right spots and is an all out cracking listen, then, ya, it rocks. This may be an easy one to target for proggers, however. The 'Us' album deals with relationship problems and incorporates, as well as world m ... (read more)

Report this review (#465380) | Posted by Brendan | Monday, June 20, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars God, I love charity shops so much. Because it's the only place were you can get a random association of cheesy 90's pop, the odd classical c.d, abused copies of singles that were released 5 years ago, and the odd gem from a legend. This album being one of them. Ironically I also purchased the ... (read more)

Report this review (#273448) | Posted by arcane-beautiful | Monday, March 22, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I bought 'Us' only for 'Come Talk To Me', 'Steam' and 'Diggin In The Dirt' and not for the rest of the album... ...That sure not conquest me. And I'm sincere... My sentence is this: ''Us' is a great piece of POP in Prog field with Prog music and POP treatment'! 'Us' is sure an interesting ... (read more)

Report this review (#221686) | Posted by 1967/ 1976 | Thursday, June 18, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This is a very personal album for Peter. It is very different and darker than "So". I think it is a lot better too. On "Us", He still is incorporating world music into his own, even more so than on "So". Peter starts the album off with a song about his disintegrating relationship (now repaired ... (read more)

Report this review (#136356) | Posted by White Shadow | Wednesday, September 05, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Let me first start off by mentioning that im not the biggest prog rock or Peter Gabriel fan in the world... yet after studying this album for my Music Technology A-Level (alongside Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon) i can easily say that this has personally been one of the most interesting al ... (read more)

Report this review (#36593) | Posted by | Wednesday, June 15, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album is what we can say PG's best work; Us has something totally different from all the other albums. In this album, Peter doesn't use his favorite toy, the vocoder, in order to give a sense of reality to his lyrics; the results are the best words and the clearest images that he's ever c ... (read more)

Report this review (#27260) | Posted by | Sunday, March 13, 2005 | Review Permanlink

2 stars There nothing remotely progressive about this album, it a weird mix of world music, funk and a pinch of techno thrown in. Avant garde? Yes. Sleek? Yes. Hip? Yes. Progressive? Not on your life. Peter Gabriel stopped being progressive or anything remotely resembling that after his first two releases ... (read more)

Report this review (#27256) | Posted by EMinkovitch | Wednesday, January 12, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This record was the most difficult album to made for him, beacuse of the success of SO and the change of direction of his music getting it a little bit more complex and filled with world elements. Is a magnificent record, witha whole expectrum of colors and textures, from the artwork to the music. P ... (read more)

Report this review (#27252) | Posted by | Saturday, April 17, 2004 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This Gabriel work as the others he released later than this reminds me or makes me compare them with later Pink Floyd recordings, you know there's no vestiges of prog music, but there is something that tells you that is not bad music at all, or very good pop songs if you wanna call them. The instrum ... (read more)

Report this review (#27250) | Posted by Carlos | Saturday, March 20, 2004 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I consider this album the best of Peter Gabriel ever released during his amazing solo career. Surely I am not ignoring his HQ albums such as Passion and his not-really-prog So, but Us gives me another thing about his music. First, it gets me stucked in my seat everytime i play the cd. Second, PG exp ... (read more)

Report this review (#27249) | Posted by | Saturday, March 13, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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