Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography

PETER GABRIEL

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Peter Gabriel picture
Peter Gabriel biography
Peter Brian Gabriel - Born 13 February 1950 (Chobham, Surrey, UK)

Musician, writer and video maker, Peter GABRIEL is one of the most loved musicians in prog-scene. He was the singer and front-man of GENESIS since 1967 to 1975, but that´s another story...

GABRIEL started his solo career in 1977, and since then he has released 8 studio albums, 2 live albums, 3 original sound tracks and 3 compilations, always with the collaboration of a lot of different and great musicians and playing different musical styles. 1977 was the date of the release of Peter´s first album "Peter Gabriel 1", one year after "Peter Gabriel 2" was published, both albums have a similar sound (pop-prog-rock), and count with the production and guitars of KING CRIMSON's Robert Fripp and Tony Levin on bass, being Tony an active member of Peter's band since then. "Solsbury Hill" was the hit single of GABRIEL´s first work, both albums include classic songs that are still being played on his actual shows. In 1980 two things happened, one was the release of Peter's third album "Peter Gabriel 3", this one being the most complete work till date in the opinion of a lot of fans, and also was the foundation of WOMAD (World Of Music, Arts and Dance) where Peter and other members of WOMAD played a series of festivals around the world, where they mixed traditional and modern music. In 1982 Peter published "Security" album, with a different sound, more electronic and also it was the first time that Peter began to use African sounds in his albums. This was followed by the double live album "Peter Gabriel Plays Live". Two years after Peter released his first OST "Birdy" (Alan Parker film), which was a great mix of eerie sounds and relaxing music.

Just one year after, in 1986 "So" was published, which was a well known and best selling album, with a clear pop sound and hit singles like "Sledgehammer" and "Don´t Give Up" (with the collaboration of Kate Bush on vocals) and the great "Red Rain". This album won several awards, especially for his video clips, very sophisticated for that year. Three years after, Peter published his second OST, Martin Scorcese's "Last Temptation Of Christ", one of the most experimental and innovative albums, with a mix of different musical styles. After this album a compilation "Shaking The Tree Sixteen Golden Greats" was published, and in 1988 Peter was involved in some benefit concerts, like "Human Right...
read more

PETER GABRIEL forum topics / tours, shows & news


PETER GABRIEL forum topics Create a topic now
PETER GABRIEL tours, shows & news Post an entries now

PETER GABRIEL Videos (YouTube and more)


Showing only random 3 | Show all PETER GABRIEL videos (11) | Search and add more videos to PETER GABRIEL

Buy PETER GABRIEL Music



More places to buy PETER GABRIEL music online

PETER GABRIEL discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

PETER GABRIEL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.59 | 735 ratings
Peter Gabriel 1 [Aka: Car]
1977
3.02 | 598 ratings
Peter Gabriel 2 [Aka: Scratch]
1978
4.21 | 955 ratings
Peter Gabriel 3 [Aka: Melt]
1980
3.95 | 662 ratings
Peter Gabriel 4 [Aka: Mask, Aka: Security]
1982
2.99 | 217 ratings
Birdy (OST)
1985
3.84 | 758 ratings
So
1986
4.09 | 459 ratings
Passion - Music from The Last Temptation Of Christ
1989
3.62 | 521 ratings
Us
1992
3.48 | 240 ratings
OVO
2000
3.31 | 137 ratings
Long Walk Home - Music from The Rabbit-Proof Fence
2002
4.00 | 601 ratings
Up
2002
2.79 | 137 ratings
Big Blue Ball
2008
2.88 | 254 ratings
Scratch My Back
2010
3.58 | 215 ratings
New Blood
2011
2.88 | 80 ratings
And I'll Scratch Yours
2013

PETER GABRIEL Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 260 ratings
Plays Live
1983
2.47 | 50 ratings
Plays Live - Highlights
1983
3.95 | 165 ratings
Secret World Live
1994
3.57 | 53 ratings
Live Blood
2011
4.23 | 21 ratings
Growing Up Live
2019

PETER GABRIEL Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.09 | 40 ratings
P.O.V.
1990
4.26 | 204 ratings
Secret World Live
1994
4.53 | 209 ratings
Growing Up Live
2003
3.83 | 82 ratings
Play: The Videos
2004
3.83 | 76 ratings
Still Growing Up - Live And Unwrapped
2005
4.15 | 56 ratings
New Blood - Live in London
2011
4.40 | 15 ratings
Live In Buenos Aires 1988
2011
4.42 | 41 ratings
Live In Athens 1987
2013
4.28 | 35 ratings
Back to Front: Live in London
2014

PETER GABRIEL Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.50 | 43 ratings
Ein deutsches Album
1980
3.63 | 52 ratings
Deutsches album
1982
4.00 | 2 ratings
Collectors' Edition
1990
3.88 | 102 ratings
Shaking the Tree: Sixteen Golden Greats
1990
3.28 | 17 ratings
Revisited
1992
3.81 | 59 ratings
Hit
2003
3.25 | 4 ratings
Scratch My Back / And I'll Scratch Yours
2013
3.23 | 16 ratings
Rated PG
2019
3.30 | 14 ratings
Flotsam and Jetsam
2019

PETER GABRIEL Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.11 | 26 ratings
Solsbury Hill
1977
2.72 | 20 ratings
Modern Love
1977
2.10 | 20 ratings
D.I.Y.
1978
3.50 | 12 ratings
D.I.Y.
1978
4.05 | 25 ratings
No Self Control
1980
4.20 | 30 ratings
Games Without Frontiers
1980
4.00 | 30 ratings
Biko
1980
4.19 | 16 ratings
Solsbury Hill
1980
3.33 | 6 ratings
I Don't Remember
1980
3.00 | 1 ratings
Spiel ohne Grenzen
1980
3.54 | 8 ratings
Wallflower
1982
3.35 | 24 ratings
I Have The Touch
1982
3.24 | 30 ratings
Shock the Monkey
1982
4.06 | 22 ratings
I Don't Remember
1983
3.04 | 7 ratings
Solsbury Hill (Live)
1983
3.00 | 2 ratings
Out Out
1984
2.33 | 14 ratings
Walk Through The Fire
1984
3.85 | 30 ratings
Sledgehammer
1986
3.68 | 32 ratings
Don't Give Up (w/ Kate Bush)
1986
2.48 | 27 ratings
Big Time (maxi-single)
1986
3.00 | 9 ratings
Sledgehammer - Dance mix
1986
3.19 | 8 ratings
In Your Eyes
1986
3.82 | 11 ratings
Solsbury Hill
1986
3.09 | 13 ratings
Biko/No More Apartheid (maxi-single)
1987
3.54 | 22 ratings
Red Rain
1987
3.38 | 13 ratings
Shakin' The Tree (w/ Youssou N'Dour)
1989
3.44 | 16 ratings
Steam
1992
3.82 | 22 ratings
Digging In The Dirt
1992
3.29 | 7 ratings
Digging In The Dirt - Brown Linen Box
1992
3.75 | 16 ratings
Blood Of Eden
1993
3.00 | 4 ratings
Be Still
1993
3.00 | 13 ratings
Kiss That Frog
1993
3.63 | 8 ratings
SW Live EP
1994
3.33 | 6 ratings
Lovetown
1994
3.33 | 6 ratings
While the Earth Sleeps (w/ Deep Forest)
1996
4.00 | 1 ratings
That'll Do
1998
3.33 | 6 ratings
The Story Of Ovo
2000
3.60 | 10 ratings
More Than This
2002
2.43 | 16 ratings
The Barry Williams Show
2002
3.30 | 10 ratings
Burn You Up, Burn You Down
2003
3.31 | 13 ratings
Growing Up
2003
1.00 | 1 ratings
Big Time (with Electro Kingdom)
2005
4.20 | 5 ratings
Peter Gabriel
2007
2.67 | 3 ratings
Salala (featuring Angelique Kidjo)
2007
4.00 | 5 ratings
Whole Thing
2008
3.85 | 27 ratings
Down to Earth
2008
3.90 | 10 ratings
The Book of Love / Not One of Us
2010
4.20 | 10 ratings
Live in Buenos Aires 1988
2011
3.83 | 6 ratings
Courage
2013
3.00 | 1 ratings
Sledgehammer
2015
4.14 | 7 ratings
The Veil
2016
4.00 | 9 ratings
I'm Amazing
2016

PETER GABRIEL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Peter Gabriel 1 [Aka: Car] by GABRIEL, PETER album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.59 | 735 ratings

BUY
Peter Gabriel 1 [Aka: Car]
Peter Gabriel Crossover Prog

Review by A Crimson Mellotron
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The allure of the solo album is undeniable and the stellar catalogue of Peter Gabriel is beyond exciting, at least for the ones willing to explore his unusual sonic world; After fronting Genesis in the first half of the 70s and leading his band successfully through their most glorious years [musically, certainly], he left after 'The Lamb' and went on to release a string of severely engaging and innovative art rock albums, where he shifted styles and crossed boundaries, never disposing of that precious progressive aura that is, of course, bound to 'haunt' him, regardless of what he puts out to the listeners to embrace. And his very first studio album as a solo artist provides some strong evidence to back all of this up - the self-titled 1977 album, also known as 'Car', after the famous Hipgnosis cover artwork, is a bold collection of nine completely unrelated songs that seem to go from one extreme to another, stylistically, providing a fine glimpse into Gabriel's musical vocabulary. To make it all even more exciting, one has to mention the presence of Robert Fripp and Tony Levin (who would later go on to play together in King Crimson in the 80s), as the main contributors to the music on 'Peter Gabriel 1'.

Significant and rich are certainly the words that best describe this record, the elegance that accompanies each composition is also valuable, as well as the fact that the album is completely different from everything one might expect from Peter Gabriel, given his previous releases with Genesis. The opening track 'Moribund the Burgermeister' is arguably the weirdest song on the album, and this one resembles some of the material on 'The Lamb' just remotely, making it the only plausible Genesis comparison one could make; Then there are the two fantastic and successful singles 'Solsbury Hill', a song that needs no introduction, and 'Modern Love', with its artsy, wacky music video. The softer 'Humdrum' has to be another highlight, and so is the 7-minute Americana 'Waiting for the Big One'. We have producer Bob Ezrin's influence on these more American-sounding tracks, while Gabriel has been credited for the more 'European sounds' on the record. The rest of the album is also excellent in the face of 'Down the Dolce Vita' and the emotional rollercoaster that is 'Here Comes the Flood'. It is interesting how Peter Gabriel's very first solo album is simultaneously so diverse, so warm, and so hard to predict, yet it is far from perfect, while there are no weak moments on it. His progressive leanings are evident, though not so strongly, as he incorporates a more approachable way of composing songs, in comparison to all releases behind his back up until 1977. All in all, this is a great album that needs to be given some time, in order to be fully appreciated, as the subtlety of it reveals itself gently and gradually before the patient listener.

 Don't Give Up (w/ Kate Bush) by GABRIEL, PETER album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1986
3.68 | 32 ratings

BUY
Don't Give Up (w/ Kate Bush)
Peter Gabriel Crossover Prog

Review by DangHeck

3 stars Random happenstance that I'm giving this single a chance, as the music video for the A-side, "Don't Give Up", unsurprisingly showed up in my YouTube feed. Being a fan of Kate Bush since my college years, and certainly forever significantly more than her one protégé of sorts, Mr. Gabriel here, I've been digging into her back catalog, listening to non-album B-sides and their respective singles and watching any remaining music videos of hers that I had missed (there are many). Speaking of music videos, the one for this song is as sweet as the song and lyrical content therein: simply a hilltop embrace by Peter and Kate lasting the entirety of the video. This song is very soulful, almost a duet gospel track. An expectedly humanist gospel tune, sung in gratitude to friendship. Kate takes the chorus and what I would consider the first bridge, the second so-called bridge sung by Gabriel. Pretty song. Very not progressive haha. That is, perhaps, until the very end. The beat picks up and shifts in a very peculiar way. The bass, for one thing, is phenomenal.

The B-side is the classic "In Your Eyes". Beautiful vocal performance by Peter here. He is, of course, one of the figureheads of what is now considered Post-Progressive music (the other most major figure being Japan's David Sylvian). As the A-side guest Kate Bush is always apt and willing, so too does Peter explore textures and sonic choices that may be somewhat unusual in the world of Western Pop. In the case of this track, as we might expect from him, specifically from this time, these sonic explorations result in a "World Music", equally popularized by another Post- Progressive voice, David Byrne. Lovely track. Expectedly lovely music video, featuring some old-school '50s(?) clips of a woman dancing, and with wonderful imagery, of course using Peter's and others' eyes blown up on various surfaces. Great stuff.

 Up by GABRIEL, PETER album cover Studio Album, 2002
4.00 | 601 ratings

BUY
Up
Peter Gabriel Crossover Prog

Review by lovejazzprogelectron

5 stars This album have everything you are looking for in pop music: great choruses, cool bass lines, non-typical structures, not too much repetitive, strong voice, groove, an awesome use of keyboards and a totally correct (and non-plastic) production. Peter Gabriel's Up is without a doubt one of his best albums along with his first 6 albums and his epic soundtracks. A great and perfect album, and, why do I mean by perfect? Every song and the listen itself it's just good, excellent or perfect; the order, the connections among songs surgically worked. It's laughable that some prog purist (nothing but closed-minded people that thinks Prog must be pretentiously complex and easy to listen) argue that prog and pop can't be mixed, at first they hate on 80s Genesis and claim Peter Gabriel as a god, then they realize Peter Gabriel put strong and awesome pop albums and probably put some hate on them when there's nothing to do with. Prog purist can say anything they want, nobody cares that they can't adapt to the modern music or its evolve. This Peter Gabriel effort it's totally a 10/10 because of creativity, musically powerful, with great presence and memorable.
 So by GABRIEL, PETER album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.84 | 758 ratings

BUY
So
Peter Gabriel Crossover Prog

Review by Gallifrey

4 stars Listening diary 2nd January, 2022: Peter Gabriel - So (art pop, 1986)

It's a pity that this album has such a run of dud sections, because the best parts of this are amongst the best that pop music has been, ever. The opening pair get most of the talk, quite rightfully, as two sides of the 80's prog pop coin - the emotional synth ballad juxtaposed with the upbeat funk-influenced megahit. But I'll also give strong mention to "Big Time", which I don't think gets as much credit, for its absolutely obnoxious levels of 80s synth cheese, but done with enough hooks to make it work both ironically and unironically.

7.8 (13th listen)

Part of my listening diary from my facebook music blog - www.facebook.com/TheExoskeletalJunction

 Passion - Music from The Last Temptation Of Christ by GABRIEL, PETER album cover Studio Album, 1989
4.09 | 459 ratings

BUY
Passion - Music from The Last Temptation Of Christ
Peter Gabriel Crossover Prog

Review by von bathel

5 stars LISTEN WITH YOUR SOUL!!! fantastic Ethnic Musical Work, deep and full of mystery.A great musical piece!! The album contains the soundtrack that Gabriel prepared for The Last Temptation of Christ, a film by Martin Scorsese based on a book by Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis that infuriated Christians around the world because he dared to consider what the human Jesus Christ would be like, married with children (the film had the same effect on Christians as the book). This is one of the most influential soundtracks of the last three decades. Several of the musicians have passed away (David Bowie who plays the role in Pilate's film) Nusrarat Fateh Ali Khan, Hossam Ramzy (RIP) as well as great musicians! The film is wonderful. I don't know why so much prejudice, as it is also based on other documents (like Da Vinci Code) The soundtrack next to "My Life with the Bush Ghosts" by Brian Eno is one of my favorites.Deep feelings, infinite and beautiful music!!A work of art!!Who has not heard, listen.Peter Gabriel is a genius.

PORTUGUESE: O referido álbum contém a trilha que Gabriel preparou para The Last Temptation of Christ, filme de Martin Scorsese baseado em livro do escritor grego Nikos Kazantzakis que enfureceu cristãos no mundo todo porque ousou cogitar como seria o Jesus Cristo humano, casado e com filhos (o filme teve o mesmo efeito sobre os cristãos que o livro). Esta é uma das mais influentes trilhas sonoras das últimas três décadas. Já faleceram vários dos músicos(David Bowie que faz o papel no filme de Pilatos) Nusrarat Fateh Ali Khan,Hossam Ramzy(R.I.P.) além de grandes músicos!O Filme é maravilhoso.Não sei porque tanto preconceito,pois é baseado também em outros documentos (como Código Da Vinci) A trilha ao lado de "My Life with the Bush Ghosts" de Brian Eno é uma das minhas prediletas.SEntimentos profundos, música infinita e linda!!Uma obra de arte!!Quem não ouviu, ouça.Peter Gabriel é um genio.

 Plays Live by GABRIEL, PETER album cover Live, 1983
4.00 | 260 ratings

BUY
Plays Live
Peter Gabriel Crossover Prog

Review by Mirakaze
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

2 stars I guess you just had to be there... On paper, this has every element needed to make a great live album, ignoring the deceptive album cover (don't expect any moonlit knights here) and the fact that the sound quality isn't the greatest since that usually isn't a dealbreaker for me: the track listing is mostly good, Gabriel is having a splendid night and his accompanying musicians are doing a good job backing him up. It probably was a great spectacle to see, but on record, divorced from the visuals and the concert atmosphere, it sounds like the musicians are trying their hardest to make this music come to life and failing. I realize that the bar is set high, but these versions of songs like "Family Snapshot" and "I Don't Remember" don't come remotely close to recapturing the energy, timbral richness and emotional prowess of their studio counterparts. Not that I really blame the musicians: I can think of some minor things that could be improved (why is "No Self-Control" slowed down to such a crawling pace, and was it really necessary to quiet down the coda of "Shock The Monkey" just for some obligatory audience participation? Or rather, was it necessary to include such a version here?) but the fact of the matter is that this music was designed to be built up out of many layers in a recording studio and not be recreated live with little freedom for reinterpretation by a five-man line-up. The result sounds disappointingly flat when compared to what it was supposed to sound like. "Intruder" is the only song on the album that seems to have the opposite problem, with Peter's overblown vocal performance of what was supposed to be quiet, haunting song feeling very out of place. To play this song live at all is doing it a disservice.

I suppose it probably goes without saying, but I want to state explicitly that this low rating should NOT be seen as reflective of the musical quality of the songs included here, but rather of the material value of this release. It's perfectly listenable, but I see no reason at all to seek it out instead of just listening to the studio recordings again.

 Secret World Live by GABRIEL, PETER album cover DVD/Video, 1994
4.26 | 204 ratings

BUY
Secret World Live
Peter Gabriel Crossover Prog

Review by fs1957

1 stars So I love the music of Peter, no doubt about that. But.... The quality of this DVD is so poor that I can not recommend it at all. It says Digitally remixed and remastered... Must have been done by a 5 year old on a 1963 computer... The quality is barely 640 x 480 and playing it on a widescreen TV (mine is 2020) makes you wanna cry... The sound is ok, so that is good. With that said, don't even think of buying it, watch it on youtube and you will enjoy it more. Forgive me guys but whoever produced this, I would suggest, get another job.
 Peter Gabriel 2 [Aka: Scratch] by GABRIEL, PETER album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.02 | 598 ratings

BUY
Peter Gabriel 2 [Aka: Scratch]
Peter Gabriel Crossover Prog

Review by SeeHatfield

3 stars "Looking for movement within the haze?"

Peter Gabriel's second solo album starts out strong but then fizzles. From the anthemic opener, "On the Air," to the resigned and cynical closer, "Home Sweet Home," is quite a fall. That fall is a symptom of the irresolution that haunts this album, which for Gabriel is something of a transitional patchwork. Robert Fripp's production is sympathetic but perhaps not tough enough to get at what is potentially good here, and the record wavers. The good parts are pretty damn good, though.

By the late seventies, both Gabriel and Fripp were eager to shake off their reps as ringleaders of what we now know as the first generation of "prog." Both were alienated from the genre; both had misgivings about the corporatizing of progressive music and the distance between artist and audience that marked stadium rock. Fripp and Gabriel were leery of being rock "stars" and sympathized with the gust of new energy that was punk rock. Gabriel's second album is not exactly punk (he would never be stripped down and spontaneous enough for that) but is punk-adjacent, affecting an anti-corporate, balls-out attitude and serving up lots of hard, guitar-driven rock. Recorded mostly in Holland, but then ironed out in New York, it is very much a slice of late-70s, NYC-oriented, postpunk art rock, the kind of record that could rub elbows with Television or the early Talking Heads.

Notably, this album is one of Fripp's early production credits outside of King Crimson (and Fripp & Eno). It came after his work on Daryl Hall's solo album Sacred Songs (1977, though unreleased until 1980) and before Fripp's own solo album Exposure (1979) and his work with the Roches (1979; 1982). It also came before Fripp's new wave / proto-math rock quartet, the League of Gentlemen (1980-81), a project that offered much rawer, spikier music. The avant-punk sympathies notable on Exposure come out on this Gabriel album occasionally, but nothing here rocks out as jaggedly as the League. The closest contenders for the punk ethos here would be the two opening cuts, "On the Air" and "D.I.Y.," both of which scream defiance. But they're rather different songs.

"On the Air" is a persona song, sung by a recurrent Gabriel character, "Mozo," who seems to be both a pirate radio operator and social outcast. Its verse is spiked by power chords with a bit of a fuzzed, glammed-out feel. It's a right scorcher and strong opener, though the lyric's exact meaning (perhaps unsurprisingly for Gabriel) is more obscure than it seems on first listen, like something drawn out of a private mythology. To me, Mozo sounds as if he could be a character from The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, and lyrically the song could be a Lamb outtake (this during a period when Gabriel and his band still performed the Lamb's title song, or "Back in N.Y.C.," as encores). This song segues right into "D.I.Y.," which is a tribute to the punk ethos ("You want some control, you've got to keep it small") in the form of a chant, with the title phrase, "DIY, DIY," repeating over and over against an insistent, chopping rhythm -- a kind of minimalist art song that wouldn't have been out of place on Brian Eno's first couple of solo albums. The sound isn't punk, but the sentiment is meant to be. Of course, during this period Gabriel and his touring band shaved their heads and adopted a sort of punk look (despite the mad chops and intimidating gear onstage at a Gabriel show).

The truth is, the album is too slick for punk, and Gabriel's best nods to the punk ethos would come in another year or two when he abandoned the idea of sounding punk and instead allowed himself to sound alien (on his breakthrough third album, 1980). Reportedly, Fripp pushed Gabriel through the recording process in record time (Gabriel recalls that Fripp "was very keen to try speeding up my recording process, as many people have been since and failed, but he got closest to it"). But the record does not sound spontaneous; it sounds, as usual, workshoppy and dense with ideas. The electric guitars are not raw but compressed and sleek, and several tracks boast beds of percolating synth by keyboardist Larry Fast. Most of the players, including guitarist Sid McGinnis (a Barry Manilow sideman later known for the Late Show with David Letterman) and of course bassist Tony Levin and drummer Jerry Marotta (both Gabriel mainstays), were sought-after session musicians. Keyboardists Tony (Bayeté) Cochran, an accomplished jazz player and composer, and Roy Bittan, of E Street Band fame, are no slouches either, and Timmy (Sax Man) Cappello blows up a storm on two tracks (reminding me of nothing so much as the opening of a Saturday Night Live show in the Howard Shore / Paul Shaffer era). The musicianship is diamond-sharp, even though the sound of the record is a bit of a haze. Although Gabriel often seems to be rebelling against the extravagant production of his first solo album (produced by Bob Ezrin, 1977), and there are moments of bracing austerity ("Mother of Violence," "Indigo"), this is not a spare or minimalist record.

The first side of the album is far stronger than the second, with not only the two opening salvos but also the fragile, haunting meditation "Mother of Violence," a pared-down song co-written by Gabriel's then-wife Jill and anchored by McGinnis's acoustic and Bittan's piano (grounding the track much as Bittan does for Springsteen's "Meeting Across the River," for example). Plus, the first side ends with the number that fascinates me most, "White Shadow," a surreal, imagistic song that pits an Orientalist riff (à la "Kashmir") against lyrics that seem to reflect, as on The Lamb, Gabriel's fascination with American things ("In God we trust," "All wrapped to go like Kentucky Fried"). It's not the lyric that gets me, though it's evasive and worth thinking about. It's just the sound, in particular the steady, almost plodding 4/4, enlivened by Levin's propulsive bass and offset by a droning, minor-key synth figure whose descending chords seem to work with and against the beat. That, and the decorative, almost fanfaric synth licks, reinforce a (again) vaguely Arabian or Middle Eastern feel. I'm afraid I lack the musical theory vocabulary to explain this well (should I be saying something about the Phrygian mode here? I dunno, but maybe other folks on PA can clue me in?). But the effect is circling, hypnotic, potentially endless (reportedly, the original vinyl release of the album went into a nonstop groove at the end of this side). What makes all this sublime is Fripp's solo at the end, a series of ascending lines played against the cycling chords, somehow frenzied and yet (because Fripp!) precise and cunning. It's great. (My mental list of great guitar solos includes several by Fripp on other people's records.)

Sadly, the second side of this album feels inconsistent and irresolute, like a series of genre sketches, and there's no build or payoff at the end. The rockers "Animal Magic" and "Perspective" are expertly played but unexceptional (twists on what Gabriel had already done with "Modern Love," on his previous album). "Exposure," a Gabriel/Fripp experiment later redone on Fripp's solo album, is a spooky groove against a backdrop of keening Frippertronics, graced by a loping Levin bass part, wonderfully chunky and heavy. It's less a song than a piece, if you know what I mean, though Gabriel's vocal is spirited and raw. "Flotsam and Jetsam" is almost an abstract for a song: a lovely promise of something undelivered. The closer, "Home Sweet Home," is theatrically pitiful, cheaply ironic, and crass: a loser's narrative in song, the polar opposite of the way Gabriel handles a similar theme in the later (and better) "Don't Give Up." It's a weak anchor leg. Though Gabriel's vocal builds to an interesting tormented weirdness, the feeling comes shrink-wrapped in bald sarcasm.

In general, Side 2 of the album feels schizoid, with a couple of downbeat, depressive ballads being most personal, while the rockers seek to provide ballast but feel a bit programmed. Without Side 2's rockers, the album could be a long, dry stretch, but they don't feel special.

Maybe the worst thing about this album, though, is how muffled and blurry so many of the vocals are. While Gabriel's voice occasionally rides above the mix, often it sounds half-buried, almost strangled. As Eric Tamm notes, the album "sounds like it comes out of a dingy garage." Having recently relistened to Gabriel's first two albums back to back (in what I assume to be remastered, optimal form), I have to say that Bob Ezrin seemed to push Gabriel vocally, really making him own the songs, whereas Fripp's production, though it allows Gabriel more room to experiment, doesn't haul the singer out into the open. The total effect is that some of the most interesting writing on the album has to work its way out of a layer of gauze.

Still, there is half an excellent album here. And what would come next for Gabriel would be a real kick in the slats: something new, arresting, and not generic at all.

 Modern Love by GABRIEL, PETER album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1977
2.72 | 20 ratings

BUY
Modern Love
Peter Gabriel Crossover Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

2 stars 20-Year Chronological Run-Through pt. Fifteen: 1977.

-- First review for this single -- PETER GABRIEL's debut could be considered slightly over-produced. It also has a feel that the former Genesis vocalist wanted to show off how many kinds of song styles he could deal with: barbershop harmonies ('Excuse Me'), blues ('Waiting for the Big One'), balladry, etc. The album is at its poppiest on 'Modern Love'. Sure, 'Solsbury Hill' was the hit and to-be evergreen in his discography, but it's much more sophisticated than in-your- face catchy and chorus-repetitive 'Modern Love'. Hardly any PG fan values this song very highly. It was also turned into a stupid music video in which Gabriel, dressed awkwardly, is moving nervously on an escalator: in Gabriel's music video compilation "Play" it's revealingly added as a bonus, not on the main selection.

'Slowburn' also represents the rockier and more energetic side of the debut album, and is definitely one of the songs that are in my opinion over-produced, ie. way too much muscle in the sound. But I like the delicate moment ("Shooting down...") and the powerful electric guitar solo after it.

2½ stars rounded down.

 Scratch My Back by GABRIEL, PETER album cover Studio Album, 2010
2.88 | 254 ratings

BUY
Scratch My Back
Peter Gabriel Crossover Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

2 stars It's sad that Peter Gabriel, one of my biggest long-time favourites of male singer-songwriters, hasn't released a single proper studio album with new material since Up (2002). Instead there have been various projects based on recycling old material. When this covers album came out -- what, already ten years ago! -- I borrowed the CD from the library, but it was hardly more than a curiosity to me. Years later I listened to, and even reviewed here, the latter half of the project, And I'll Scratch Yours (2013), in which the covered artists cover Peter Gabriel's songs. Although I didn't have a permanent interest for that one either, it was clearly the more interesting one of the two releases. Let's see how I respond to this music now on return.

The crucial reason for my initial disappointment on this release was (and is also now) the determined, unified style of performances, ie. the orchestral but rather introvert arrangements lacking rock instruments. In small doses that approach functions very well. To picture this, I have always preferred the ripped-down versions of 'Here Comes the Flood' over the overproduced 1977 album original. In the beginning of this album, DAVID BOWIE's 'Heroes' and PAUL SIMON's 'The Boy in the Bubble' have nice, calm versions.

The other reason for disappointment was (and is) that those songs I wasn't already familiar with, leave me mostly cold here. And they are a big majority. On the ELBOW song 'Mirrorball' the orchestra gets disturbingly noisy. I have never listened to BON IVER, but PG's version of 'Flume', as pretty as it might be, is just another slow-tempo performance for Peter Gabriel's voice, piano and orchestra. I wasn't familiar with the TALKING HEADS song 'Listening Wind', but its violin-centred version is nevertheless among the few highlights. LOU REED's 'The Power of the Heart': again, on small doses fairly enjoyable orchestral PG delicacy, but not on the long run. ARCADE FIRE and THE MAGNETIC FIELDS, other totally unfamiliar bands to me, other "so what" interpretetations in the exactly same manner. Boooooring.

PG's liner notes reveal that his original choice from RANDY NEWMAN was 'Baltimore' which I would have preferred over the much covered 'I Think It's Going to Rain Today'. The REGINA SPEKTOR song 'Aprés Moi' (in English, despite the French title) has another edgy arrangement which I'm not fond of. Especially the sharp brass instruments sound nasty to me, preventing me to concentrate on the song's essence. 'Philadelphia' sadly isn't among the bunch of NEIL YOUNG songs I know, but in any case I'm fed up with the brass-heavy arrangements at this point. The closing number, RADIOHEAD's 'Street Spirit (Fade Out)' is a good one in its moody delicacy that slightly reminds me of 'The Drop' from the Up album. But the whole is sonically too singular and monotonous to keep the listener interested.

Now that I think of it: can I name a single covers-only album recorded by an artist that I like, that has made a notable impression on me? Bowie's Pin-Ups? Songs from the Mirror by Fish? Tori Amos' Strange Little Girls? No, none of them much stirred me. Among covers albums, I just might have had the most positive feelings for the Finnish troubadour Matti Johannes Koivu's acoustic interpretations of songs by the bygone schlager singer Irwin Goodman -- for whom as the original performer I have no interest whatsoever! Also my namesake himself was a new acquaintance for me at the time. That may seem strange indeed that my long-time favourite artist loses to a black horse like that, but in the end it's all about expectations: on the Peter Gabriel scale, Scratch My Back is a massive disappointment.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.