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Peter Gabriel - Shock the Monkey CD (album) cover


Peter Gabriel


Crossover Prog

3.23 | 29 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars If the members of GENESIS as a band and as soloists (Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford) were by 1982 apparently sounding and looking "very happy" playing their music with some Prog Rock and Pop Rock influences and having some Hit Singles played in the Radio, PETER GABRIEL was still having then some "resistance" to join the musical mainstream of the eighties. His fourth solo album (titled "Peter Gabriel", but AKA "Security" in the U.S. and even being titled "Peter Gabriel 4" in some countries like Mexico) was in fact his second "journey" into World Music with the addition of African percussion instruments (a thing which started a bit with his self-titled third solo album from 1980). But, he also released this single with his song "Shock the Monkey" in the Side "A", taken from his fourth solo album.

"Shock the Monkey" was also an obvious choice to be released as a single. A World Music / Pop Rock influenced song, with some African drums and percussion influences, with some synthesisers playing a very characteristic riff, some guitar playing, and with Tony Levin's very good stick bass playing. This somewhat "strange" song has lyrics about jealousy, as PETER GABRIEL once mentioned in an interview. The song also has a "strange" and a bit "disturbing" music video which I watched to on TV one or two times. After all, GABRIEL always has been interested in "strange" and "disturbing" themes for some of his songs. The video also shows him using some make-ups, a thing which he also used a lot when he was a member of GENESIS since late 1972 until his departure from the band in 1975. There are some influences from DAVID BOWIE in his music and in his looks, in my opinion. But BOWIE tended to change them from time to time, like a "musical chameleon". GABRIEL found his musical style and looks and tried for several years to have them as part of his identity as an artist. Anyway, with his next album ("So" from 1986) GABRIEL tried to join the mainstream with a more accessible album, even if he also included some songs with "dark" musical and lyrical themes.

"Shock the Monkey" was played in at least two FM Radio stations in my city in 1982-83 and also years later. But I prefer the live version which was included in his "Plays Live" album from 1983.

"Soft Dog", in the Side "B" of this single, and which was not included in the album, is an almost instrumental musical piece, very simple, but very similar to other songs from the album. GABRIEL only sings for a brief time the title of the song at the end of it. A song with a guitar riff, a stick bass, a saxophone, a synthesiser, and a bit of drums. It is also a bit "strange" song which maybe influenced some songs which were released on some "B" sides of singles from new bands of the eighties like TEARS FOR FEARS.

As GABRIEL has said in some interviews, some of his music could be "hard to stomach" for some people. I agree with him. One really has to be in the mood to listen to some of his music. But "Shock the Monkey" is a good song. With "Wallflower" it is one of the best and most accessible songs from his fouth solo album.

Guillermo | 3/5 |


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