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Peter Gabriel - So CD (album) cover


Peter Gabriel


Crossover Prog

3.84 | 682 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Peter Gabriel's fifth solo studio album, So, the first one actually to have a title, became his most successful album commercially including six songs making it onto either the Billboard Hot 100 or the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks charts. So would show a significant change in Gabriel's sound as the music became more upbeat and had a better merging of pop rock and world music. It would also be his most commercial-sounding album and his most accessible one. It literally sold like hotcakes.

At the time this came out, I wondered what had happened. So seemed like such a major disappointment compared to Security. It seemed too airy, too happy, too much like Top 40 music. It didn't seem like Peter Gabriel at all. For many years I considered it the worst album in Gabriel's career. It gave me the same reaction Genesis' Invisible Touch album did, which came out in the same year. Here were a group of talented artists that when together created things like Selling England by the Pound, Nursery Cryme, and Foxtrot. They went their separate ways in 1975, took completely different paths of musical development, and in 1986 we have Invisible Touch and So. What was wrong with these people? That was the question I had in my mind at the time.

Since 1986, Invisible Touch hasn't aged well at all. Peter Gabriel's So has. Once you get past the pop feel of the album, you notice all kinds of subtle experiments and nuances that grow with each listen. Lyrically, Gabriel was at his prime. Musically, I don't care much for where he shifted his music, but I can still admire all the creative ideas he put in this album.

Red Rain, That Voice Again, and We Do What We're Told (Milgram's 37) are the most appealing tracks on the album and are more in line with Security in style. Sledgehammer, Big Time, and In Your Eyes is what put Gabriel in the limelight and made him a pop star (plus the innovative music videos he made for Sledgehammer and Big Time).

The perfect marriage of pop and prog? Maybe so. I wish it were more of the latter, but hey, everyone needs to make a living. Three stars. A good and enjoyable listen (maybe even a guilty pleasure), but not really essential when you consider this man once appeared as the lead vocalist on a song called Supper's Ready.

progaardvark | 3/5 |


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