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Peter Gabriel - Us CD (album) cover

US

Peter Gabriel

 

Crossover Prog

3.63 | 486 ratings

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Matti
Prog Reviewer
3 stars This was the long-awaited first new PG studio album for six years (if you don't count soundtracks). It's funny how the preceding, commercially very succesful album So (1986) is still very dear to me -- with the exception of 'Sledgehammer' and especially 'Big Time' -- but Us never seriously grew on me. I was 16 and just getting into album collecting when So came out, and that was even before the Gabriel-era Genesis became my biggest prog favourite. Six years later, after my most hectic prog-discovering era, it was much harder to impress me with a new release from any of my fave artists. Is Us really notably worse than So? I can't evaluate them side by side without being biased, but it's obvious that the songs in Us just don't grab me as strongly as So does. The sonic world in Us is audibly 'perfected' ad infinitum, but the songwriting itself is rather mediocre. I think the judge of time, in my case anyway, has proved this.

I remember each track surprisingly well even if I haven't much listened to Us all these years. But many of them I've more often heard in either PG's music video compilation "Play" or in Secret World Live DVD. Let's see... 'Come Talk to Me' is a pretty good opener, maybe slightly over-extended in 7 minutes. 'Love to Be Loved' is a song about human emotions that leaves me a bit unaffected. Slow-tempo 'Blood of Eden' is among the best tracks: with Sinead O'Connor's beautiful backing vocals it has the emotional power. 'Steam' and 'Kiss That Frog' are what 'Big Time' was in So; I just don't like the noisy hits like these. 'Only Us' is frankly dead boring, despite the sonic details.

'Washing of the Water' benefits from being an intimate, sincerely gospel-like song that grows towards the end. 'Digging in the Dirt' must be the best known track of this album, and its music video is admittedly awesome, but the angrier parts are too much in-your-face and repetitive to my taste. Semi-instrumental '14 Black Paintings' is a dark-toned sonic painting that resembles the soundtrack album Passion. The closing track 'Secret World' is another highlight, which however functions better in The Secret World Live.

Us is not totally convincing album in the scale of Peter Gabriel, but it's among the most cultivated and best produced pop/rock albums of its time and hence it deserves three stars. BTW, the colourful and yet digital-cold cover design is in my opinion the least interesting of PG album covers.

Matti | 3/5 |

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