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PETER GABRIEL

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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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 thatīs 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 Peterīs 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 GABRIELīs 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 "Donīt 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...
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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)

3.57 | 671 ratings
Peter Gabriel 1 [Aka: Car]
1977
3.00 | 545 ratings
Peter Gabriel 2 [Aka: Scratch]
1978
4.20 | 879 ratings
Peter Gabriel 3 [Aka: Melt]
1980
3.93 | 608 ratings
Peter Gabriel 4 [Aka: Mask or Security]
1982
2.98 | 198 ratings
Birdy (OST)
1985
3.84 | 678 ratings
So
1986
4.08 | 432 ratings
Passion - Music from The Last Temptation Of Christ
1989
3.63 | 481 ratings
Us
1992
3.46 | 219 ratings
OVO
2000
3.31 | 125 ratings
Long Walk Home - Music from The Rabbit-Proof Fence
2002
4.00 | 570 ratings
Up
2002
2.78 | 127 ratings
Big Blue Ball
2008
2.91 | 234 ratings
Scratch My Back
2010
3.60 | 195 ratings
New Blood
2011
2.92 | 64 ratings
And I'll Scratch Yours
2013

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

2.43 | 44 ratings
Plays Live - Highlights
1983
4.06 | 236 ratings
Plays Live
1983
3.93 | 152 ratings
Secret World Live
1994
3.56 | 45 ratings
Live Blood
2011
4.30 | 10 ratings
Live in Buenos Aires 1988
2011
4.73 | 11 ratings
Growing Up Live
2019

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

4.09 | 34 ratings
P.O.V.
1990
4.33 | 191 ratings
Secret World Live
1994
4.51 | 199 ratings
Growing Up Live
2003
3.81 | 77 ratings
Play: The Videos
2004
3.82 | 70 ratings
Still Growing Up - Live And Unwrapped
2005
4.13 | 52 ratings
New Blood - Live In London
2011
4.46 | 13 ratings
Live In Buenos Aires 1988
2011
4.42 | 34 ratings
Live In Athens 1987
2013
4.26 | 28 ratings
Back to Front: Live in London
2014

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

3.51 | 40 ratings
Ein deutsches album
1980
3.72 | 47 ratings
Deutsches album
1982
5.00 | 1 ratings
Collectors' Edition
1990
3.86 | 93 ratings
Shaking the Tree Sixteen Golden Greats
1990
3.26 | 15 ratings
Revisited
1992
3.79 | 51 ratings
Hit
2003
3.33 | 3 ratings
Scratch My Back / And I'll Scratch Yours
2013
3.14 | 10 ratings
Rated PG
2019
3.20 | 5 ratings
Flotsam and Jetsam
2019

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

4.13 | 23 ratings
Solsbury Hill
1977
3.69 | 16 ratings
Modern Love
1977
2.00 | 18 ratings
D.I.Y.
1978
3.17 | 12 ratings
D.I.Y.
1978
4.02 | 24 ratings
No Self Control
1980
4.21 | 28 ratings
Games Without Frontiers
1980
4.00 | 25 ratings
Biko
1980
4.24 | 17 ratings
Solsbury Hill
1980
3.29 | 7 ratings
I Don't Remember
1980
0.00 | 0 ratings
Spiel ohne Grenzen
1980
3.92 | 7 ratings
Wallflower
1982
3.30 | 21 ratings
I Have The Touch
1982
3.64 | 25 ratings
Shock The Monkey
1982
4.00 | 21 ratings
I Don't Remember
1983
3.04 | 5 ratings
Solsbury Hill (Live)
1983
0.00 | 0 ratings
Out Out
1984
2.24 | 12 ratings
Walk Through The Fire
1984
3.86 | 26 ratings
Sledgehammer
1986
3.82 | 29 ratings
Don't Give Up (w/ Kate Bush)
1986
2.35 | 27 ratings
Big Time (maxi-single)
1986
3.25 | 8 ratings
Sledgehammer - Dance mix
1986
3.24 | 6 ratings
In Your Eyes
1986
3.78 | 9 ratings
Solsbury Hill
1986
3.13 | 11 ratings
Biko/No More Apartheid (maxi-single)
1987
3.50 | 19 ratings
Red Rain
1987
3.00 | 12 ratings
Shakin' The Tree (w/ Youssou N'Dour)
1989
3.42 | 12 ratings
Steam
1992
3.83 | 18 ratings
Digging In The Dirt
1992
3.80 | 5 ratings
Digging In The Dirt - Brown Linen Box
1992
3.87 | 15 ratings
Blood Of Eden
1993
3.33 | 3 ratings
Be Still
1993
2.92 | 12 ratings
Kiss That Frog
1993
3.71 | 7 ratings
SW Live EP
1994
3.60 | 5 ratings
Lovetown
1994
3.60 | 5 ratings
While the Earth Sleeps (w/ Deep Forest)
1996
0.00 | 0 ratings
That'll Do
1998
2.43 | 7 ratings
The Story Of Ovo
2000
3.64 | 11 ratings
More Than This
2002
2.26 | 16 ratings
The Barry Williams Show
2002
3.22 | 9 ratings
Burn You Up, Burn You Down
2003
3.36 | 14 ratings
Growing Up
2003
0.00 | 0 ratings
Big Time (with Electro Kingdom)
2005
4.25 | 4 ratings
Peter Gabriel
2007
2.33 | 3 ratings
Salala (featuring Angelique Kidjo)
2007
4.00 | 4 ratings
Whole Thing
2008
3.89 | 26 ratings
Down to Earth
2008
4.00 | 10 ratings
The Book of Love / Not One of Us
2010
3.60 | 6 ratings
Courage
2013
0.00 | 0 ratings
Sledgehammer
2015
4.25 | 4 ratings
The Veil
2016
4.17 | 6 ratings
I'm Amazing
2016

PETER GABRIEL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Peter Gabriel 4 [Aka: Mask or Security] by GABRIEL, PETER album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.93 | 608 ratings

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Peter Gabriel 4 [Aka: Mask or Security]
Peter Gabriel Crossover Prog

Review by Hector Enrique

4 stars The fourth of the albums called simply Peter Gabriel, or Security to differentiate themselves, closes a cycle in the music of the ex-vocalist of Genesis, to enter lands a little more accessible for the big market, but without losing its great composing quality.

Security shows us, like the 3 previous albums, a large number of collaborations by renowned musicians (Tony Levin, Robert Fripp among others), to deliver us small great speeches related to their concern about abuse of political prisoners (Wallflower), the near disappearance of American Indian culture (San Jacinto), or the importance of finally continuing to trust people (Lay your hands on me), the latter song that during his live performances, Gabriel threw himself with his back to the public and walked the front rows in this way, in a clear representation that despite everything we must trust.

All this within a wide spectrum of sound experimentations, taking Flockloric elements from different cultures, in what could be considered as an introduction to world music.

As for the songs themselves, I consider the highest points to be Wallflower, the sensitivity and depth with which she describes the confinement and the abuse, accompanied by a whispering piano and a melancholic and sad atmosphere, with Gabriel's almost bleeding voice is from the deepest part of the disc. Also San Jacinto, with that special voice, and accompanied by a dramatic narration that grows to become a kind of redemption for the American Indian. The aforementioned Lay Your Hands on Me, which despite being an apparently unnecessarily long song, shows us some verses and an evolution that far from boring allows us to enjoy a deep Gabriel, accompanied by instrumentation that complements and adds value to the song message. The The Rhythm Of The Heat, shows us a more than interesting participation of African drums.

Shock the Monkey must be one of the best known songs, if not the most, with a good rhythm and exploration of human jealousy through the observation of a monkey. Of similar style and rhythm we have I Have the Touch.

I consider that both The Family And The Fishing Net and Kiss Of Life, very good compositions that without reaching the level of the rest of the album, show Gabriel's interest in expanding his musical horizons.

In short, an excellent album and the end of the first part of his solo work.

 Walk Through The Fire by GABRIEL, PETER album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1984
2.24 | 12 ratings

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Walk Through The Fire
Peter Gabriel Crossover Prog

Review by patrickq
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Peter Gabriel's 'Walk Through the Fire' was a soundtrack-only single released in mid-1984. It appeared on the album Against All Odds: Music from the Original Motion Picture and as a 7" 45 RPM single in Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand. In most territories, the b-side was 'The Race' by Larry Carlton; in North America, Mike Rutherford's 'Making a Big Mistake' was on the flip side (both of these were also from the Against All Odds soundtrack). 'Walk Through the Fire' was a minor chart hit in the UK, but, it seems, nowhere else. It was not included on any of Gabriel's studio albums.

Gabriel wrote and produced the soundtrack version of 'Walk Through the Fire,' although the single version (sometimes listed as 'remix') was produced by Nile Rodgers. The versions are pretty different, especially considering that the same source material is used for both. Rodgers's mix is slightly superior, in my view, although I prefer the opening section of the original. The title of the song pretty much summarizes its lyrical theme: namely, to proceed without caution. A sampling of the lyrics: 'walk through the fire, through the dust and ashes / while the building crashes ' no trace of indecision.'

'Walk Through the Fire' is a period piece, sounding pretty much like a 1984 pop-rock song, this being the point in time when Rodgers's remix of Duran Duran's 'The Reflex' topped the US pop charts and the Fixx's 'Are We Ourselves?' was a #1 rock song. It is unmistakably a Peter Gabriel song, but doesn't even hint at the sophistication of his next pop album, the multiplatinum So.

As for the b-sides, 'The Race' is run-of the mill AOR with some 1970s southern-rock flavor. It's fast-paced, but otherwise doesn't especially evoke racing. I'm sure it worked well in the movie if there was a race or a chase. Rutherford's synth- and-sequencer driven 'Making a Big Mistake' is similarly unremarkable; it's a one-minute song whose parts are repeated sufficiently to get to 3:49. I was impressed with his vocals, though. According to an Atlantic Records press release, all of the music on the soundtrack (i.e., including 'Walk Through the Fire,' 'The Race,' and 'Making a Big Mistake') was new, although it's unclear how much was written specifically for the movie.

As of this year, 'Walk Through the Fire' is finally available on two Peter Gabriel compilation albums: the single mix on Flotsam and Jetsam and the album version on Rated PG. In the past, this single might've been an essential purchase for fans of Peter Gabriel, that's no longer the case. Neither of the b-sides, however, is easy to find; the Against All Odds soundtrack was released on CD in 1990 and again in 1998, but as far as I can tell it's been out of print since then except for a 2014 Japanese 'limited edition.''

'Walk Through the Fire' is a decent mid-1980s song, though it pales in comparison to his other work from that decade. The North American issue of the single (with Mike Rutherford's 'Making a Big Mistake' on the flip side) is an interesting curio, especially to Genesis fans and collectors.

 Rated PG by GABRIEL, PETER album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2019
3.14 | 10 ratings

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Rated PG
Peter Gabriel Crossover Prog

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

3 stars As for the "Record Day" special releases this 10 track: Rated PG (2019) was Peter Gabrielīs offering.

A compilation of songs written or co-written or only performed but not penned by him (That'll Do written by Randy Newman & The Book of Love written by Stephin Merrit), specifically for some movie projects, except of course the world wide famous - In Your Eyes- which was already published in his So (1986) but previously unreleased as this film version.

The good news is that some of these tracks see the light for the first time beyond their respective soundtracks and all of them can stand without their movie context and they also work together as a kind of best hits album. The not so good news is that not all of them are essential and the bad news is a couple of expendable ones.

To set this compilation in one of the sonic fields he has sown through his career, I could connect it directly to his So/Us years.

What is good is good but as an album it is really not essential.

***

 Peter Gabriel 1 [Aka: Car] by GABRIEL, PETER album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.57 | 671 ratings

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

Review by jamesbaldwin
Prog Reviewer

4 stars First album after leaving Genesis, "Peter Gabriel" was released in 1977, the year of punk and, with great candor he proposed the many (often confusing) art-rock, theatrical, baroque ideas, in a word: progressive ideas of our darling.

First symphonic song, "Moribund The Burgermeister" (4:18) on a music hall rhythm, pompous baroque arrangements, which arrive at the grotesque, alternating dramatic and theatrical mood with the subtle and demented one. Excessive track in everything: the exact opposite of punk. Very overproduced, polypoid. But I like it. Surely it's very creative. Rating 8. Second pop song, "Solsbury Hill" (4:21): catchy melody, acoustic beginning with the guitar (Fripp?), simple composition. He will become his warhorse in concert, to lighten up the most dramatic songs. Rating 7,5.

"Modern Love" (3:38) has a good hard riff on the guitar, sustained rhythm, singing screamed scratchy and gritty. Production is not the best. Rating 7+. "Excuse Me" (3:20) is a funny, lazy joke. Vaudeville, it's a retro, pre-war, swing song that Paul McCartney could have written. Rating 7. Very well arranged, it remains a disorienting episode. The listener begins to wonder: where does Gabriel want to go? He wants to get serious, or he wants to produce catchy retro songs (so far it's two out of four)?

Last song of side A, "Humdrum" (3:26) is a progressive track in its own way, given its changes in rhythm, arrangements and atmosphere. It looks like a mazurka, at first, then it becomes orchestral, remaining melodic. Some problem with the production: the drums sound bad. Rating: 8. Again Gabriel brings great creativity to the album: so far we have listened to 5 very different songs from one another. All very cutesy, except the third one, the only one played in a serious way (but also the least convincing one).

Side B opens with "Slowburn" (4:37): has the same sound as "Modern Love" but differs in the refinement of the arrangements and atmospheres, which are perhaps those that most of all recall Genesis. Melodic orchestral rock song with enthralling moments and refined sounds, in some moments it does not deepen the pathos because it gets carried away by instrumental ramblings. This song has merits and defects of the progressive. Rating 7,5/8. "Waiting For The Big One" (7:14), the longer song, it brings back to the retro atmosphere of "Excuse Me", but fortunately the piece dampens the ironic vein and turns towards jazz. Pretentious song, it influences the second side too much. Gabriel is now clear that he alternates three types of songs: the progressive symphonic ones, the catchy pop ones and the retro theatrical ones of variety shows, such as cabaret, like this one. Made well, but too emphatic. It's a song best suited to the voice of a soulful colored singer, like Nina Simone or Dina Washington. It's a soubrette song. Rating 7+.

"Down The Dolce Vita" (4:42), with The London Symphony Orchestra (8), it's as pompous as the opening song. We hear Tony Levin's work on bass, which will remain a collaborator for a long time. You can also hear Gabriel's desperate singing, which will remain his trademark in the future, on a more ethnic and soft instrumental background. The arrangement is really too heavy, swollen. The track, however, is good, even if, like "Slowburn", it's lost a bit in the instrumental ramblings, including a percussive one that anticipates "San Jacinto". Rating 7,5. The finale is mixed with the last song, the masterpiece of the record: "Here Comes The Flood (5:56)". Here Gabriel is finally serious, and arranges with due measure a traditional melodic great work, sometimes epic and dramatic, with a strophe-refrain structure. Rating 8,5.

Very creative album, varied in musical styles, between progressive, retro pop songs, catchy melodic songs. He does not invent anything, and indeed challenges punk with arrangements that are sometimes too pompous. But the musical writing is good, the fantasy as well, the songs always pleasant without difficulty.

Medium quality of the songs: 7,64. Rating: 8+. Four Stars.

 Peter Gabriel 1 [Aka: Car] by GABRIEL, PETER album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.57 | 671 ratings

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

Review by mariorockprog

3 stars 4: The debut album of Peter Gabriel, after his departure of genesis with several problems, including a difficult pregnancy of his wife, he decided to began a solo career. So, he began to work with bob ezrin, who assembled a team of musicians that includes Robert Fripp for this new album. His single Solsbury reached top 20 in UK and 68 in Billboards charts. Lyrically, it contains the classic references of Gabriel to the bible, having somethings interesting to hear, but nothing too deep. Vocally, we never going to have complaints about something sung by Peter Gabriel, so as always very good job. Musically, I considered a good album, however very little prog is found here, most of the song are only really good pop/rock songs and others not so good, but acceptable. I am very disappointed, i was expecting to hear something better because of the involvement of some members of King Crimson. Finally, a good pop rock album with little prog, but that is not going to satisfy to more than one.
 Peter Gabriel 3 [Aka: Melt] by GABRIEL, PETER album cover Studio Album, 1980
4.20 | 879 ratings

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Peter Gabriel 3 [Aka: Melt]
Peter Gabriel Crossover Prog

Review by mariorockprog

4 stars 4.25: the third album by Peter Gabriel and their most acclaimed in the community. This album includes the collaboration of Phill Collins in the drums The distribution for this album in the United States had a lot of problem, mainly because Atlantic Record didn't consider it the it would be a commercial success, arguing that it has too many experimentation and some African music influences. Other curious thing is that there is other version of the album with German vocals and some minor modifications in the music. Musically it has a lot of experimentation with different rhythms, but if I have to classify it, I will call it pop Progressive. Lyrically, it has not a main concept is a collection of songs with interesting things to say and almost poetics verses, and in the other hand some liberal and politician messages and anti war declarations, but nothing too deep. I considered a excellent addition to any prog collection, although it will be too pop for some tastes.
 Up by GABRIEL, PETER album cover Studio Album, 2002
4.00 | 570 ratings

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Up
Peter Gabriel Crossover Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

5 stars Peter Gabriel's 7th studio album, named simply 'Up', is still my favorite album by the artist, mainly for its originality and extreme use of dynamics. The album was actually reported to be near completion in 1998, but it didn't see the light of day until 2002. At the time of its release, I managed a multi-media store and I was excited to hear this new album. But, I immediately fell in love with it because it was so different from anything else, even his own albums. A lot of customers and employees complained about it and didn't seem to like it, but I loved it then and love it now. Where 'Us' was mostly unemotional and commercial sounding, 'Up' was the polar opposite.

Instantly, from the first track 'Darkness' you get a good example of the extremities of the dynamics in the first minute. The track starts soft and ambient and then scares the life right out of you with a sudden sound explosion and does this throughout the track. There is no sense of traditional song structure in this track, which shows Gabriel's ingenuity.

'Growing Up' is more like the older Gabriel music, not too unlike 'Kiss that Frog' on the surface, but not as commercial with a better use of dynamics. It has that unsettling feeling that is prevalent through this album, but in a more upbeat version and a more traditional structure than the previous track. At one point, two countermelodies play off of each other, which we have heard from Gabriel before. Even after only 2 tracks, you hear a much better album which is more prog oriented, less commercial and many times more original than the previous album 'Us'.

'Sky Blue' starts out ambient again, with some great atmospheric textures and Gabriel's vocals. The music builds little by little as it goes on. Soon, a tribal-inspired rhythm starts, as the main melody repeats with added musical accompaniment and vocal layers. This is a beautiful and emotional track that took Gabriel 10 years to perfect.

'No Way Out' builds off of a nice bass melody and has a subdued rhythm and, even though the overall theme of the album is death, it is the first track to deal solely with the subject. It is kind of a combination of the subtleties 'Mercy Street' and the driving sound of 'In Your Eyes', though more by style and not sound.

Gabriel has later dedicated 'I Grieve' to those who had family in New York on the day of the 9/11 attacks, even though the track was written and performed before the attacks. He suffered through not being able to contact his daughters who lived in New York on that day. This track is quite subdued and quiet, but is very heartfelt, pensive and the vocals even sound grief stricken. At 5 minutes, percussion fades in and a rhythm is established as life is breathed into the grieving process in that life has to carry on. But someone who has to grieve about losing a loved one will always have to return to grief no matter how much time has passed.

'The Barry Williams Show' starts out immediately more upbeat and much fuller. It has some jazz leanings with a brass section and occasional jazz harmonics. The topic of this track is day-time talk shows like Jerry Springer or Montel Williams, etc. The chorus is quite catchy and there are some cool effects throughout.

'My Head Sounds Like That' goes back to an ambient start with a piano and Gabriel's amazing vocals with a very subdued beat in the background. A brass section also appears later. The slight builds suddenly drops off for the bridge as Gabriel sings and then a sudden dissonant and noisy eruption and then back to the main theme again and then a atmospheric ending.

'More than This' is more upbeat again, but the rhythm is not as apparent as you think it should be and even drops off all together at times. The stress is kept on the vocals up until 4:30, when the background builds to bring the song to a glitch-y close.

'Signal to Noise' is my favorite Peter Gabriel tune and one of my all time favorites anywhere. It has beautiful and emotional orchestration alone with Gabriel's vocals and guest vocals from Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, who died before the track was completely finalized. The instrumentation is absolutely genius and excellent on this one creating tension and drama, the guest vocals are simply amazing. The song builds slowly in a slow burn with vocals pushing the song forward. All of this is done with very little percussion until a sudden explosion at around 4:30 and then the strings begin to get extremely passionate building to a dramatic ending. I absolutely love this track!

'The Drop' is a simple song that ends the album. It is only Gabriel singing with a solo grand piano. It's a very effective ending to this album, quiet and simple.

I know a lot of people disagree with me on this, but I find this to be Peter Gabriel's best album which utilizes dynamics better than most popular music out there. It is many steps above the last album, and I am happy that he still had this amazing music in him. I don't understand why most people look down on this album, other than the fact that it is not commercial like the last one, but to me, that is its biggest strength. I consider it an essential album which shows just how passionate progressive rock can be and still be so innovative. Easily 5 stars.

 Us by GABRIEL, PETER album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.63 | 481 ratings

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Us
Peter Gabriel Crossover Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

3 stars After a long 6 years after Peter Gabriel's excellent and extremely popular album "So", we finally got a new album: "Us". Many fans were waiting and expecting something as wonderful as "So" was, and many people were disappointed. It seems 6 years is what it took for the public to completely understand and fall in love with that album, and when, this album came out, everyone wanted a carbon copy. Even though Gabriel worked to perfect this album and utilized a lot of the same techniques, I think a lot of people didn't want to have to let this album "steep" as long as "So" did, and they gave up on it early.

That is, at least, the explanation I have for the general public in regards to "Us". As far as myself, I have a hard time with this album because Gabriel tried to hard with it. I find it too polished and perfected, and I find Gabriel's music works better when it is more spontaneous and unpolished. Everything just seems to be too careful. The album comes from a difficult time in Gabriel's life, and the lyrics in the album reflect that, but the perfection of a lot of the tracks don't reflect the emotion that is due.

Now that doesn't mean it isn't a good album. There is plenty of great music on this album, but it seems to be a little disconnected when it comes to being personal as "So" was. Gabriel uses the world music influences as with the afro-beats and African influences, but it seems to be pushed to the background more this time around. And, for the most part, the entire album is more subdued. The world beats were so appealing on "In Your Eyes" are too subdued on several tracks like "Come Talk to Me". This worked on the previous album on the beautiful "Mercy Street", but when he tries that formula on "Blood of Eden", it seems to be flat. On the other end of the spectrum, forward push of "Sledgehammer" tries to come forward on "Steam", but it ends up sounding more like a copy than a follow up. In fact, my wife heard that track playing and thought it was Huey Lewis. For me, "So" was the perfect album for a lot of reasons, especially for its originality. "Us" however, tries to become too much like that album, and ends up sounding less emotional and heartfelt.

Now, there are some more original songs here, and that is where the best part of this album lies. For example, "Washing of the Water" is a beautiful song and the first point of the album where Gabriel actually sounds like he feels connected to the music. His vocals are very emotional and the lyrics are extremely meaningful. "Digging in the Dirt" might be repetitive, but it also doesn't sound like a copy from the previous album. It is a great upbeat track, obviously meant to be a single, but it also sounds original and Gabriel even uses some great vocal calisthenics. "Kiss That Frog" is a good rocker about fellatio (it's amazing how the lyrics take on a whole new meaning when you know that), but it's a little too poppy for its own good. At least it doesn't copy anything from "So". "Secret World" is probably the strongest track on the album and feels like Gabriel in his natural element, unique and heartfelt and in no hurry to prove anything.

You do have to dig a little deeper to find the great parts of this album, and a lot of that is because the best parts are buried in the songs that are trying to hard to copy his past success. Fortuantely, "Up", the next album, would prove to be much better and more original, full of emotion and ingenuity. "Us" has always been a hard one for me to get through, but at least the better tracks were left more on the 2nd half of the album. It's just hard to get around the 1st half making this album good, but not great.

 Us by GABRIEL, PETER album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.63 | 481 ratings

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Us
Peter Gabriel Crossover Prog

Review by 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.

 Plays Live by GABRIEL, PETER album cover Live, 1983
4.06 | 236 ratings

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Plays Live
Peter Gabriel Crossover Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars If you are particularly keen to hear a live Peter Gabriel set from the tour for his fourth solo album, this isn't a bad one. It's heavy on material from his third and fourth self-titled albums, and doesn't have any Genesis tracks, which I suppose just goes to show how much of a creative triumph his solo career had become by that point. That said, I personally don't think the live setting really adds much to this material - particularly since Gabriel's third and fourth solo albums relied so much on truly cutting-edge studio techniques and are such complete sonic worlds in and of themselves. Your mileage may vary, so it's worth a listen, but only if you're out of other Gabriel material of this vintage to sample.
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