Solo career of Peter Gabriel (3 of 3)

Album: Us (1992)

Thoughts: He looks like Humphrey Bogart on the album sleeve! Loved by some fans, I was underwhelmed.
For me, the 90s was the beginning of the decline for the singer. Us (1992) was a highly anticipated comeback, which turned out to be not as accessible or as catchy as Gabriel’s mid 80s work.
To his credit, the album does have some fun music videos for the Grammy-winning single Digging in the Dirt, and also Stream, which despite looking a bit dated are worth a look. However there’s a distinct feeling he is recycling his biggest success So (1986) both in terms of the music and videos. It’s interesting the song Kiss That Frog is similar to Beyoncé’s hit Naughty Girl.
Favorite tracks: Come Talk To Me

Album: Up (2002)

Thoughts: It isn’t as good as his 70s and 80s work. Pretty dark subject matter in the lyrics, especially on the single The Barry Williams Show. Many of the tracks go on too long. An alternative version of Sky Blue was used on the soundtrack for Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002)
Album: Scratch My Back (2010)

Thoughts: The eighth studio album by Peter Gabriel. A collection of covers, none of which really did that much for me. Disappointing album.

Album: New Blood (2011)

Thoughts: Orchestral reworkings of his previous songs. Not an essential listen.
Favorite tracks: Red Rain (I actually prefer this new version over the original. The new orchestral mix feels more personal in the vocal, and the instrumental gives the tune an epicness the 1986 single lacked)

Any thoughts on the music? Have you listened to Peter Gabriel’s solo albums? Or are you new to the music as I am? As always, comments are welcome

Solo career of Peter Gabriel (2 of 3)

Album: So (1986) 

“So” is the singer’s most accessible album, and with its hit singles launched Peter Gabriel into the mainstream consciousness. The best-selling album of Gabriel’s career, and arguably among the best albums of the mid 80s. Features several signature songs of the decade.
The imaginative and entertaining Sledgehammer video was groundbreaking for its visual effects and has won a number of awards. As of 2011, “Sledgehammer” is the most played music video in the history of MTV.
“In Your Eyes” gained further attention in 1989 when it was used in the iconic boombox scene in Cameron Crowe’s movie Say Anthing (1989).
Years later, “Big Time” featured in Inside Job (2010), the oscar-winning documentary on the financial crisis.
Favorite tracks: Sledgehammer, Don’t Give up (ft. Kate Bush), In Your Eyes, Big Time, Red RainMercy Street,

Album: Birdy Soundtrack (1985)

In addition to composing new pieces for the soundtrack, the music includes adaptations of tracks from Gabriel’s third and fourth albums. The music makes heavy use of the Fairlight CMI IIx music computer, an early sampling system. Peter Gabriel was one of the first buyers of the Fairlight CMI IIx.
Favorite tracks: 
Birdy’s Flight (reworking of 1980’s Not One of Us)
Under Lock and Key (reworking of 1982’s Wallflower)

Album: Passion: Music for the Last Temptation of Christ (1989)

For a film about Jesus, the score needed to be powerful, which it is. As an album it won’t appeal to everyone, there are no singles that accompanied the release. A meditative experience for the patient listener. I personally prefer the music together with the film, but I’m told it’s a record that grows on you, and is a great CD for relaxing to and contemplating life.
Peter Gabriel spent several months after the release of Scorsese’s film further developing the music. Finally releasing it as a full-fledged album, it is seen as a landmark in the popularisation of world music, and it won a Grammy Award for Best New Age Album in 1990.
Gabriel used the resources of the organization he founded, WOMAD, to bring together musicians from the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia. Passion introduced many listeners to such artists as Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Youssou N’Dour, L. Shankar, and Baaba Maal.
Favorite tracks: It Is AccomplishedDisturbedOf These HopeDifferent Drum, Passion,

Any thoughts on the music? Have you listened to Peter Gabriel’s solo albums? Or are you new to the music as I am? Next time, I’ll look at his work in the 90s and 2000s.

Solo career of Peter Gabriel (1 of 3)

Album: Car (Peter Gabriel 1) (1977)  
Thoughts: Peter Gabriel has a very unique vocal style. To me the album is not as great as people claim, only a couple of memorable tracks.
The intro to Solsbury Hill never fails to move me emotionally, the singer tells us why he left Genesis in the key track on his 1977 solo debut.
Favorite tracks: Solsbury Hill, Here Comes The FloodHumdrum

Album: Scratch (Peter Gabriel 2) (1978)   
Thoughts: He goes all out with the rock and jamming approach, which is a little too loud and electric guitar heavy for my taste.
Favorite tracks: Mother of ViolenceOn The Air

Album: Melt (Peter Gabriel 3) (1980) 
Thoughts: 1986’s “So” is the singer’s most popular and accessible album, yet his 1980 experimental album Melt is by some cited as his masterpiece as a solo artist.
It’s my 2nd favorite Peter Gabriel solo album. Has an atmospheric and meticulous production that draws you in. I love the layers of sound, and holds up well to repeats plays.
In the days of side one and side two, the first half of the record is stronger than the last half. Ideally, an album to listen to with a high-quality sound system.
Contains two of Gabriel’s most famous songs, the UK Top 10 hit “Games Without Frontiers” and the political song “Biko“, about the late anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko. However these are not actually my favorites.
Favorite tracks: Intruder(a very sinister track), Start (80s instrumental with sax and synth), I Don’t Remember, Lead a Normal Life, Family SnapshotNo Self Control

Album: Security (Peter Gabriel 4) (1982) 
Thoughts: The tracks aren’t as strong as Melt (1980). Again, a sonic production, but this time, not as haunting or impactful. Perhaps with repeat plays the album will grow on me. The single Shock The Monkey is alright for the production, but is not as good as it could have been due to the boring lyrics.
Favorite tracks: Shock The MonkeySan JacintoWallflower

Any thoughts on the music? Have you listened to Peter Gabriel’s solo albums? Or are you new to the music as I am? Next time, I’ll look at Birdy (1984) soundtrack and the album So (1986)