Peter Gabriel – Peter Gabriel III

Peter Gabriel IIILet’s get one thing straight, okay? There’s no such thing as a typical Peter Gabriel album. You can barely even compare one Gabriel album to another, as the style and emphasis shifts with each one of them. Hell, it’s even hard to put titles to them because the first three – technically, even the fourth (usually known as Security) as well – are simply titled Peter Gabriel. This is the album with the strange picture of Peter’s face melting. (Well, I’ll even grant you that most of his album covers are strange pictures of one sort or another…this is really getting us nowhere, isn’t it? Let’s talk about music, shall we?) Several of these tracks rank among my favorites, including the somewhat 3 out of 4sinister “Intruder”, “I Don’t Remember”, “Not One Of Us”, and “And Through The Wire”. Also included are the slightly more familiar singles “Biko” and “Games Without Frontiers”. There’s also quite a slate of “guest stars” on the album, from Robert Fripp to Phil Collins to Kate Bush, but the end result remains distinctly Peter Gabriel. Highly recommended.

Order this CD

  1. Intruder (4:53)
  2. No Self Control (3:56)
  3. Start (1:21)
  4. I Don’t Remember (4:42)
  5. Family Snapshot (4:29)
  6. And Through the Wire (4:58)
  7. Games Without Frontiers (4:07)
  8. Not One Of Us (5:21)
  9. Lead a Normal Life (4:15)
  10. Biko (7:27)

Released by: Charisma
Release date: 1980
Total running time: 45:29

Passion – music for The Last Temptation of Christ

 soundtrackAn entirely instrumental, world music-flavored album of music assembled for the unfathomably controversial film, this is quite different from most of Peter Gabriel’s other fare, though the result is undeniably stamped with his sound. Many of the more rhythmic tracks are well worth a listen, though the best piece on the album is the ethereal “With This Love”. Apparently Peter thought so too, including it in two forms – a contemporary arrangement and an entirely choral rendition which is hauntingly inspirational. But every moment of pleasure on this album is purchased with a moment of chaotic confusion, 4 out of 4such as the seemingly random “Gethsemane” track. All in all, your tastes alone will determine whether or not you like this very eclectic soundtrack, though I’d recommend you have a healthy appreciation for instrumental music with an ethnic twist.

Order this CD

  1. The Feeling Begins (4:00)
  2. Gethsemane (1:23)
  3. Of These, Hope (4:05)
  4. Lazarus Raised (0:36)
  5. Of These, Hope – reprise (1:06)
  6. In Doubt (2:07)
  7. A Different Drum (6:05)
  8. Zaar (4:44)
  9. Troubled (2:46)
  10. Open (3:18)
  11. Before Night Falls (2:16)
  12. With This Love (3:36)
  13. Sandstorm (2:55)
  14. Stigmata (2:24)
  15. Passion (7:36)
  16. With This Love – choir (3:19)
  17. Wall of Breath (2:25)
  18. The Promise of Shadows (2:12)
  19. Disturbed (3:07)
  20. It Is Accomplished (3:30)
  21. Bread and Wine (2:23)

Released by: RealWorld
Release date: 1989
Total running time: 65:53

Peter Gabriel – Peter Gabriel IV (a.k.a. Security)

Peter Gabriel IV (a.k.a. Security)If for no other reason than “Rhythm Of The Heat”, I have to recommend this album right off the bat. I always love some exotic percussion, and while Peter Gabriel’s always very good about including that element in his music, this song uses all of its elements and elevates itself to something barely short of a spiritual experience. Boy…let’s see, what else? Oh yeah, there are seven other songs on this album too, including the single “Shock The Monkey”, and none of these other tracks are anything to sneeze at, but it’s hard 3 out of 4to top “Rhythm Of The Heat”. I almost wonder if it shouldn’t have been the last song on the album instead of the first, because all that musical exhilaration always leaves me a little exhausted. Whew.

  1. The Rhythm of the Heat (5:15)
  2. San Jacinto (6:21)
  3. I Have The Touch (4:30)
  4. The Family and the Fishing Net (7:00)
  5. Order this CD Shock the Monkey (5:23)
  6. Lay Your Hands On Me (6:03)
  7. Wallflower (6:30)
  8. Kiss of Life (4:17)

Released by: Geffen
Release date: 1982
Total running time: 45:19

Peter Gabriel – Us

Peter Gabriel - UsIt’s hard to stack any one Peter Gabriel album up against another, because each of them is born of different inspiration, and the sounds utilized on each of them are wildly different. It sounds as if Gabriel’s fascination with the regional sounds he compiled into the Passion album is still with him. This album is more percussive and less melodic than So, but the lyrics are Gabriel’s sharpest and most poignant to date. The best song on the album, however, is the solo piano simplicity of “Washing Of The Water”, a song about hurting and healing. Not far behind are “Love To Be Loved”, “Steam” and “Digging In The Dirt”. The album was inspired by Gabriel’s group therapy experiences following a painful divorce, and 3 out of 4many of the songs speak of the consequences and recovery from hurtful or otherwise less than ideal relationships. I highly recommend this album, but only to those who are capable of handling its subject matter, which is significantly darker than your average pop/rock album. But then, when has Peter Gabriel ever unleashed an average pop/rock album?

Order this CD

  1. Come Talk To Me (7:04)
  2. Love To Be Loved (5:16)
  3. Blood of Eden (6:35)
  4. Steam (6:02)
  5. Only Us (6:30)
  6. Washing of the Water (3:50)
  7. Digging In The Dirt (5:16)
  8. Fourteen Black Paintings (4:36)
  9. Kiss That Frog (5:27)
  10. Secret World (7:01)

Released by: RealWorld
Release date: 1992
Total running time: 57:37

Peter Gabriel – So

Peter Gabriel - SoThis album, and the singles “Sledgehammer” and “Big Time”, were my first real exposure to Peter Gabriel, which is the case with a lot of people. This is easily Gabriel’s most accessibly mainstream album, but even with that in mind, it bears more than a casual listen. And it’s still my favorite, mainly due to simple personal-significance-in-my-life sort of reasons. But while this may be Peter’s most mainstream album, featuring as it did the singles “Sledgehammer” and the nutso “Big Time” (which therefore makes the latter my favorite of the two), it also has my all-time favorite Gabriel tune, a haunting little number called “Mercy Street” which to this day sends shivers down my spine. How much of that is the song itself and how much is actually just the instinctive correlation between hearing the song and remembering certain events in my life, I can’t tell, because I can’t separate them anymore. Whenever I seek a profound personal catharsis, I put my headphones on, crank the volume, and sing along as best I can. Again, whew. Let’s see, what else? Oh yeah, Laurie Anderson also does a guest vocal on the memorable “This Is The Picture”.

4 out of 4While I give this album my highest recommendations and include it on my DNP Album List, it has one other distinction not shared by many of the other albums I’ve enjoyed and reviewed – it is incredibly important to me personally. Thank you, Pete.

Order this CD

  1. Red Rain (5:39)
  2. Sledgehammer (5:16)
  3. Don’t Give Up (6:33)
  4. That Voice Again (4:53)
  5. In Your Eyes (5:29)
  6. Mercy Street (6:21)
  7. Big Time (4:30)
  8. We Do What We’re Told: milgram’s 37 (3:22)
  9. This is the Picture: excellent birds (4:18)

Released by: Geffen
Release date: 1986
Total running time: 46:21