Thursday, 4 December 2014

Peter Gabriel "So" (1986)

Last night I had the pleasure of seeing Gabriel, now 64, perform this record in its entirety at what was an impressive show, especially considering his age. "So" is my personal favorite, and his most critically acclaimed work that was made hugely successful with the help of the innovative and legendary stop motion music video for the single "Sledgehammer". Gabriel was once the vocalist of Progressive Rock band "Genesis", when he parted ways with them in 1975 he had little trouble establishing his solo career through a string of self titled albums, proving his talent as a musician as well as vocalist. 

"So" is Gabriel's most accessible album, in between its gentler, soothing tracks, this record is ripe with finely tuned pop numbers that are layered with subtle instrumentation adding together to create strong hooks that get stuck in your head. The percussion has a worldly feel, strong influences from foreign cultures can be felt at times, it brings these tracks an edge that help define their unique vibe. Even with brilliant instrumentation Peter's voice is the main attraction, he has an authenticity and range to his style that takes hold of the moment and leads the narrative to dramatic peaks. His highs are grabbing, and his lower range has a slight gruffness that keeps these songs grounded with a humanistic touch. 

My favorite track "Big Time" has a pulsating, jiving baseline that rocks and rumbles its way through this number where Gabriel chimes through egotistical musings mocking his own success. His soaring vocals inspire awe as he delivers some brilliant lyrics "I'll be stretching my mouth, to let those big words come right out". Its an riveting track that comes between some gentle tracks, which are equally engaging. Its a varied track listing that shifts the gears often, and it works well, jumping from sombre ambiance to an energetic thriller in its own design. The production is typical of the era, sounding slightly flat in some areas but overall it captures well, impeding nothing. "So" is an album I was raised on, its punchy hooks and dramatic moods have been enjoyed for years, its a fantastic record, one that is still a benchmark in the artistic dimension of mainstream music.

Favorite Songs: Red Rain, Sledgehammer, That Voice Again, In Your Eyes, Big Time
Rating: 8/10


  1. Hey, discovered your blog a few weeks ago via your YouTube and been reading through some of your reviews and critiques and I am enjoying hearing your opinion. Love the wide range of genres you listen to so thought I'd suggest some bands/albums you might like.

    1. Tesseract (progressive metal/djent) - Both of their LP's, One and Altered State have blown me away. Altered State is such a powerful album, I'd definitely listen to it in it's entirety. They also look good live, as you can see here:
    2. Slaves (punk rock/garage punk) - Their debut, Sugar Coated Bitter Truth is without a doubt one of my most favoured punk releases. If I was to describe them truthfully and honestly: imagine wiping your arse with sandpaper. That is Slaves. Raw, bold, abrasive and loud. Couldn't recommend them more although I'm not sure if that was a very convincing description of them.

    Would love to hear your opinion on those albums.

    Just browsing your blog makes me feel that little bit more motivated to start my own and get going with what I was planning on doing many moons ago. Keep up the good work mate!


    1. I've got all Tesseract albums, seen em live a few times too :-) Never heard of slaves but i will check them out, that description won me over lol

      As for doing a blog i am lucky to have a audience for it, I'm not sure if it would be quite the same without but it has been extremely rewarding. I find i am far more organized with my music listening and i get to know records a lot more before a share my thoughts on them.

      As well as that i feel its helped my articulation and English in general. You should give it a try! If you like it stay disciplined and stick at it :-)

    2. You're lucky, they were round my neck of the woods early November but they unfortunately cancelled. There's always next year.

      If your into punk then you may like them. A lot of people have said they are a hit or miss, definitely a hit with me. Their charisma and aura that they project on and off stage is worth admiring. Was lucky to catch them live 3 weeks ago and hopefully again in February.

      Probably wouldn't be the same without the audience although you'd be shocked at what you can achieve with social media platforms today. My usual routine is stick a record on and listen through it and then I'll decide whether I like it or not and assess it for my own personal interest but have never put much thought about sharing my comments publicly.

      Discipline and consistency are key factors when it comes to these projects. It's just finding the little bursts of motivation to get the ball rolling. It's definitely something worth looking into.


  2. Hey X. Was wondering what you think about Sia's music. Not just the newest big hit "Chandelier" but some of her older stuff like "Breathe Me" and "Buttons" (Watch the video for Buttons a lot of negativity towards it because she is not a super hot model singer. Kinda sad.) A few days ago you said pop hasn't really changed over the years. I feel that Sia can put a bit of a twist on her music.

  3. I liked the video, i think i like the song too :-) The way shes distorting her face and intentionally looking unattractive is intriguing and seems very much related to the lyrics, which for me lyrics take time to understand. As for her music in relation to pop i wouldn't say its anything remarkable, been hearing music like this for years on the radio and such :-)