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Rock - Released January 1, 2010 | Virgin Records

Distinctions Stereophile: Record To Die For
Considering the slow trickle of completed albums he has released since becoming a superstar in 1986 -- just two albums of songs with vocals, paired with two albums of soundtracks and two live records -- deliberate is expected from Peter Gabriel, so the slow, hushed crawl of Scratch My Back is no shock. What may be a shock is that Gabriel chose to follow 2002’s Up with a covers album but, like all of his work, this 2010 record is highly conceptual no matter how minimal the end result may be. Designed as the first half of a two-part project where Gabriel would cover 12 different artists who would then return the favor by recording their own versions of Gabriel’s compositions -- the counterpart album naturally bearing the title I’ll Scratch Yours -- Scratch My Back divides neatly between six songs from his peers (Bowie, Paul Simon, Randy Newman, Neil Young, Lou Reed, David Byrne) and six songs from younger artists (Radiohead, Arcade Fire, Stephin Merritt, Bon Iver, Elbow, Regina Spektor). Gabriel doesn’t dodge familiar tunes, choosing to sing “Heroes” and “Street Spirit (Fade Out),” but he twists each tune to his own needs, arranging everything with nothing more than piano and strings, a change that’s almost jarring on Simon’s “The Boy in the Bubble,” yet it stays true to the undercurrent of melancholy in the melody. Indeed, all of Scratch My Back is stark, sober, and spare, delving ever deeper inward, a triumph of intellect over emotion -- a noted contrast to almost all cover albums that celebrate the visceral, not the cerebral. Immediate it may not be but fascinating it is, and after hearing Gabriel turn all 12 of these songs into something unmistakably his own, the appetite is surely whetted for its companion piece. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 13, 2019 | Caroline International (S&D)

Peter Gabriel’s is still unveiling treasures. Flotsam and Jetsam is both a “best of” record and a compilation of rare finds. A few months after his very brief album Rated PG, which brought together the artist’s songs for the big screen, Flotsam and Jetsam comprises three volumes – ordered more or less chronologically – of Peter Gabriel’s career. We find both his well-known hits (Solsbury Hill, Sledgehammer, Biko, In Your Eyes...) and other much more obscure tracks. In the 80s, B sides contained EPs and singles, offering artists a way to share both new releases and remixes and Peter Gabriel was among those to pounce on this format. He also used the opportunity to share songs that were only available in film soundtracks. This compilation unearths tracks that never appeared on official albums and we find some nuggets that would have deserved more attention as their commercial potential seems obvious today: Digging In The Dirt (in its rock version), Walk Through The Fire (also found on Rated PG), Don't Break This Rhythm, Curtains...With 62 tracks and a duration of nearly 6 hours, no one will blame you for picking and choosing from the songs. At times, we wonder if perhaps just one version of the songs (which often come in many different versions) would have sufficed! Especially since his huge hits are already readily available (especially on his album Hit, which boasts many of his greatest songs). Things don’t get off to a great start with his cover of the Beatles’ Strawberry Fields Forever, itself taken from the highly debatable soundtrack of the film All This And World War II. Few will have the courage to listen more than once to this bizarre situation where the singer is hardly to his advantage… On the other hand, the idea of gathering together his covers is brilliant. We find In The Sun borrowed from Joseph Arthur, Summertime by George Gershwin with Larry Adler’s harmonica, and Suzanne by Leonard Cohen... Flotsam And Jetsam also fills the gaps left by some of Rated PG’s omissions, including the remarkable Signal To Noise and The Tower That Hate People.This relatively balanced album offers an overview of Peter Gabriel’s many styles, from hard rock to electro, chill-out new age, pop new wave, funk and most of all world music, a genre for which he is still one of the most ardent defenders. Though despite this grand unveiling, I Go Swimming, Lovetown, Baby Man, Out Out Out, While The Earth Sleeps are still missing. © Jean-Pierre Sabouret/Qobuz
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Rock - Released May 18, 1986 | Real World Productions Ltd.

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Rock - Released April 26, 2019 | Real World Productions Ltd.

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Rock - Released February 8, 2019 | Real World Productions Ltd.

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Rock - Released January 1, 2009 | Real World Productions Ltd.

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Rock - Released May 29, 1980 | Real World Productions Ltd.

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Hit

Rock - Released November 3, 2003 | Real World Productions Ltd.

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World - Released June 6, 1989 | Caroline International (S&D)

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Rock - Released February 12, 2010 | Real World Records Ltd.

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Rock - Released November 20, 1990 | Real World Productions Ltd.

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Pop - Released August 4, 2017 | Eagle Rock Entertainment

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So

Rock - Released May 18, 1986 | Real World Productions Ltd.

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Us

Rock - Released September 28, 1992 | Real World Productions Ltd.

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Up

Rock - Released September 23, 2002 | Real World Productions Ltd.

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Rock - Released September 7, 1982 | Real World Productions Ltd.

Security -- which was titled Peter Gabriel everywhere outside of the U.S. -- continues where the third Gabriel album left off, sharing some of the same dense production and sense of cohesion, yet lightening the atmosphere and expanding the sonic palette somewhat. The gloom that permeates the third album has been alleviated and while this is still decidedly somber and serious music, it has a brighter feel, partially derived from Gabriel's dabbling in African and Latin rhythms. These are generally used as tonal coloring, enhancing the synthesizers that form the basic musical bed of the record, since much of this is mood music (for want of a better word). Security flows easily and enticingly, with certain songs -- the eerie "San Jacinto," "I Have the Touch," "Shock the Monkey" -- arising from the wash of sound. That's not to say that the rest of the album is bland easy listening -- it's designed this way, to have certain songs deliver greater impact than the rest. As such, it demands close attention to appreciate tone poems like "The Family and the Fishing Net," "Lay Your Hands on Me," and "Wallflower" -- and not all of them reward such intensive listening. Even with its faults, Security remains a powerful listen, one of the better records in Gabriel's catalog, proving that he is becoming a master of tone, style, and substance, and how each part of the record enhances the other. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released June 2, 1978 | Real World Productions Ltd.

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Rock - Released September 24, 2013 | Real World Records Ltd.

This two-fer from Peter Gabriel includes the 2010 covers album Scratch My Back, which featured the pop icon taking on material from the likes of David Bowie ("Heroes"), Arcade Fire ("My Body Is a Cage"), and Randy Newman ("I Think It's Going to Rain Today"), and its 2013 companion piece I'll Scratch Yours, which saw some of those artists offering up their interpretations of Gabriel cuts like "Biko" (Paul Simon), "I Don’t Remember" (David Byrne), and "Games Without Frontiers" (Arcade Fire). ~ James Christopher Monger
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Rock - Released January 1, 1994 | Real World Productions Ltd.

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Rock - Released October 10, 2011 | Real World Productions Ltd.