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

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Us

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

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

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Up

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

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

Recorded in May 2003 at a single show in the Round in Milan, Italy, this documents Peter Gabriel's worldwide tour following his Up release. As such, it not surprisingly relies heavily on that disc, with seven of the 17 tracks originating from the album. Only about five tunes in this show can be considered "hits" (conspicuously absent is anything from his second and third albums) but most won't miss the many omissions since the performance is so consistently breathtaking. Gabriel is known for his elaborate, high-tech presentations and this certainly has its share of surprises. To reveal them would be unfair, since much of the excitement in watching a Gabriel show is seeing how his stage act -- here modernized for an in-the-round setting -- unfurls and reflects the songs. But suffice it to say, that unless you were there -- and even then -- Gabriel has plenty of tricks up his baggy black sleeves. Although he begins modestly, playing stark piano alone on an empty stage for a moving "Here Comes the Flood," the ever-present and very visible orange-suited crew, which appears and disappears though trap doors in the fake floor, quickly adds the full band. Split screens display these techs looking bored under the stage, preparing for the next song, a video technique that is overused throughout the concert's 2 1/4 hour running time. Otherwise, the camera work is excellent, if a bit hyperactive at times. Vocal overdubs are kept to a minimum and the 5.1 surround mix is astonishingly vibrant and detailed. One new song, "Animal Nation," is played, but it is not one of Gabriel's best and at nearly 15 minutes overstays its welcome. Also, the band introductions, which are chanted by the audience after the tune, might have been fun if you were there, but wear thin quickly. Still, this is a beautifully and imaginatively shot production caught in front of an enthusiastic crowd. Gabriel sounds great, as do the bandmembers, many of whom, like bassist Tony Levin and guitarist David Rhodes, are longtime associates. It's a must for any fan of the British star and a riveting performance even for those unfamiliar with his work. © Hal Horowitz /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released November 15, 2019 | Caroline International (S&D)

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

Generally regarded as Peter Gabriel's finest record, his third eponymous album finds him coming into his own, crafting an album that's artier, stronger, more song-oriented than before. Consider its ominous opener, the controlled menace of "Intruder." He's never found such a scary sound, yet it's a sexy scare, one that is undeniably alluring, and he keeps this going throughout the record. For an album so popular, it's remarkably bleak, chilly, and dark -- even radio favorites like "I Don't Remember" and "Games Without Frontiers" are hardly cheerful, spiked with paranoia and suspicion, insulated in introspection. For the first time, Gabriel has found the sound to match his themes, plus the songs to articulate his themes. Each aspect of the album works, feeding off each other, creating a romantically gloomy, appealingly arty masterpiece. It's the kind of record where you remember the details in the production as much as the hooks or the songs, which isn't to say that it's all surface -- it's just that the surface means as much as the songs, since it articulates the emotions as well as Gabriel's cubist lyrics and impassioned voice. He wound up having albums that sold more, or generated bigger hits, but this third Peter Gabriel album remains his masterpiece. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released October 10, 2011 | Real World Productions Ltd.

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Us

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

Six years after earning his first blockbuster, Peter Gabriel finally delivered Us, his sequel to So. Clearly, that great span of time indicates that Gabriel was obsessive in crafting the album, and Us bears the sound of endless hours in the studio. It's not just that the production is pristine, clean, and immaculate, it's that the music is, with only a handful of exceptions (namely, the "Sledgehammer" rewrite "Steam" and the fellatio ode "Kiss That Frog"), remarkably subtle and shaded. It's also not a coincidence that Us is, as Gabriel says in his liner notes, "about relationships," since the exquisitely textured music lets him expose his soul, albeit in a typically obtuse way. Since the music is so muted, it's no surprise that the album failed to capture a mass audience the way So did, but it's foolish to expect anyone but serious fans to unravel an album this deliberate. Gabriel is as adventurous as ever, yet he is relentlessly sober about his experiments, burying exotic sounds and percussion underneath crawling tempos measured atmospherics -- this is tastefully two-toned music, assembled by a consummate craftsman who became too immersed in detail to make anything but an insular, introspective work. Some gems are easier to unearth than others -- "Digging in the Dirt" has an insistent pulse, "Blood of Eden" and "Come Talk to Me" are quite beautiful, "Secret World" is quietly anthemic -- yet, given enough time, the record's understated approach and reflection becomes its most attractive element. But it takes a lot of spins and patience to get to that point, since this is an album he made for himself, and only those dedicated to the artist will have the patience to decode it. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released October 10, 2011 | Real World Productions Ltd.

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

Ten years is a long time, especially in pop music, but waiting ten years to deliver an album is a clear sign that you're not all that interested in the pop game anyway. Such is the case with Peter Gabriel, who delivered Up in 2002, a decade after Us and four years after he announced its title. Perhaps appropriately, Up sounds like an album that was ten years in the making, revealing not just its pleasures but its intent very, very slowly. This is not an accessible record, nor is it easy to warm up to, which means that many may dismiss it upon a single listen or two, never giving it the time it demands in order to be understood (it does not help matters that the one attempt at a single is the ham-fisted, wrong-headed trash-TV "satire" "The Barry Williams Show," which feels utterly forced and out of place here, as if Geffen was pleading for anything resembling a single to add to the album). Really, there is no other choice for an artist as somber and ambitious as Gabriel to craft an album as dense as Up; those who have waited diligently for ten years would be disappointed with anything less and, frankly, they're the only audience that matters after a decade. And they're not likely to be disappointed, since this album grows stronger, revealing more with each listen. Initially, it seems to simply carry on the calmer, darker recesses of Us, but this is an uncompromising affair, which is to its advantage, since Gabriel delves deeper into darkness, grief, and meditation. It may take a while for him to emerge from the darkness -- there is little of the comfort of a "Come Talk to Me" or "Blood of Eden," which are immediately soothing on Us -- but there are glimmers of hope throughout the album, even in its darkest moments. Again, it takes awhile to sort all this out -- to unlock the form of the songs, then their meanings -- and it's such a somber, hushed, insular affair that some dedicated listeners may not bother to spin it the appropriate number of times. But those serious fans who want to spend time with this will find that it does pay back many rewards. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released October 10, 2011 | Real World Productions Ltd.

Almost every one of Peter Gabriel’s best-laid plans winds up going awry, and so it was with Scratch My Back, his 2010 collection of orchestral covers of some of his favorite songs. He had hoped to have the artists he covered return the favor by interpreting his songs but that project never got off the ground, so he pursued New Blood, an album where he turned that orchestra upon his own songs. New Blood is in every way a companion piece to Scratch My Back; it’s cut from the same aesthetic cloth, it's austere and cerebral without being chilly, it finds emotion within intellect. Some songs aren’t considerably different tonally than the original versions -- this is particularly true of the So material, with “Mercy Street” and “Red Rain” seeming no different in their transition from Synclavier to symphony -- but the ones that are heavily reworked, such as “San Jacinto” and “Intruder,” are startling, rearrangements that seem to give the songs a new set of bones. New Blood isn’t always as astonishing but that’s fine: the faithful adherence to melody on “Don’t Give Up” and “In Your Eyes” functions as something of a palate cleanser, and even when the album isn’t risky it’s always quietly absorbing. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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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 /TiVo
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Rock - Released September 24, 2013 | Real World Records Ltd.

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

Almost every one of Peter Gabriel’s best-laid plans winds up going awry, and so it was with Scratch My Back, his 2010 collection of orchestral covers of some of his favorite songs. He had hoped to have the artists he covered return the favor by interpreting his songs but that project never got off the ground, so he pursued New Blood, an album where he turned that orchestra upon his own songs. New Blood is in every way a companion piece to Scratch My Back; it’s cut from the same aesthetic cloth, it's austere and cerebral without being chilly, it finds emotion within intellect. Some songs aren’t considerably different tonally than the original versions -- this is particularly true of the So material, with “Mercy Street” and “Red Rain” seeming no different in their transition from Synclavier to symphony -- but the ones that are heavily reworked, such as “San Jacinto” and “Intruder,” are startling, rearrangements that seem to give the songs a new set of bones. New Blood isn’t always as astonishing but that’s fine: the faithful adherence to melody on “Don’t Give Up” and “In Your Eyes” functions as something of a palate cleanser, and even when the album isn’t risky it’s always quietly absorbing. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released September 24, 2013 | Real World Records Ltd.

Three years in gestation -- which, in Peter Gabriel time, is a mere handful of months -- And I'll Scratch Yours, the companion piece to the 2010 covers album Scratch My Back, finds most (but certainly not all) of the artists who were interpreted on Gabriel's album returning the favor by tackling the progressive singer/songwriter's back catalog. Not every artist chose to scratch Gabriel's back. Radiohead reportedly were irked by his version of "Street Spirit (Fade Out)" and Neil Young followed his own path away from Gabriel, so Joseph Arthur was drafted to contribute an entirely too moody version of "Shock the Monkey" and, better, Brian Eno dug into the dark, unsettling corners of "Mother of Violence." Eno is a contemporary of Gabriel's -- he contributed to Genesis' masterwork The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway -- and, like on Scratch My Back, the veteran artists provide a better, riskier experience than the younger acts. Generally, the newer artists here -- Bon Iver, Regina Spektor, Arcade Fire, Elbow, Feist; Stephin Merritt is a grand exception with his nervy reading of "Not One of Us" -- favor the moody, foreboding side of Gabriel while his peers prefer to play around. Lou Reed turns the celebratory "Solsbury Hill" into a dirge befitting Magic and Loss (and changes the lyrics to read "my friends would think I was a slut" because, you know, sexual danger), David Byrne seizes upon the new wave disco menace of "I Don't Remember," Randy Newman spins "Big Time" into vaudeville, and, best of all, Paul Simon turns "Biko" into the folk protest anthem it always longed to be. And there are moments scattered among the younger acts worth hearing, too: Arcade Fire retain the ominous, dangerous air of "Games Without Frontiers," Spektor lends a gorgeous shimmer to "Blood of Eden," and Feist retains the delicacy of "Don't Give Up." This doesn't amount to a cohesive record -- although it favors the contemplative, there are too many shifts in mood here from track to track -- but it is without question a worthwhile record, as its best moments are strong, substantive reinterpretations that illustrate just how good a songwriter Peter Gabriel is. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released September 9, 2016 | Real World Productions Ltd.

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Rock - Released July 1, 1980 | Caroline International (S&D)

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Rock - Released June 17, 2016 | Real World Productions Ltd.

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Rock - Released July 1, 1980 | Caroline International (S&D)

Generally regarded as Peter Gabriel's finest record, his third eponymous album finds him coming into his own, crafting an album that's artier, stronger, more song-oriented than before. Consider its ominous opener, the controlled menace of "Intruder." He's never found such a scary sound, yet it's a sexy scare, one that is undeniably alluring, and he keeps this going throughout the record. For an album so popular, it's remarkably bleak, chilly, and dark -- even radio favorites like "I Don't Remember" and "Games Without Frontiers" are hardly cheerful, spiked with paranoia and suspicion, insulated in introspection. For the first time, Gabriel has found the sound to match his themes, plus the songs to articulate his themes. Each aspect of the album works, feeding off each other, creating a romantically gloomy, appealingly arty masterpiece. It's the kind of record where you remember the details in the production as much as the hooks or the songs, which isn't to say that it's all surface -- it's just that the surface means as much as the songs, since it articulates the emotions as well as Gabriel's cubist lyrics and impassioned voice. He wound up having albums that sold more, or generated bigger hits, but this third Peter Gabriel album remains his masterpiece. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo