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Scratch My Back Deluxe Edition, Special Edition

3.5 out of 5 stars 160 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Deluxe Edition, Special Edition, March 2, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

Peter Gabriel s Scratch My Back album project is the first part of a series of song
exchanges in which Gabriel and other leading artists reinterpret each other s songs.
To help craft his recording of the album s eclectic array of cult favorites and classic
tracks, Gabriel enlisted former Durutti Column member John Metcalfe, composer,
arranger and the expertise of producer Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd s The Wall , Lou
Reed s Berlin ) and engineer, mixer and producer Tchad Blake (Suzanne Vega,
Sheryl Crow, Tom Waits).
Gabriel describes this as a very personal record with twelve songs performed only
with orchestral instruments and voice. He made the choice not to include guitar or
drums. The album s richly diverse sounds include the sparse romance of Lou Reed s
The Power of the Heart , the powerful musical journey of David Bowie s Heroes
and an epic arrangement of Arcade Fire s My Body Is A Cage. Gabriel and his
collaborators recorded the album at George Martin s Air Lyndhurst Studios and the
Real World Temple with further editing and mixing at his own Real Worlds Studio in
Wiltshire. The Scratch My Back release is one of the most creative and engaging
records from an iconic artist in a long time. The marketing focus is to penetrate
Peter Gabriel s core fan base as well as fans of all genres and in all demographics
given the scope of artists being covered as well as its depth of composition.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Heroes (David Bowie)
  2. The Boy In The Bubble (Paul Simon)
  3. Mirrorball (Elbow)
  4. Flume (Bon Iver)
  5. Listening Wind (Talking Heads)
  6. The Power Of The Heart (Lou Reed)
  7. My Body Is A Cage (Arcade Fire)
  8. The Book Of Love (The Magnetic Fields)
  9. I Think It's Going To Rain Today (Randy Newman)
  10. Apres Moi (Regina Spektor)
  11. Philadelphia (Neil Young)
  12. Street Spirit (Fade Out) (Radiohead)

Disc: 2

  1. The Book Of Love (Remix)
  2. My Body Is A Cage (Oxford London Temple Version)
  3. Waterloo Sunset (The Kinks) (Oxford London Temple Version)
  4. Heroes (Wildebeest Mix)

Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 2, 2010)
  • Special ed. edition
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Deluxe Edition, Special Edition
  • Label: Real World Productions
  • ASIN: B0035J6TAI
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (160 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,346 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Peter Gabriel Store

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By ewomack TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 14, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
"Scratch My Back" will doubtlessly go down as one of Peter Gabriel's most contentious albums. Known for thundering drums and uvula exposing vocal explosions, Gabriel evaded all expectations and instead released a mellow, all orchestral album. Reviews seem very mixed and even long time fans are divided on what to think about this puzzling release.

First off, Gabriel has never recorded a cover album. Sometimes these serve as stop gap distractions while performers prepare new batches of original material (naysayers would probably like to think that such is the case here). Many such albums become throwaways. Instead, Gabriel claims that this motley collection of somewhat contemporary tunes represents his most personal endeavor to date. A deeply personal cover album? Gabriel's oeuvre, burgeoning with passionate political and social statements from his own pen, would seem a more likely fountain of personal expression than orchestral covers. In any case, there it is.

Credit definitely goes to Gabriel for trying on new pants, so to say. "Scratch My Back" is completely unlike anything else the man has ever released. Taking his work as a whole, "So" arguably feels closer to "Foxtrot" than to this album. Here the Gabriel "wall of sound" has disappeared. Innovative cracking rhythms give way to flourishing strings. Vocals float in front of often sparse orchestral and piano arrangements. "Here Comes The Flood" and "Wallflower" approach such sparseness, but everything on "Scratch My Back" outdoes even these quiet ballads in this sense. Sparse, in fact, serves as an apt one word description of this album.

Then there's the song selection. Gabriel definitely mined some of the best: Talking Heads, Paul Simon, Lou Reed, Radiohead, Randy Newman, David Bowie, etc.
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Format: Audio CD
I cannot tell you how exciting this album is to me. I'm a bit shocked to be able to say that - considering that it is, at heart, a covers album and a Gabriel album without the percussion so essential to his other work. We hear only suggestions of the original songs in Gabriel's interpretations (with the exception of "I Think It's Going To Rain Today", which bares resemblance to Randy Newman's original) - and we certainly hear something very much like "Gabriel songs", regardless of the other songwriters and instrumentation.

Scratch My Back is as nakedly painful and loving and fragile and dark as almost anything Gabriel's done - by which I mean his voice, his performance, the brilliantly unpredictable arrangements are just out there between our eyes and in our chest, and we *feel* it. While it goes to a lot of places and sounds, there is no Sledgehammer here (which I don't say to slam Sledge or this album). It's not timid - it gets raucous, but it doesn't rock (it doesn't try to). Though the album may not dance with you, it will alternately hold you, grab and shake you and stare uncomfortably at you.

I could not make it through the album without replaying songs and then parts of songs again - and I'm dying to play the whole thing again as I write. That is a great thing to say (and something I can't pretend I say often). I don't want to take it apart bit by bit - take it in yourself. I do think it's outstanding.
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Format: Audio CD
When singers get to a certain stage in their careers, they usually get the dreaded itch and do a covers album. Peter Gabriel's new CD is the first part of an intriguing project. "Scratch my back" comprises covers of 12 songs by 12 different artists. Eventually, a CD titled "I'll scratch yours" in which the 12 artists will cover different Peter Gabriel songs will be released.

Additionally, Gabriel's CD consists of orchestra only; no guitars or drums. Rod Stewart he ain't! Opening cut David Bowie's "Heroes" is a gradually ascending string-swathed piece, while Paul Simon's "The boy in the bubble" is transformed into a melancholic piano piece shorn of all its Afrocentric traces.

The remaining 10 songs comprise mostly more recent fare of which I only knew 5 originals; Elbow's "Mirrorball" (even more sublime here with just strings), Bon Iver's "Flume" (piano and strings unlike the original's folky guitar), Arcade Fire's "My body is a cage" (with icy strings replacing the original's drum/guitar bursts), Regina Spektor's "Apres moi" (a stunning swelling symphonic makeover), and a delicate piano reworking of Radiohead's "Street spirit ( Fade out)".

The other songs are Talking Heads' "Listening wind" (with a Celtic feel), Lou Reed's "The power of the heart", The Magnetic Field's "The book of love" (with some female harmonies - stirring and truly beautiful), Randy Newman's "I think it's going to rain today" (hymnal with a heartfelt quivering voiced delivery), and Neil Young's "Philadelphia".

Dark and forlorn yet beautiful, these already sound like Gabriel originals. It will be exciting to hear what Arcade Fire, Radiohead, Bowie and the rest do with the Peter Gabriel songs they select.
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Format: Audio CD
Of course it wasn't what I was expecting but it is SO GOOD and keeps getting better with each listen. It's not easy listening. It's not background music. Sometimes it's a little TOO intense. Mirrorball has to be the best track and it is a triumph (never heard the original). Anybody who would call this record "mellow" has a very limited understanding of music. This version of Heroes is cinematic and epic. Once again Mirrorball is the kind of piece that makes you want to take a big risk that will change the course of your life. I'm talking purely from the musical perspective, when you add the lyrics it feels like deeply reveling in the joys of the human experience.

Book of Love is Tender and deeply touching.
Boy in the bubble is contemplative and raw.

Just an amazing album. I never know what he's going to do next but he NEVER disappoints and always leaves me feeling like I have grown just by listening.

It goes way beyond rock and pop and to listen is to evolve, no wonder some listeners are scratching their heads unable to comprehend what this is.
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