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There is much here that will be familiar to his fans. The big drum tracks, fluid bass playing and emotive asmopherics. And of course there is Gabriel's voice which can range from cunning cynicism to frail vulnerability and everything between and beyond these extremes. But it is hardly a safe album. In feel many of the tracks hark back to his earliest solo work, before he entered the world of hit singles and million sellers. There are also many unexpected twists to the music that make for fascinating listening. An example is the upbeat switch in "I Grieve". In no way does he pander to the commercial considerations that hamstring so many successful artists.
The album is a solid reminder of why Peter Gabriel deserves his every success, something which it will no doubt guarantee him.
Yet with UP, Gabriel finally does what I hoped he would do since I discovered him in 1974: he has given his dedicated fans a work of art that stands above all his previous releases perhaps even including those from Genesis three decades ago.
I can understand why Rolling Stone magazine would give this CD two stars. (Rolling Stone also gave "Selling England By the Pound" two stars upon its release in 1973). I was tempted to give UP two stars after buying it and surviving the first abrasive burst of guitar on the opening cut "Darkness." That and Tony Levin's persistent, penetrating bass that can drown out an unlearned melody were almost enough to turn my family into a covey of Gabriel haters. I've never had so many people yelling at me in unison to turn down the stereo.
I still don't much care for David Rhodes's initial guitar work on "Darkness." However, once you get to know it in the context of the song, it works exceedingly well, along with every bit of "Darkness," a masterpiece and the closest Gabriel has come to his seminal work on "The Battle of Epping Forest" or "Broadway Melody of 1974."
UP is not perfect, but perfect is hard to find -- perhaps only existing in one album that I know of: Sgt. Peppers from the Beatles. But I firmly believe that UP is as close to perfection as Gabriel has come in his solo career.
Having just re-listened to "Selling England" and "The Lamb," I have to say that the vocal virtuosity on UP exceeds both by a long shot.Read more ›
First, Peter Gabriel's first three albums explored a lot of musicial territories, most of them dark and brooding. All of them mildly to highly experimental at times. Of these three most fans agree the third "aka: melting face" album was the one that really broke Peter Gabriel as a substantial talent and shed reason on why he left Genesis.
It was bold, set new standards of sound both in quality and timbre and created new music genres. It also introduced things like the Fairlight synthesizer and gated drums. If that term is not familiar listen to "Intruder" from that album and you'll hear the sound of 80's drum sounds. The Fairlight was a computer based sample playback device that could examine sounds and put them together with a lot of different sound qualities. This was one of the first samplers which also are quite popular in music today. However the album was so different that his record company dropped him. Thankfully he found another to distribute it.
Based on this tradition of new technology, blurring the lines of distinction between music styles, sounds and new technical advances PG continued with his 4th album, Security, one of the few recordings done completely digital that didn't sound terrible and bright. The Fairlight was back as were African drum troupes and exotic percussion.
That's the short history. Then came So, a glossy production with several bright and happy songs that were radio friendly and still not a sell out.Read more ›
1) Darkness - Promise of things to come. Starts off slow and mellow, then bursts into this frantic, almost frightening music and vocals. Back then to the slower stuff, every note sung with passion and anger and confusion and sadness and tales of lost innocence and hope for rebirth.
2) Growing Up - Fans of Gabriel's previous two albums will find much to like here. A hypnotic beat, effects, cross-singing, cross-lyrics, pounding drums, all add to the essence of the creativity he stretches the music here with. "My Ghost Likes to Travel, so far in the unknown, so deep into your space..." That lick will certainly stay in one's head long after the music's over.
3) Sky Blue - This song features a roller coaster ride between "up" and down. Reminds me a bit of Gabriel's earlier work and some with Genesis. Behind all the sadness, there is hope. Gabriel's voice in backup remind one of Phil Collins. How did he pull that off?
4) No Way Out - The production values on this even exceeds those of the first three. Amazing. Great guitar work. Backwards music, and echo and a driving beat from some jungle in some distant land. Halfway in, the song increases in intensity to a multitracked, heavy beat finale with heavy electronic effects.
5) I Greive - Probably one of the best songs on the album. This is a revamped edition of a song used on the movie soundtrack to "City of Angels." I loved it then, I love it so much more now.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Agree that this goes back to older style somewhat, but that was really more psychedelic and alternative, while this album is very whiny and is emotionally, a total buzz-kill :(... Read morePublished 20 months ago by JindraMojo
This brief review is all about the fidelity of this gem of an SACD. Most all of you reading this already know how special this album is - perhaps PG's greatest achievement. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Good Judge
As I have mentioned previously in my review of the “Us” album, pretty much everything that Peter Gabriel did after the peak in his commercial success with the “So” album went more... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Mr. Jeep