12 August 2006

Currently listening to

The first two Peter Gabriel albums paired with his last one. Have fun noting the similarities across the 25 years from his beginning as a soloist in 1977 to his possible final statement in 2002. One noticable difference is his use of genre musical styles on his first two albums (blues, honky-tonk, and even cool jazz) abandoned on all subsequent ones. There are some gems but unfortunately many throwaway items too.

From 1, "Moribund The Burgermeister" has his oddball storytelling that could have come from Tresspass's "The Knife" or Nursery Cryme's "Harold the Barrel," just as it reappears in Up's "The Barry Williams Show." Apparently, the townsfolk that Moribund is responsible for are having some sort of Woodstock freakout and he runs to his mother to help him bring them back under control: Mother please, is it just a disease, that has them breaking all my laws, Check if you can disconnect the effect and I'll go after the cause. "Humdrum" has a nice, short binary form that contrasts the mundane against the grandiose. The most notable song is "Here Comes the Flood:"

Lord, here comes the flood
We'll say goodbye to flesh and blood
If again the seas are silent
in any still alive
It'll be those who gave their island to survive
Drink up, dreamers, you're running dry.

This should have had more attention than (the obscenely over-played) "Solsbury Hill."

From 2, it opens with another silly misfit story in "On the Air," where our hero is a bum who lives out his fantasy life through television. The intended jab is not subtle, but the humor is well-placed. "Mother of Violence" holds up by its spare and timeless lyric Fear, she's the mother of violence, and "Indigo" is an effectively moody song about dying, reminding me of "In the Rapids" from The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.

Up is appropriately reminiscent of his first few solos and contains songs that are a hybrid of his early eccentricity, his middle obsession with world music, and his later commercial production. The strongest tracks are "Darkness," "Sky Blue" (also from the sad film Rabbit-proof Fence), "My Head Sounds Like That," and "Signal to Noise." And like PG1's closing "Here Comes the Flood" and PG2's closing "Home Sweet Home," Up closes with a reflective piano/voice composition called "The Drop."

Peter Gabriel 1
Peter Gabriel 1; Gabriel, Peter [Radio from the Ether]

Peter Gabriel 2
Peter Gabriel 2; Gabriel, Peter [Radio from the Ether]

Up; Gabriel, Peter [Radio from the Ether]

Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall
Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall; Monk, Thelonious Coltrane, John [Radio from the Ether]

[ posted by sstrader on 12 August 2006 at 2:13:15 PM in Current Interests , Music ]