Peter Gabriel

This is Peter Gabriel’s first (1977) solo record, the one with the cover (by “Hipgnosis”) with a picture of a blue car covered with rain, some of it looking real, and some looking airbrushed. You can see a guy in the car, and on back it’s a different angle. Then on the sleeve, the window’s coming down… it’s… surprise… Peter Gabriel! (Or I assume.) Then the other side of the sleeve– his eyes are all white, like the “master” on “Kung Fu.”

The first song sounds like he’s still in Genesis (the band), then comes the hit, the pop song “Solsbury Hill” which is okay, but I can do without it. Then he rocks out with “Modern Love” which was our favorite back then, just because it’s a simple farfisa up-tempo song, but the thing we really got excited about was the audible vocal “Uhhhh!” before the lyrics started. It didn’t take much to impress us back then. Then there’s a song that sounds like Nilsson, more Genesis, more rocking out 70’s guitar rock, then one that sounds like a wankier version of Leon Russell, then some more wanky Genesis crapola, which nicely sets up his anthem, “Here Comes the Flood,” which really is an okay song, and an early song about global warming!

The funny thing is “Here Comes the Flood” is also on Robert Fripp’s “Exposure”– so I decide to compare the two. Both are totally Gabriel– he sings it, he wrote it– but what is odd is that the one on Fripp’s album is more acoustic, less produced, it’s got nice piano, it’s subtler, and better. The one on this record is trying too hard for the big moment, and nearly ruined by guitar, especially a horrible solo. I would give anything to see Fripp and Gabriel discussing these two versions. I was wondering if Fripp, who played guitar on this record, purposely ruined the song! But I look at the credits, and two notorious guitar wankers also played on the record, Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner (who is credited with the solo).

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April 2007

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