Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Now That's A Pretty Song

Secret World by Peter Gabriel, from the Album Us.

A longtime fan of Gabriel's work, I find this song has just enough of everything to please my ear and engage my mind, and I actually understand what the lyrics are trying to tell me (which I don't, sometimes, with Gabriel's songs1).

Written around the time he was breaking up with his first wife, it tells the poignant story of a breakup from the point of view of someone both relieved to be out of it but at the same time sad beyond bearing that it came to that. The instrumental arrangement is complex, the lyrics clever and the rhythm driving and relentless, rather like the subject under consideration. I'm especially impressed with Tony Levin's bass and the very restrained piano part. I often play this track through again after hearing it.

The album includes the hit "Steam", a song I never really cared for in the version that charted but like better in the slow mix available on the CD-ROM "Peter Gabriel's Secret World2", and "Digging in the Dirt", which I liked a lot on first hearing it on MTV (I think). The Stevieling likes "Blood of Eden" particularly, and we both like "Kiss that Frog" so much that an alternate version of the percussion track was the wake-up wav for my first computer for years (another benefit of the CD-ROM).

I rate the Us album very highly, and if you are only going to listen to one Gabriel album, I recommend this one without reservation.

Listen to the last track twice.

  1. Shock the Monkey springs to mind
  2. If you see a copy of the CD-ROM and want to try it, you should be aware that the non-Mac version will only run properly on a Windows 3.x system. On Windows 95 the mixer controls are not moveable, though they work fine on XP where other things stop working. I've ranted elsewhere about the lack of a modern port of this product which is otherwise a fascinating snapshot of life during a recording session in the Gabriel Secret World studio complex.

No comments: