Review Summary: An album not to be missed by anyone due to its relaxing melodies and dark emotional nature. Peter Gabriel strikes again with tracks like "Digging in the Dirt", "Secret World", and "Steam".
Coming off of the incredible success of Peter Gabriel’s 1986 release, So
, the world had very had high expectations for him with the release of Us
. In the time period between 1986 and 1992 Peter Gabriel went a few life-changing experiences, the featured one being his divorce. That is the grounds for this album being extremely emotional and also much darker than So
. This album also features much more world music influences than previous albums, as we may have gotten a hint of this through the strongly world-based song Shaking The Tree
off his best of album, Shaking The Tree
, released in 1990. Would these events and songs dictate a change in styles, and form a new Peter Gabriel? The answer is yes, those looking for another Sledgehammer
and Big Time
will probably not find that here. What they will find is a very emotional album that will strike through to the listener and also some very relaxing tunes.
The album kicks off with Come Talk To Me
, a song about the distance between Peter and his daughter, and his fight to get through to her. This song sets the general mood for the album, that this is not going to be a 'loud' cd, and in my opinion it is best played rather quietly.
Up next is Love To Be Loved
, a very moody song about needing someone to be there for you when one feels all alone, as Peter felt during his divorce. A very strong song but no particular standout features, mainly Peter's voice and the implied chord progressions through the keyboards. Once again, we have a slower track, Blood Of Eden
. I would have expected Enya to write this song before Peter Gabriel, but it shows me how he can go from writing progressive rock to a weird pseudo-emotional rock, to pop, and now to world music. Like the songs so far, this has no big standout feature, but serves as a great track through its setting of the mood and general feel of the song.
Now we have what is quite possibly the only genuine pop and upbeat song, Steam
. This was actually the song that got me hooked, and really made me want to buy the album. I am a big of fan of the whole first part, from the intro to the way it carries its momentum into the first verse and then right into the chorus, that, to me, is an example of musical perfection. Although some who enjoy the softer tracks feel that this is one of the weakest songs on the album, I think that this is one of the best songs off the album.
I think I had to be let down eventually, as the first four songs are all classic, and there had to be a clunker eventually. Only Us
is that clunker. Although it has some decent lyrics, I just can't handle the seemingly endless repetition of those weird 'noises'. Washing Of The Water
is another very emotional song that is lyrically strong as well.
"In the washing of the water will you take it all away
Bring me something to take this pain away
This shows the pain that has been felt by Peter Gabriel and the water symbolises what he needs to cleanse himself of the turmoil he has been through in the past few years. A very good song.
Next is my favorite song off the album, Digging In The Dirt
. Many of you have probably heard it lately as it was on the commercial for FX's new TV Show, Dirt
, repeating the "This time you've gone too far
" line. But anyways, this is a very dark song and it is very easy to relate to as well. Each part of this song is great and it always has meaning, my favorite being the chorus.
"I'm digging in the dirt
Stay with me I need support
I'm digging in the dirt
To find the places I got hurt
Open up the places I got hurt
Those lines with the light guitar going behind it is absolutely perfect. I also love the anger expressed in the prechorus, this is a simply fantastic song. A splendid mix of his newer, relaxed world-influenced music and the commercial side of his work.
Next is another relaxed song in Fourteen Black Paintings
. With a very african intro, this song has several chord progressions that bring to mind In The Air Tonight
by Phil Collins, with a very dark and depressing feeling. While it seems like a filler song, I still enjoy it. Kiss That Frog
is clearly another radio-friendly effort, but I like the mood of the song and the entire feel of it. I feel like the lyrics are rather weak, or maybe the talk of frogs and the likes somewhat turns me off. Great melodies in the song and I like the guitar lines as well. Not a bad song.
To make a good album, it generally has to have a good closing. Secret World
definitely does not fail to do that. In my opinion this song is fantastic at a low volume, and it is great to just sit and listen to it, and think. A great song to listen to while in bed.
At first I was a little disappointed at the lack of upbeat and loud commercial songs, but I soon learned that these emotional songs were what Peter Gabriel was best at. A very solid album and I reccomend anyone who likes Peter Gabriel, or anyone interesting in getting into some world-influenced music to check it out.