Peter Gabriel (So)

Official Album Cover

The Album

Peter Gabriel (So) released on 19 May 1986, stands as a landmark album in the landscape of 80s rock, showcasing the artist’s unparalleled creativity, emotional depth, and innovative sonic experimentation. In this review, we delve into the multifaceted brilliance of “So,” exploring its standout tracks, thematic richness, and enduring impact on the music industry.

From the haunting opening notes of “Red Rain,” “So” transports listeners into a world of atmospheric beauty and emotional intensity. Gabriel’s ethereal vocals, combined with lush instrumentation and innovative production techniques, create a sonic landscape that is both mesmerizing and deeply moving. The album’s lead single, “Sledgehammer,” with its infectious rhythm and groundbreaking music video, became an instant classic and remains one of Gabriel’s most iconic songs to date.

Throughout “So,” Gabriel explores a wide range of themes, from love and loss to social commentary and introspection. Tracks like “Don’t Give Up,” a haunting duet with Kate Bush, and “Mercy Street,” inspired by the poetry of Anne Sexton, delve into the complexities of human emotion with raw honesty and vulnerability. Meanwhile, songs like “Big Time” and “We Do What We’re Told (Milgram’s 37)” showcase Gabriel’s knack for blending thought-provoking lyrics with infectious grooves and inventive sonic textures.

One of the album’s standout tracks is “In Your Eyes,” a soaring ballad that captures the ecstasy of love and connection. With its hypnotic rhythm, shimmering guitars, and heartfelt lyrics, “In Your Eyes” remains one of Gabriel’s most beloved and enduring compositions, earning a prominent place in the pantheon of 80s love songs.

But perhaps the most remarkable aspect of “So” is its seamless integration of diverse musical styles and influences. From the world music-inspired rhythms of “This Is the Picture (Excellent Birds)” to the funk-infused energy of “Sledgehammer,” Gabriel demonstrates a fearless willingness to push the boundaries of genre and convention, creating a sound that is uniquely his own.

In addition to its musical brilliance, Peter Gabriel (So) is also notable for its groundbreaking production techniques, including the innovative use of digital sampling and cutting-edge studio technology. Gabriel’s collaboration with legendary producer Daniel Lanois resulted in a sonic landscape that was ahead of its time, setting a new standard for production excellence in the 1980s and beyond.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Peter Gabriel (So) is a masterpiece of 80s rock that continues to captivate listeners with its emotional depth, musical innovation, and timeless relevance. From its haunting melodies to its thought-provoking lyrics, the album remains a testament to Gabriel’s artistic vision and enduring influence on the music industry. Whether you’re a longtime fan or a newcomer to Gabriel’s work, “So” is a must-listen album that will leave you spellbound from start to finish.

Track Listing

  1. “Red Rain”
  2. “Sledgehammer”
  3. “Don’t Give Up” (featuring Kate Bush)
  4. “That Voice Again”
  5. “In Your Eyes”
  6. “Mercy Street”
  7. “Big Time”
  8. “We Do What We’re Told (Milgram’s 37)”
  9. “This Is the Picture (Excellent Birds)” (featuring Laurie Anderson)

YouTube

Lyrics

Hey, hey, you there
Tell me how have you been?

You could have a steam train
If you’d just lay down your tracks
You could have an aeroplane flying
If you bring your blue sky back
All you do is call me
I’ll be anything you need

You could have a big dipper
Going up and down, all around the bends
You could have a bumper car, bumping
This amusement never ends

I wanna be your sledgehammer
Why don’t you call my name?
Ah oh, let me be your sledgehammer
This will be my testimony
Yeah (yeah)

Show me ’round your fruit cage
‘Cause I will be your honey bee
Open up your fruit cage
Where the fruit can be sweet as can be

I wanna be your sledgehammer
Why don’t you call my name?
Ah, you’d better call the sledgehammer
Put your mind at rest

I’m gonna be the sledgehammer
This can be my testimony
Ah, I’m your sledgehammer
Let there be no doubt about it

(Sledge)
(Sledge)
(Sledgehammer)

I get it right, I kicked the habit (kicked the habit, kicked the habit)
Shed my skin (shed my skin)
This is the new stuff (this is the new stuff)
I go dancing in (we go dancing in)
Oh, won’t you show for me? (Show for me)
I will show for you (show for you)
Please, show for me (show for me)
Huh, I will show for you
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, I do mean you (show for me)

Only you, you’ve been coming through (show for you)
I’m gonna build that power, build, build up that power, hey (show for me)
I’ve been feeding the rhythm, huh
I’ve been feeding the rhythm (show for you)
Gonna feel that power hey, build in you (show for me)
Ah, come on, come on, help me do
Come on, come on, help me do (show for you)
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, you (show for me)

I’ve been feeding the rhythm
I’ve been feeding the rhythm (show for you)
It’s what we’re doing, doing
All day and night (show for me)
Come on, come on, help me do
Come on, come on, help me do (show for you)
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, you (show for me)

Reference

So (album) – Wikipedia