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Peter Gabriel - Play: The Videos CD (album) cover

PLAY: THE VIDEOS

Peter Gabriel

 

Crossover Prog

3.80 | 73 ratings

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Matti
Prog Reviewer
3 stars I bought this video compilation last December for 12 euros, it's worth that sum all right. The over-colourful artwork of the package was awful, but it took me some time to get rid of a certain irritation about the contents, too: Peter Gabriel has always been among my favourite musicians but there are many songs I more or less dislike (in the hit department) and they all have to be here naturally. I mean 'Big Time', 'Kiss That Frog', 'Steam', 'Barry Williams Show', maybe 'Growing Up' too. Many videos are full of bright colours and digital cut-and-paste animation, and I've never valued that video style very much. And what comes to the Barry Williams Show, it's a strong criticism against all the sick reality-TV programmes, and the nasty video does that criticism well but I don't like the song. 'Sledgehammer' (never really liked that 60's soul pastiche either) was a groundbreaking video at the time but nowadays it looks quite pointless riff-raff to me.

Ok, I started this review negatively, but fortunately there's a lot of good stuff too, and the editing/production is topnotch just as you might expect from Gabriel. You can programme to see up to 18 videos in wished order; you can choose video introductions on or off. Besides trailers for other Gabriel DVD releases, bonuses include videos for 'Modern Love' (1977; probably considered too poor to be in the main set!) and 'The Nest That Sailed The Sky', an ambientish instrumental from OVO project.

Some notes on the videos: 'Mercy Street' (how nice that the song, very far from MTV stuff, is made into a video in the first place) is very artful B/W video in a perfect balance with the delicacy of the song itself. 'The Drop' from UP is another far-from-commercial song and the fine slow video is suitably in a rather abstract level. 'Father, Son' is a simple but beautiful dedication to Peter's father, featuring B/W home video shooting. 'Blood of Eden' features Sinead O'Connor. The tight embrace of PG and Kate Bush in 'Don't Give Up' is enough happening for the video, though the background colours could be less sugary. Tracks like 'I Don't Remember' or 'Shock The Monkey' have rather typical rock videos of the time with a sense of drama. 'Lovetown' is connected to Philadelphia (the praised AIDS/gay/courtroom drama) but has no clips of it. 'Biko' (live '87) includes clips from the apartheid film Cry For Freedom, and it touches one's emotions just as it should.

In general PG's videos have visibly less - nearly none at all - concert material or a band playing playback to music, unlike with most artists - with Genesis for example. That's because Gabriel's videos are more ambitious. The hi-tech results are not necessarily always superb in the narrative level. The best video of these? Maybe 'Digging in the Dirt' visually, but 'Mercy Street' otherwise.

Matti | 3/5 |

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