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Peter Gabriel - So CD (album) cover


Peter Gabriel


Crossover Prog

3.83 | 614 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Is So Peter Gabriel's best work? Maybe, but it's much easier to say with certainty that this excellent release is his most enjoyable. This breakthrough album features killer pop, thoughtful ballads, and nuanced ambiance in equal proportions, giving something for every one, but especially those of us interested in a complete and artistic Peter Gabriel experience.

"Red Rain" opens the album strongly with a highly rythmic and dense art-pop tone. The pulsing beats and textured synthesizer definitely aren't prog, but they are instantly appealing. Gabriel's lyrics and vocals are spot on; the whole thing gets the album off to a great start. "Sledgehammer," the one song on So that everyone already knows, is a hook-laden monster that is a perfect example of pop-music done right: you remember the hooks, hum the melody, and can listen engaged to the layers and layers of musicianship going on behind the scenes.

"Don't Give Up" may be one of the most powerful ballads I've ever heard. It's understated, elegant, subtle, and soulfully delivered. Gabriel's vocals cut to the core, and just when you're feeling vulnerable, Kate Bush's perfect tone and phrasing will reduce you to a quivering pool of emotional jelly. Perfect (and with a Tony Levin bass solo!).

"That Voice Again" features complex and interesting work by the rhythm section, while "Mercy Street", another standout track, demonstrates the atmospheric qualities brought by a subtle composition and thoughtful keyboard textures. "Big Time" is tongue in cheek funk-pop, while "We Do What We're Told" and "This is the Picture" are cryptic and moody ambient pieces. They remind me of a darker shade of Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight" or "True Colors". Great stuff.

The finale conceits to pop balladry with "In Your Eyes", what may be Gabriel's most famous work thanks to its use in Cameron Crowe's 1989 film Say Anything. It's a cheap shot and cheesy and fun, and a satisfying close to a great album.

So is balanced, artful, enjoyable, and memorable, and easily one of Gabriel's best works. Not a masterpiece, but first-rate and a great purchase.

Songwriting: 4 - Instrumental Performances: 3 - Lyrics/Vocals: 5 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 5

Prog Leviathan | 4/5 |


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