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


Peter Gabriel


Crossover Prog

3.80 | 73 ratings

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Symphonic Team
2 stars Big time

I am not a big fan of music videos and neither am I a big fan of Peter Gabriel's solo career, but this is still one of the better music video collections I own (which admittedly is not that many as most of my favourite bands never did music videos - which is true of Prog bands in general). Peter Gabriel has always been a very visual artist ever since his days with Genesis, and though none of his solo material is Prog by any means, his videos are undoubtedly "arty". Indeed, the visual aspect of Peter Gabriel's persona is much more "progressive" than his music!

The main feature of Play: The Videos contains 23 music videos spanning Peter Gabriel's solo career. The oldest song is Solsbury Hill from Gabriel's first solo album from 1977, but the video features added footage from 1990 and the overall feel of the video is modern. His weak second album is not represented at all and all of the remaining songs are thus from the 80's, 90's and 2000's. The commercial So album is amply represented here with as many as six videos being taken from that album (out of the album's eight tracks in total!). Several of these songs became big radio and TV hits and I vividly remember the video to Sledgehammer from TV when I must have been very young. I especially remember the dancing chickens! This one is a classic Pop video. (It is funny that post-Gabriel Genesis are so often criticised around these parts for "selling out" and being too "commercial" while Gabriel is held up as a "defender of the faith", when Gabriel's own music was every bit as commercial as that of Genesis, if not more so. Indeed, Genesis held on to their progressive roots for years after Gabriel's departure while Gabriel went in a quite different direction straight away. This overly positive attitude to Gabriel's solo material from Prog fans has always puzzled me).

Gabriel's studio albums have often been very uneven and a compilation like this one could have remedied that to a degree, but we get here both some of his best songs and some of his worst. Some of the music on this DVD is not taken directly from the original studio albums, but some are live versions or alternate versions. Washing Of The Water is one of these and I must say that I strongly prefer the album version.

A nice feature are the short introductions to each video (which conveniently can be turned on and off in the menu). Other extras are a further two music videos one of which is from 1977 as well as a live performance and a couple of trailers for other Peter Gabriel DVD's. You get an informative 22 page booklet and the surround sound is another thing that you don't get with the original albums, if you care for that sort of thing.

The best videos are not always for the best songs, but overall this is a quite good music video collection and the visuals often enhance the music in interesting ways. Play is not quite as good as Genesis's The Video Show, but it will probably appeal to the same people.

For the most devoted Peter Gabriel fans, this will be a very nice addition to their collections. From a Prog perspective however, this is not very interesting at all.

SouthSideoftheSky | 2/5 |


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