Peter Gabriel - Peter Gabriel (Security) (1982)

"Still the warmth flows through me / and I sense you know me well / It's only common sense / there are no accidents 'round here"

Whereas the previous album Melt is his most coherent self-titled, the fourth and final album of the set is largely formless and oblique. For Security, Gabriel eschewed his rock roots almost entirely, fully immersing himself in the burgeoning field of electronic music with extensive use of synthesizers and samples, as well as the decision to record the entire album digitally (which at the time was almost unheard-of). The songs here are nebulous, seamless electronic experiments, and while there are some moments of more traditional prog to be found, for the most part this release is far removed from what listeners expect from Peter Gabriel. Security is not an album for everyone, to be sure; but for the dedicated listener it can be thoroughly rewarding. What could have easily been a clumsy attempt to aimlessly tread new ground instead ended up as a subtle, nuanced venture into territory that Gabriel had been quietly charting out on his previous albums. His years of experimentation with incorporating these sounds into rock music left him well-off to successfully take the next step, right off into the deep end. Security is an abstract, haunting and consistently beautiful piece of work that deserves just as much attention as its more accessible precursors.

1. The Rhythm of the Heat
2. San Jacinto
3. I Have the Touch
4. The Family and the Fishing Net
5. Shock the Monkey
6. Lay Your Hands on Me
7. Wallflower
8. Kiss of Life

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Previous Posts:
Peter Gabriel (Melt)
Peter Gabriel (Scratch)
Peter Gabriel (Car)


Peter Gabriel - Peter Gabriel (Melt) (1980)

"You know I hate to hurt you / I hate to see your pain / but I don't know how to stop"

The third Peter Gabriel album shows him retreating both from his past in Genesis as well as from the commercial, accessible sound that he embraced on his first two solo efforts. Melt is instead a dark, aggressive, unsettling album that tells stories of break-ins, political assassinations and intense mental decay. This release features his old bandmate Phil Collins on drums and backing vocals, and it's the first time Collins experimented with his gated reverb technique of pounding, punchy drums without any use of cymbals, which lends itself very well to an album like Melt. It also has Gabriel delving further into the realm of electronic rock music, which at the time was still in its infancy. Of all Gabriel's self-titled albums, this is easily the most coherent and consistent of the bunch. If you have to choose one to listen to, it should be Melt. If you're not convinced after listening to "No Self Control", well, you're a lost cause.

1. Intruder
2. No Self Control
3. Start
4. I Don't Remember
5. Family Snapshot
6. And Through the Wire
7. Games Without Frontiers
8. Not One of Us
9. Lead a Normal Life
10. Biko

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Previous Posts:
Peter Gabriel (Scratch)
Peter Gabriel (Car)


Peter Gabriel - Peter Gabriel (Scratch) (1978)

"I need perspective, I don't trust my eyes"

On Gabriel's second eponymous album, Robert Fripp moves up to the title of producer, and also plays guitar on half the tracks and uses his Frippertronics looping technique on "Exposure". While this record still likes to toe the line between prog and pop, it falls more often on the side of prog. Scratch is perfectly unfocused, meandering through rock, electronics, and even a little bit of reggae on "A Wonderful Day in a One-Way World", with Gabriel's obtuse lyrics managing to strike a personal chord - even if it's not one that you can quite put a finger on. It's not quite as accessible as its predecessor, but despite its experimentation and free-wheeling, it's still a pop album at heart, never passing up an opportunity to pull you in with a catchy hook or infectious keyboard rhythms, seen prominently in the closing of "White Shadow", which is the centerpiece of the album. All four of his self-titled releases are absolutely worth the time of day, but this one might just be my favorite.

1. On the Air
2. D.I.Y.
3. Mother of Violence
4. A Wonderful Day in a One-Way World
5. White Shadow
6. Indigo
7. Animal Magic
8. Exposure
9. Flotsam and Jetsam
10. Perspective
11. Home Sweet Home

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Previous Posts:
Peter Gabriel (Car)


Peter Gabriel - Peter Gabriel (Car) (1977)

"When illusion spin her net / I'm never where I want to be / and liberty she pirouette / when I think that I am free"

Shortly after leaving Genesis in 1976, Peter Gabriel recorded a string of four self-titled albums between 1977 and 1982, all of which are generally referred to by what image is on each of their respective covers; given the short length of time for that transition to take place, it makes sense that these albums (and this first one in particular) sound strikingly similar to Genesis's work during that period, but there are certainly pronounced differences. With the stigma of being part of a progressive rock band no longer hanging over him, Gabriel was free to make music that, while certainly having some of the trademark bombast of prog, as well as experimentation with electronic music (it was recorded by Robert Fripp, after all) and large orchestration, was remarkably poppy and concise for an artist who not too long before was writing massive rock operas. Depending on how you look at it, Car is either a brilliant example of accessible, digestible, yet still immensely respectable prog rock or a boundary-pushing pop album that still sounds fresh and resilient over 30 years later. Either way, it's not something you should pass up on.

1. Moribund the Burgermeister
2. Solsbury Hill
3. Modern Love
4. Excuse Me
5. Humdrum
6. Slowburn
7. Waiting for the Big One
8. Down the Dolce Vita
9. Here Comes the Flood

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Nada Surf

Nada Surf is a band that has been sadly overlooked for their entire career, save the success of a few scattered singles ("Popular" and "Always Love", mostly). They've been quietly churning out quality alt rock albums for over a decade, carried along by the commitment of their small-but-dedicated fanbase (they have far more listeners in Europe than in their own country, and do occasionally sing in French). This three-piece New York group started out as a powerpop, perhaps pop-punk setup with the release of High/Low, and while this sound always has a place on subsequent albums, they've largely shifted towards a more mellowed out indie rock style, with lush instrumentation and often sobering moods. Their lyrics are what attract many people; sometimes bordering on cheesiness but never sounding anything less than totally heartfelt, they bring a unique sincerity and a sense of maturity to an otherwise-typical sound.

Their masterpiece, as most people (myself included) will agree, is Let Go, which feels like a sister release to the equally-great Proximity Effect, and has tracks like "Killian's Red" and "Paper Boats" which would be classics in a better world. Their albums are all wonderful, however, and deserve a place in the collection of any music fan. I've gathered together what I believe to be an almost-complete collection of their work, including the final link which is just an unofficial thing I put together of some odds-and-ends, so this post should be helpful to newbies or longtime listeners. As always, don't forget to support this great band if you like what you hear.


"I'm only safe when I'm dreaming"
High/Low (1996)

"I still say your name when I don't feel right / just like I used to"
The Proximity Effect (1998)

"I'm just a happy kid / stuck with the heart of a sad punk"
Let Go (2002)

"Oh, fuck it / I'm gonna have a party"
The Weight is a Gift (2005)

"Everyone's right, and no one is sorry / that's the start and the end of the story"
Lucky (2008)


"Let's have a day outside for the lonely / they're gonna cry tonight"
Karmic EP (1995)

"We didn't know Jackie O"
North 6th Street (1999)

Live in Brussels (2004)

The Myspace Transmissions (2008)

Rare Tracks

Where is My Mind? (Pixies cover) (from "Always Love" single)
Born Curious (from "Always Love" single)
Popular (Live) (from "Deeper Well" single)
Everybody Lies (Acoustic) (from "Deeper Well" single)
Pressure Free (from "Popular" single)
Oh No (from "Popular" single)
Black & White (The Proximity Effect bonus track)
Why Are You So Mean to Me? (from original release of The Proximity Effect)
No Quick Fix (from European release of Let Go)
Run (Let Go bonus track)
Blue Monday (Live)
Popular (Acoustic)
L'aventurier (Indochine)

"And if I'm waiting for nothing / what am I doing?"