Peter Gabriel / Hit [2 Disc Collection] [Disc One]

HitPeter Brian Gabriel (born 13 February 1950) is an English singer, musician and songwriter who rose to fame as the lead vocalist and flautist of the progressive rock group Genesis.[1] After leaving Genesis, Gabriel went on to a successful solo career. More recently he has focused on producing and promoting world music and pioneering digital distribution methods for music. He has also been involved in various humanitarian efforts. Gabriel was awarded the Polar Music Prize in 2009. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Genesis in 2010.

The Analysis: Disc One

Solsbury Hill—-One of the most defining and pleasant songs from Gabriel’s solo career, this track features a remarkable acoustic guitar delivery that is matched perfectly by the bass beat in the back drop and the added strings. Gabriel delivers a stunning vocal and lyrics that are thought-provoking and storied. This is a remarkable example of the man’s genius!

Shock The Monkey—-One of the earlier singles from Gabriel’s solo career, this is perhaps known just as well for the video as the odder elements of the song. Even though this was an earlier single, the World Music obsession is all over this track as well…full of tribal beats and a jungle type feel. Gabriel sounds brillint….his voice doing all kinds of acrobatics as he sings the song and wraps it around all of the beats…this is fantastic!

Sledgehammer—-This was another of those songs that Gabriel released in his 80’s hey day that was combined with a brilliant conceptual video…finding a place in people’s memories for ever more. This, taken from the blockbuster So, was a huge worldwide smash for Peter. With great bass and percussion, the song is also delivered with a nice healthy dose of horns. Gabriel delivers a vocal that is slightly hoarse in sound…making it even more appealing for me…this is great to hear after such a long absence.

Don’t Give Up featuring Kate Bush—-Also taken from So, one would never think of pairing these two singers together…but it worked and the result was nothing less than pure beauty. The instrumentation is fantastic…a stark and beautifully layered delivery of guitar and slight World sounds….Gabriel matches his vocal with Bush perfectly…leaving you feeling lonely and desolate…just what music is meant to do…make you really feel.

Games Without Frontiers—-Another of those early solo singles that has a huge life. This song can still be heard on classic radio on any given day…although the sound of the song was much more progressive and new wavish for me. Again, this track includes some nice exotic noises, but it is the vocal that allows this song to live on and on. This hearkens back to the odder days of Genesis…reminding you of some of the odd costumes and characters that Gabriel managed to conjure up. The remarkable  thing is how timeless and fresh this still sounds….incredible.

Big Time—-This is another of those songs that was elevated to whole other level because of the remarkable video that accompanied it. Gabriel has an incredible mind and imagination and it shows in his videos. This is nice, but was a bit too overplayed for it to ever be a real favorite of mine…none the less, it is a pretty great single.

Burn You Up, Burn You Down—-With huge tribal drums and a vocal that seems layed over the top of everything, this has quite a nice instrumentation. The vocal at times is rather serious, but the chorus is a nice chant of voices that beefs up the track quite a bit. This is not a favorite, but part of Gabriel’s evolution.

Growing Up [Tom Lord-Alge Mix]—-Another of my very favorite tracks, this mix is sedate and even more serious than the original. The remixer gives the track a very swirly feel but as it progresses adds some nice heavy bass hits that allows for a bit of a livelier delivery. Gabriel delivers a wonderful vocal…singing in a most natural tone but still brimming over with emotion….just remarkable.

Digging In The Dirt—-With a nice shuffling beat and a fair bit of drums, Gabriel enters a delivers a vocal that is full of drama and flair. This is a pretty serious song…lyrically speaking, but Peter manages to entertain with his voice as it goes up and down…in and out and delivers all kinds of emotions in 4 minutes…nice!

Blood Of Eden [Radio Edit]—-This is very heavy on the World Music vibe…Gabriel delivers a vocal that is simply devestating..leaving you desolate and dripping in melancholy. The chorus is full of additional singers…delivering a nice flourish of a capella style African chanting that just adds to the overwhelming sadness of the song. This is just fantastic!

More Than This [Radio Edit]—-One of Gabriel’s treasures that never really got the attention that it my humble opinion. This could be so remixed and made into a huge dance single as well as being slowed and quieted some to become a tender and much more poignant track. This is just wonderful all the way around….

Biko—-A huge track, I believe this was written for the motion picture Biko…this tells a story and is really a piece of history in the whole Apartheid struggle. Gabriel delivers a vocal that leaves you exhausted by the end of the song…it is that emotional and raw. This is real and a subject that is dear to the heart of Gabriel….the man is a sheer genius. This remains one track that I can never get enough of! I love the line….”You can blow out a candle, but you can’t blow out a fire.”…powerful stuff!

Steam [Radio Edit]—-et another song where perhaps the video was as popular as the song itself…Gabriel continued to show his genius and versatility with songs like these mixed in between some pretty sedate and serious tracks. This has a wonderful instrumentation and shows the true range of Peters voice as he hits some really nice falsetto notes. Very nice!

Red Rain—-Returning to a more socially aware state of mind, Gabriel again delivers a track that will stick in your brain and drain your emotions all at the same time. This is an ode to the environment…when people could barely spell the word. Well, at least that is what the song means for me. This is remarkable…the instrumentation is huge…the sounds are incredible…but the vocal remains even and urgent.

Here Comes The Flood—-Stark and piano based, Gabriel again delivers a song that rips at your emotions and leaves you soaking wet on the floor…trying to come to terms with the heavy dose of lyrics that accompany the lone piano. This is remarkably beautiful…Gabriel sings in an unaffected and emotional way…that gets in your bones and leaves you with your head hanging…just fantastic.

****3/4 out of 5


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