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Peter Gabriel

So (vinyl)

Review by Gary Hill

While I prefer the previous Peter Gabriel album to this one, there is plenty to like here. I have to admit that I'm perhaps less than as enthusiastic about the two biggest hits, but the bulk of the album is very strong and prog oriented. I think most of this holds up well, too.

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Track by Track Review
Red Rain
This comes in dramatic and powerful, with a killer rhythmic structure. The vocals eventually join and deliver a lot of style and emotion. There are some funky vibes at times on this cut. This song still feels pretty fresh today, and it's one of my favorites from Gabriel.
With more of that funk element and a jazzy groove to it, this is one everyone knows. I'm not crazy about the soul vibe to this. It feels more like Motown than it does Gabriel to me. I know everyone loves this track, but I tend to think of it as the throwaway on the album, myself. It does have some good energy to it.
Don't Give Up
A duet with Kate Bush, this song is really sublime. It's a balladic number with overall positive energy and lyrical themes. The even more laid back parts that feature Bush's vocals really feel like it could be something from her solo catalog. The tune gets more pop rock oriented and less artsy as Bush's vocals continue to drive it and piano rises up. There is a Zen-like feeling to this in some ways. I dig the more rhythm section driven groove that takes over later a lot.
That Voice Again
The keyboard textures that bring this into being feel really 80s. When the rhythm section joins, though, this gets artsy and edgy. I like this one a lot, too. It has a nice balance between more powered up and mellower section. It has some dramatic proggy things at play, too.
In Your Eyes

I've always been a big fan of this tune. It has a lot of style. It's not a big departure from a lot of the music here, but it just works really well. It has some tribal elements and plenty of classic Peter Gabriel trappings.

Mercy Street
This cut is slower and mellower. It's no less dramatic. It has a very evocative vibe to it and some definite prog vibes.
Big Time
The other huge hit on this album, I like this one more for some reason. It's definitely more of a dance oriented tune, but it has some meat on its bones. I think it holds up better in the modern era, too. Tony Levin has some amazing moments on this thing, and there are some cool textures to this. There is definitely some funk at play, too. I do have to say that I'm not crazy about the backing vocals on this.
We Do What We're Told (Milgram's 37)
Artsy and percussive as it gets underway, this turns dark with the entrance of Tony Levin's Stick sounds. The cut builds outward from there with some non-lyrical vocals in the mix. It is decidedly proggy, but of a cutting-edge (at the time) variety. The first lyrical vocals come in as backing voices deliver the title. Eventually Gabriel brings us into the verse. This has such great atmosphere to it. There is just one verse here, and this really feels almost like an interlude. That said, it's so strong

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