In 1986 Peter Gabriel, former lead singer of Genesis, released his groundbreaking album So. Already five albums into his solo career, So saw Gabriel producing songs more pop oriented such as “In Your Eyes” and the legendary “Sledgehammer”, which produced the most played music video ever on MTV. On September 24th, Peter Gabriel will bring that album back to the stage to play it in it’s entirety. The album, a fan favorite, is definitely one of his best both composition-wise and lyrically. Now remember this was the 80’s so there are lots of synths and electronic drums surrounded by that dream like production courtesy of producer Daniel Lanois (of U2 fame). But, aside from that, the music’s really good and damn if “Sledgehammer” isn’t catchy!
The first track “Red Rain” features syncopated drums over synths bringing you into Gabriel’s dreams, which he said was what he based the lyrics on. Then we go on to the aforementioned “Sledgehammer”, an upbeat world music like number that has an infectious melody and can definitely be described as a feel good moment on the album. The Kate Bush accompanied “Don’t Give Up” is next, a song describing hardship and struggle and the music perfectly provides that atmosphere, switching over to piano for the songs peak. “That Voice Again” follows and now were in full 80’s music mode but, Gabriel’s voice is so good it’s easy to overlook the cheesy production. The next track is “In Your Eyes” and any self-respecting John Hughes fan will know this song from one memorable scene involving John Cusack and a boombox. “Mercy Street” is one of my favorite tracks on the album, it possesses a very meditative feel, transcending you into a middle eastern atmosphere. “Big Time” was another up-tempo pop hit with the catchy line “I’m on my way/I’m making it”.”We Do What We’re Told”, a mostly instrumental track brings us into the contemplative mind set that closes out the album with “This Is the Picture”.
With the new surge of 80’s themed music, no doubt Gabriel’s So could regain some popularity among the younger generation. The album has such a great flow to it, moving effortlessly from song to song, I’m sure the live performance will be encapsulating. I wonder how Gabriel will handle the arrangements of the music considering music technology has come a long way since 1986. Will he bring a more organic feel to some of those processed instruments, giving himself the opportunity to play a great album but bring to it a new feel? One can only hope.
Catch this classic brought to life at one of Boston’s grand venue right here.
And here’s that famous video which took home 9 MTV VMA’s in 1987, a record that has yet to be broken.