Monday, July 30, 2012

187. So. So So

Album: So
Artist: Peter Gabriel
Genre: Pop
Year: 1986


  1. Red Rain
  2. Sledgehammer
  3. Don't Give Up
  4. That Voice Again
  5. In Your Eyes
  6. Mercy Street
  7. Big Time
  8. We Do What We're Told (Milgram's 37)
  9. This Is the Picture (Excellent Birds

It's possible listening to this album was the first time I've heard Sledgehammer without the accompanying images. The Video for the lead single from this album was one of Ardman Animations earliest achievements and it's always held up as one of the greatest clips of all time. Rightfully so. It's a triumph of pre-computer animation and hugely entertaining. It's so memorable I've always considered the song itself to be the soundtrack to the movie instead of the original source for which the visuals are just added eye candy.

Listening to Sledgehammer without anything except fellow commuters on my train to distract me I came to the conclusion that it's kind of annoying. It's a bit repetitive and wears out its welcome pretty quick. The good news is it's not nearly as irksome as the rest of the album which I found really kind of grating.

Gabriel is a talented guy but he's quirky. I don't mind quirky in small doses but So might be a bit too quirkified for my tastes. For a start he's included doses of Kate Bush who is The Quirk Queen and a bit of an acquired taste. There's something about that woman that just drives me the wrong way up a one way street. She sets my teeth so far on edge they leave my mouth and I can see them hovering a metre away grinding in agony. I know there are those who think Don't Give Up is beautiful but I find it a really difficult listen, not helped by the amazingly twee lyrics "Don't give up, we're proud of who you are".

So also suffers from some tragically dated eighties instrumentation. It's full of synths and processed beats and electronic boopery all of which anchors it firmly in the decade and bogs it firmly in the mire of eighties music. It's amazing to think that the next year producer Daniel Lanois would produce the timeless sounding Joshua Tree for U2 and not long after that would produce the revolutionary sounding Oh Mercy for Dylan.

I know I'm supposed to adore Gabriel as a genius but hearing So all the way through made me realise he's kind of irritating without the clever visuals to prop him up.

Highlight: Big Time
Lowlight: A feeling of disapointment

Influenced by: Lanois
Influenced: Future Lanoisness

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "Almost every single song on this CD is lush."

-That's probably true. I'm just not sure I want Lush in a CD.

-So. So? So So or so something else? Let me know below.

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