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Tuesday, 1 October, 2002, 08:45 GMT 09:45 UK
Peter Gabriel's Up: Your views
Prog rock veteran Peter Gabriel has released his first album for 10 years.
It was recorded in various locations including France, Senegal and on a boat travelling up the Amazon.
"He returns in weird and sometimes wonderful form with an album of rich soundscapes and supple melodies," wrote the BBC's Nigel Packer.
But what do you think?
This debate is now closed. Please see a selection of your comments below.
Gabriel's work with Genesis was pretentious yet deserved respect. Solsbury Hill is one of the finest pop songs ever written. Big Time/Sledgehammer were refreshing numbers that inspired joy in the listener.
Gabriel's latest, however, is the new age, post-modern, psudo-liberal, world music rubbish that people are encouraged to like, however much it fails in every respect as popular music.
Excellent album. Real music unlike today's chart fare.
Worth the wait.
Ten years? It's as if the last 25 years had never happened.
Andrew Neave, USA
Well, nothing from PG will ever top his Genesis stuff like "The Lamb" but this one is quite good, for the tracks I've heard so far.
The single "The Barry Williams Show", far from being a pithy indictment of reality TV, arrived five years too late and makes PG seem out-of-touch.
Oh well, his next opus "I/O" (that stands for Input/Output) should be arriving within the next 18 months (that's 15 years to all us fans familiar with Gabriel's writing speed).
After waiting so long for Peter Gabriel's new album it was a worry that it would be a disappointment. But no, once again Peter has made an album that at its basic level will sink into your very soul after a few listens.
Peter is back to his best, it may be 10 years since his last album but it's been worth the wait. I doubt Phil Collins' new album will be as good as this!
Gabriel is at his best. Album is superb, makes you want a better sound system! Rich tracks full interesting sounds and layers - make sure you buy a copy for the car too!
Shahram Khan, USA
Brilliant. Love the modern King Crimson touches (presumably provided by bass player - Levin). Much darker, more emotional fare than his previous album, Us. Heard the songs for first time at an outstanding warm-up show in Milan. The album will always remind me of this unforgettable performance.
It's been such a long wait - the "forthcoming" album title was announced back in 1998! It had to be something special to avoid a tinge of disappointment. I'm not sure yet of its potential classic status, but it's like a cool drink of water in the otherwise scorching desert of popular music out there. Love him or loathe him, you won't hear the sounds he makes anywhere else. Not every song stands out, but there are many moments of magic and long-term and patiently-waiting fans will get their money's worth.
It is hard to believe that it took Gabriel a decade to complete UP. Some of the stuff works beautifully, and contrast and diversity certainly are an advantage of his album. But after listening to the CD more than just oncs, one craves for some simplicity. Technically perfect, emotionally charged as ever, but less pioneering than he used to be. Still a great album.
Sheer genius, it's been a long time coming. I've been through it three times now and, like all other Gabe albums, it's taken over my mind. I can't really hear any singles on it which appeal to me, I just hope enough people buy the album to convince the man to release another. This is definitely the best new album I've heard this year.
Phil Ruff, Manchester
With my hand on the play button and my heart in panic mode, I began the new album and my fears were quickly put to rest. The clean sound, the tremendous tunes and scary unusual moments have made this one of my favourite PG albums.
His concert presentation of these tunes should be fantastic.
Way to go Pete!!
Andrew Neave (see above) was correct in saying that just when you think you've hit the highlight of the album, something else comes along and shakes you even harder. For me, the best example of that might be hearing the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's vocals on Signal to Noise - that raises the hair on the back of my neck every time. Truly, listening to Up is a very personal experience; it can be a soundtrack to realisation, rebirth (as it has been for me), or whatever your soul might be in need of. In short, Gabriel's done well by the fans once again.
If you only listen to this once or twice, you will be disappointed, it is "difficult". But listen to it just a few more times and the full intensity and brilliance will begin to emerge. It really is absolutely incredibly good. Superlatives enough? Buy it! You will regret it at first. Then...
The CD doesn't seem like a progression of his last "proper" CD, entitled Us, which was a perfect marriage of his Last Temptation of Christ soundtrack and So. I guess with a 10 year gap, an audience will have to look quite far back in order to calculate progress.
For me the album soars during the slower movements of the collection, where one can be elevated to absorb every rasp of his voice, every layer of the song. Quite beautiful. It reminds me that I will always be a huge Peter Gabriel fan and hope that the next CD will arrive before my entire head turns grey.
From the blast off of Darkness to the landing The Drop, a hell of a ride! Masterpiece!
My speakers and ears have been craving something great this year. This fulfills the craving and leaves me satisfied that music can still be great and it wasn't me turning into Victor Meldrew.
On first hearing it reminds me of his previous best album (his third, the one with Games Without Frontiers on). Both can be tender, touching, rocking or downright scary by turns, often in the same song. He's a creative powerhouse, never content to retread his old songs or sound anything like whatever's fashionable at the moment. An old bootleg of his was called Expect the Unexpected which is what you have to do with such an original artist. It'll take a while to really get into Up, but it's clear he's still got the "Genius" option ticked on his creative software.
Ed Staines, United Kingdom
Just listen to Signal to Noise from this album. Beg, borrow or steal to get it. This is a gigantic anthemic piece of music sculpturing, you've just got to hear it, if this doesn't stir the deepest untouched emotions in you, then nothing will....
Gabriel's album suffers from "kitchen sink" syndrome. He must believe that if you throw enough things into the mix something bright and original will emerge. Unfortunately what you actually get is a World Music lite production as bland and unimaginative as the car commercials it will eventually become musical wallpaper for. He should chop off the novelty facial hair and go back to wearing flowers on his head. That strikes me as being as equally relevant a gesture as his new album.
Up isn't Gabriel's first album in 10 years despite what all the media coverage says - OVO was released in 2000.
At first listen I was a bit disappointed with Up. There were a few tracks that stood out but on the whole it was very hard going. After 30-plus listens.. this man is a genius. The power, the images, the different layers throughout all the tracks, build up over time and you suddenly realise what he is doing, or trying to say, and you realise, not for the first time, that this man is truly a genius. People that knock it are not hearing what's there.
If you're expecting another "Sledghammer/Kiss That Frog" type album, leave it alone (you'll probably think "TBWS" is great, although it does not belong on this masterpiece). If, however, you yearn for the early days of PG3 & 4, and Peterżs awesome strained, gut-wrenching vocals, and lyrics that make your stomach tighten and your eyes water then go and get this NOW! The sooner you have it the quicker you'll feel it.
żIżve got sunshine in my stomach, like Iżve just finished listening to UP.
By the way, it sounds brilliant on headphones.
UP is a mature album and shows to me some nods back to early Gabriel. On top of that, there is a contemporary feel to it too. You could imagine the feel of UP rather like an influence filter as there are many relations to his previous solo efforts. I love the seedy first track about how people can sometimes be controlled by their fears, Gabriel then gives hope in the almost epic Hours which probably took more work than the verses. This track brings back some of the magic that was missing from So and Us.
Even though the production is excellent, I get the feeling that UP is a bit rushed. Yes I know it took ages but I've been listening to Peter Gabriel for about 20 years and I think that some of the new songs will be less memorable. However, I've only listened to it twice so I'll give it the benefit of the doubt in the hope that it'll grow on me, as all the Gabriel albums I've listened to have a habit of doing.
Worth the wait! If you don't have UP, get it!
Marvellous. Welcome back!
My good friend purchased UP a few nights ago during a visit to Virgin in Los Angeles. What a great way to drive down Sunset Blvd - an awesome album, I'm soon off to buy my copy.
Comments that this is "world music lite", "background music for commercials" etc. are unbelievably inaccurate and downright stupid. You'll notice in the comments that are against this album a real sense of bitterness and hatred. Sad. Anyway, this album is breathtaking - my second fave PG album after Passion. There is genuine passion and emotion in this music, things devoid in so much of mainstream music and yet so integral to Peter's work. This album is better than So, or Us, without question. Essential.
A masterpiece that people will have to listen to and not just hear to enjoy. Not immediately catchy as usual with PG but so intense and totally genius. The best album I've heard for a long long time.
It is important to sit back, as has been said by others, and let this recording wash over you. It's so hard to judge UP this early, but in just three days it has called out to me to play it whenever I get the chance. Can't wait for the live show!
Like Ben Christie above, I immediately heard a lot of old Peter vocal phrasing. I was very pleasantly surprised by this because it was wedded so well with the new music. Many times it sounds gritty (this is intentional not an audio defect) and raw, but at other times soft and warm. I agree these are not groundbreaking songs, but as a whole it is the future of music, just watch and see...
Up is his masterwork and crowning achievement of years of endeavour, exploration, distilling ideas, synthesising subtle layers of sounds, and raw self-expression. There is not a whiff of pretension, of lifting fashionable jungle drums or "new age bandwagoning." This is an album crafted by a man who has reached the peak of his endeavours; the rewards for the listener are thought-provoking and thrilling.
It's also a damn fine rock record.
This is not popular music - thank God! It is, as I hoped, a work of rich depth and many layers. With Gabriel you always have work to do. He draws you in to every song and forces a response. Up is a wonderful collection of songs which will go on haunting and thrilling anyone prepared to listen. Thank you Peter for another example of true artistry and don't let it be so long for the next one yeah.
I'm listening to it for the fifth time while typing this. I have goosebumps everywhere.
You need to really listen and let go if you want to get into the music, a superficial listen will give you no satisfaction at all.
It needs the same kind of concentration as a symphony, which isn't a surprise. To me, the songs are structured as symphonies, layers of instrumental sounds making new melodies.
Albums of this kind are rare. Treasure it.
Rob Smith, England
Been a long time PG fan. All I can say is that the 66 minutes go by fast and like with nobody else I yearn to hit the play buton again to listen to just one more time.
Weird? A bit maybe but that's the way I like PG. Up or Down? I feel like the title goes a bit against the record's soundscapes.
Worth the wait? Mmmm, I think US was more appealing (to me of course) than UP, but still this is very good.......
I started listening to PG when So came out but actually think that most of the cues for this record come from his earlier work. Parts of it have the folksy sound of his prog rock era with Genesis and in other parts you can hear the rural Englishness of Solsbury Hill. I like Growing Up and don't see it as sub-Sledgehammer. Sky Blue starts like its going to sound over simple but actually adds layers and complexity. The Barry Williams Show even has Blur-like melodies supporting the chorus. Records of this scope and scale aren't made anymore and I'm having trouble getting my head around it but I'm enjoying the opportunity.
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