This Is Peter Gabriel’s Road

peter gabriel with goateeThis is the Road (2.4 MB mp3) is a new song Peter Gabriel is releasing for free. (Update: no longer appears available on their site.)

It’s a nice little ditty. Almost all his singles (tunes not on albums) are exceptional: Party Man, Quiet Steam, Lovetown; plus there are his alternative versions of I Have The Touch and other classics. Gabriel fans should track them down; they’re worth it, though it’d be nice if he released them all in a collection.

2 Replies to “This Is Peter Gabriel’s Road”

  1. Peter Gabriel’s most interesting music is the stuff that doesn’t make it on his albums (or it used to be): E.g., ‘Don’t Break This Rhythm’, ‘Curtains’, ‘In Your Eyes (African mix),’ ‘Blood of Eden (film version),’ ‘Here Comes the Flood (Fripp version)’ — even ‘Shosholoza,’ which is mostly a looped location recording of some African tribesmen chanting, but is still a powerful track. Hunting down these obscure recordings was usually worth the effort. Pop songs like ‘Big Time’ could be forgiven, because the stuff that didn’t appear on his albums was so good and so innovative.

    Then sometime in the 90s he got soft, began releasing weaker versions of songs that would have been better left alone (e.g., 1990’s ‘Here Comes the Flood’ compared to the definitive version which appears of Robert Fripp’s Exposure album); he began handing over his sessions tapes to outside “producers” for remixing, giving us clubhouse remixes of ‘Mercy Street,’ and so on. Peter Gabriel’s personal touch was gone, and I began tuning out. Having a couple silly pop songs on each album was tolerable, because it was mainly those songs that paid for his Real World studios — which is about the coolest studio for world music on the planet. But ‘Kiss That Frog’ was an embarrassment, and it wasn’t long afterwards that I stopped hunting down the obscure songs, and stopped paying for his records.

    I got a promo copy of his latest album, Up, and I’m glad I didn’t pay for it. I don’t know what he was thinking with his reworking of ‘Signal to Noise.’ The original recording with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was a powerhouse. Now it sounds like an overwrought melodrama — which seems to be Peter Gabriel’s bread and butter these days. This free song isn’t any different. I hear it and say, ‘Oh, yeah, sounds like Peter Gabriel,’ but it’s not something I’d pay money for. Come on, Pete, get back to your roots! Stop working on ‘projects’ and make some music like you used to. Give me a record I wouldn’t mind paying for. What do you say?

    (I address Peter directly because I happen to know he’s a regular reader of Steel White Table.)

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