Classic: Peter Gabriel, 3, 1980
Peter Gabriel achieved something that many strive for, but little succeed to. While once the singer of successful symphonic rock band Genesis, he managed to launch a solo career that has turned out even more successful. And the best thing is, he did it on his own terms! He has not released a gigantic back catalogue, choosing quality over quantity, but all his records are a worthwhile addition to any collection. And don´t be put off by the progressive tag, many pop lovers will dig this stuff as well as it is very accessible in many ways.
For me, his third outing is a pivotal record. The prog roots are still there, but there is more pop popping up, as are the more ethnic sounds he would later be associated with. Yet he manages to maintain artistic integrity and choose an often synthesised sound on many instruments. This lead to an unique experience where his music transcended beyond his magical voice alone. No mean feat!
The opening bunch of songs like Intruder, No Self Control and I Don´t Remember set the mood with that spellbinding spheres and catchy melodies. Next is one of the most intense tracks I know of, Family Snapshot. Goose bumps every time I hear it. A fantastic lyric that will fool many. But the delivery, both vocally as musically is unsurpassed on an emotional level. The only way to follow such a masterpiece is with a rocking work out, in this case And Through The Wire, with it´s odd time signatures the perfect lightning rod to the second part of the album. Games Without Frontiers features a young Kate Bush (her French lyric of the title is often misinterpreted as she´s so funky yeah) and is another instant hit. Not One Of Us is vintage Gabriel with heavy sound processing. Lead A Normal Life, is beautiful with its extensive use of marimba´s and a simple but effective piano.
Album closer Biko has since become the international anthem against racism and rightly so. The use of original African vocals and stuff has since been copied by many, but no one comes close to the impact of the chorus on this thing. Timeless.