Album Reviews of the 80s

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Peter Gabriel, "Peter Gabriel, 1980" / 1980 Review by: Javier
Given that PG's first four studio works were eponymous, this one, which some call PGIII and I call PG1980, is best known for its scarred face cover. It also contains some of the most forward looking music I've ever heard. The first thing that strikes one is the stylized drumming. Jerry Marotta and Phil Collins play in a bass and snare percussion style enhanced by drum machines (this is 1979, remember) which eschews cymbals. This is what later became known as the "Phil Collins drum sound" epitomized by Collins' "In The Air Tonight" and the Collins produced "There's Something Going On" by former ABBA siren Frida.

Thematically, Gabriel tackles obsessive and voyeuristic behavior ("No Self Control", "Intruder"), as well as political torture and assassination ("I Don't Remember", "Family Snapshot"). The two best known songs here are of course, "Biko", a touching memorial to South African human rights activist Stephen Biko, and "Games Without Frontiers". Musically this is a very well realized album, with contributions from Jam/Style Council leader Paul Weller, King Crinsom godhead Robert Fripp and backing vocals by Kate Bush as well as drums by aforementioned former Genesis bandmate Phil Collins.

The importance of this album is vast. It has influenced many an artist and the way that technology can be used to make good music. Arguably the best Gabriel album ever.

5 out of 5.

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