my music listening habits would annoy most people. i tend to listen intently to one artist, over and over again, until i wear them out. this spring consisted of: Florence and the Machine, The Smiths and Gillian Welch. right now i am in a Peter Gabriel phase.

can we talk about So? i was listening to it tonight. i had to actually stop working in the studio to come upstairs to write about it.  it is a brilliant album. why? i will tell you.

figure 1: Red Rain. figure 2: Sledgehammer. figure 3: Mercy Street (possibly my favorite song of all time). figure 4: Your Eyes (as close to an “our song” that D and i have). figure 5: Big Time. figure 6: Kate Bush. figure 7: Laurie Anderson. figure 8: Tony Levin’s bass on Sledgehammer (which, to coin an infamous phrase from my friend Philip Raath, is “like tapping on a girl’s clit”). figure 9: Gabriel’s voice. despite being a relatively young man when it was recorded, his voice has this beautiful maturity and age to it.

and on and on.

the lyrics in Mercy Street are incredibly evocative. every time i listen to it i discover a new shade and nuance i hadn’t seen before. these especially, today:

 looking down on empty streets, all she can see
are the dreams all made solid
are the dreams all made real

all of the buildings, all of those cars
were once just a dream
in somebody’s head

the one thing i love about Peter Gabriel’s music is it is unabashedly emotional. in a music world largely dominated by a certain kind of irritating male ego, Gabriel is a man naked with his feelings, about his need to be loved, open about his fears and particularly clear-eyed about his shortcomings as a person.

you should really listen to this album. for serious.



  1. philip raath

    Lovely post… I’ve also had SO on repeat lately, on vinyl, which is a whole new world of texture. I’ve come to rethink my previous characterization of Tony Levin’s bass line on Sledgehammer as “gently tapping on the clitoris of my soul…”.

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