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Scratch My Back CD

108 customer reviews

Price: £17.74 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
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£17.74 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details Only 2 left in stock. Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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Product details

  • Audio CD (15 Feb. 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: EMI Records
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 68,143 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Heroes
2. The Boy In The Bubble
3. Mirrorball
4. Flume
5. Listening Wind
6. The Power Of The Heart
7. My Body Is A Cage
8. The Book of Love
9. I Think Its Going To Rain Today
10. Apres Moi
11. Philadelphia
12. Street Spirit (Fade Out)

Product Description

Product Description

Eighth studio album by the former Genesis singer. The album comprises cover versions of 12 songs by various artists, featuring only an orchestra and Gabriel's vocals. Tracks include: 'Heroes' (David Bowie), 'The Boy in the Bubble' (Paul Simon), 'The Power of the Heart' (Lou Reed), 'Street Spirit (Fade Out)' (Radiohead), and many more.

BBC Review

"It feels so unnatural / to sing your own name," sang Peter Gabriel last year, lending his voice to Hot Chip's cover of Vampire Weekend's Gabriel name-checking Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa. The point seems to have extended to singing his own songs, as he starts the new decade with a collection of beautifully recorded covers that renege on guitars and drums in favour of an orchestra arranged by The Durutti Column's John Metcalfe. Indeed, the ads for Gabriel's two nights at the 02 boast "No guitars! No drums!"

It seems he doesn't need them – the results here are stunning. 

Scratch My Back is the first offering of a two-part project. The second will be released later in the year and, as you might have guessed, will be called I'll Scratch Yours. On it, the artists featured here will return the favour on Gabriel tracks. It's a pop swap shop.

The result of this is that many songs here, like Elbow's Mirrorball, are fairly modern, and Gabriel rarely dips into the obvious rock canon (Heroes aside). And the sparseness of the arrangements around the singer’s tender vocals makes this a thing of beauty. During the chorus of Bon Iver's Flume he sounds close to tears as he wrings the words out. On Paul Simon's The Boy in the Bubble – originally an upbeat song – Gabriel takes the lyrical juxtaposition of poverty/modernity and milks the sadness that Simon had hidden. 

Metcalfe's arrangements are stunning, too – they mirror Gabriel's mix of whispers and howls on Arcade Fire's My Body Is a Cage and create a sense of loved-up optimism on the best track here, a woozy take on The Magnetic Fields' The Book of Love. They make everything sound movie-score epic – not too surprising given Gabriel's recent work on Wall-E and Rabbit Proof Fence. It also makes certain that's there's plenty to discover in each track even if, as is the case with songs like Street Spirit, you've heard them thousands of times in their original form.

The pop world has finally caught up with the WOMAD-founder's open-minded approach to music from near and far and, as such, it's surprising, fitting and pleasing that one of the most essential albums of early 2010 is his. Wonderful. --Will Dean

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Sue on 4 May 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I was a huge fan of Peter Gabriel in my youth, both as part of Genesis and in his solo career, seeing him live on many occasions. As life got more complicated I lost touch with his music, coming across it with pleasure now and then in film scores and at the millenium dome. And that's rather how I came upon this, recognising his dulcet tones in the sublime 'My Body Is A Cage' as background (fore and centre ground too, overpoweringly wonderful as it was) in an episode of House. I've had the album two weeks now and it grows more of a joy at each listen, new tracks becoming favourites with familiarity. Mirrorball is particularly heavenly, The Book of Love a delight, but most tracks illicit goose bumps. So here I am at 53, a Peter Gabriel fan once again. Utterly beautiful.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amillionmiles on 8 Feb. 2012
Format: Audio CD
Peter Gabriel has made his fans wait 8 years for new material. Although "Scratch My Back" is an album full of covers, the way the music has been arranged makes this release very original and daring and can be potentially classed as an album of new material as the songs are given a new life. The song choices are very bold and have been composed by some very reputable artists, but Peter Gabriel has never been the type of artist to compromise on his vision.

One of the highlights here is "Heroes" as it provides a majestic opening to the album with a full blown orchestra and powerful strings. "The Boy In The Bubble" is much gentler and emotionally intense with a simple piano and a gentle soothing cello playing in the background. This contrast of classical arrangements works in the context of this release. "Mirrorball" is another beautifully constructed song with intense and captivating string arrangements providing exciting variation in the melody. "Flume" represents the quiet before the storm with soft vocals from Peter in the verses and the use of his more plaintive tone in the chorus, helping to build the song to a crescendo. "Listening Wind" is very dark and sombre, adding magic and an element of bitter sweet passion so present in Peter's own compositions. "The Power Of Your Heart" has a very sentimental and spine tingling orchestral arrangement which suits Peter like a glove and is another highlight. "My Body Is A Cage" is another dark and atmospheric track which builds into a a mini symphony of sounds combined with deep hypnotising vocals. "The Book Of Love" is very endearing with a sweet melody and arrangements and ends up being the third highlight.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By The Prog Master on 1 Mar. 2010
Format: Audio CD
Listened to this several times now and it's really disappointing. I'm struggling to listen to the whole thing from start to finish without wishing to press the off button! The only tracks that really grab me are "Listening Wind" where we see Peter's phrasing at its best a la "Games Without Frontiers" and the beginning of "The Boy In The Bubble" where the words take on a whole new meaning. "Street Spirit" though is utterly dreadful (I've never been keen on the original either so what chance did PG have!) and "Mirrorball" fails to move me and is a pale shadow of the original. "Heroes" - poor, very monotonous, "Philadelphia" - listen to Neil Young's version instead, much better. A few of the others have started to grow on me - "Flume" especially gets better with each listen (the original is excellent but not as good as "Re: Stacks" by Bon Iver - what a wonderful song - anyone who has not heard this should give it a listen) as does "My Body Is A Cage" and "The Book Of Love" - so hope springs eternal!
This is by far the most dissappointing Gabriel release of his entire career in my opinion and I'm a big big Gabriel fan - I'm now pissed off with him for two reasons - his stubborness to reform the classic line-up and this, what is in the main "very depressing durge!"
The worse thing is I've paid the £150 to see him live at the O2, so have to sit through 2 hrs of this and the soundcheck too!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 24 Aug. 2011
Format: Audio CD
Bought this album on a whim, iv'e always liked Peter Gabriel's music. On first playing, I found the music a bit over orchestrated and samey and I wasn't that impressed. I was expecting to like Street Spirit (as the Bends is my Favourite album} but even that left me cold.
I played the album a few days later. "The boy in the bubble", and "Mirrorball" sounded quite nice, I then heard "The Book of Love" for the second time and my knees went weak, what a gorgeous song, it makes me feel so good. Every time I play the album it seems to get better. Flume is beautiful, "The Power of the Heart" "Philadelphia" lovely. There is not a bad song on the album. "Heroes" and "Street Spirit" are probablly my least favourites. But i'm sure i'll get to like them eventally. I have since bought "69 songs by Magnetic Fields (The book of Love) on the strengh of this Album- But thats another story.

Iv'e never written a review before, but I love this album so much. Please ignore the poor reviews, If you have given the Album a poor review Listen to it again, and again. You wont be sorry.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gordon Gillies on 27 May 2010
Format: Audio CD
Not many artists can claim to have had careers such as Gabriel's; from art/folk to progressive rock then on to solo success that always pushes the boundaries and, in particular, promotes world music to the west. At first sight, a covers album by Gabriel would seem to be beneath such a talent, but then that depends on what songs you choose and how well you cover them. Here we have a collection by Gabriel of songs by artists both internationally known and hardly known; of songs that are well known and some that are obscure; of some covers that remain partly faithful to their original to covers which sound almost like different songs from the original. Also, the idea of having a covers album of artist who will then go on to cover your material is a neat concept (hence: Scratch My Back - And I'll Scratch Yours). So, what is so wonderful about these songs then? A strong start with fairly well known Bowie and Simon covers (Heroes, Boy In The Bubble) slows down the pace of the originals and allows Gabriel's majestic vocal to come through on both. Then on to less well know territory, with covers of songs from (the much under-rated) Elbow and Bon Iver. It's difficult to just pick out one or two tracks to show the majesty of this album, as there is not a bad cover on here. But I'll try with three of them. Firstly, My Body Is A Cage (Arcade Fire) is a very powerful track, both instrumentally and vocally. Then the last two tracks offer a beautiful and haunting finish to the album: Neil Young's soundtrack song from the eponymous Philidelphia film (the beautiful) and Radiohead's Street Spirit (the haunting). So, well done to an original and expertly sung and arranged set of covers by a man who surely now must be regarded as a national treasure (which I'm sure he would hate the thought of). Here's one listener who is anxiously waiting on the companion album to be released.
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