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Scratch My Back CD


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Peter Gabriel’s new concert film “Back to Front – Live in London” will be released on 23 June 2014. Simultaneously made available on DVD, Blu-ray and DVD / Blu-ray Deluxe Editions this release captures the complete live performance of the “So” album from start to finish, and includes the classics: “Sledgehammer”, “Solsbury Hill”, ... Read more in Amazon's Peter Gabriel Store

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Product details

  • Audio CD (15 Feb 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: EMI Records
  • ASIN: B002XZMAJY
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 13,701 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. "I Think It's Going To Rain Today" is a very quiet and gentle piano led ballad focussing on the beauty of the lyrics and melody.
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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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2 of 2 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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69 of 79 people found the following review helpful By Red on Black TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 31 Jan 2010
Format: Audio CD
3.5 stars

I honestly wanted to love this album. Peter Gabriel is a national treasure and I am sadly old enough to admit to seeing Genesis at Bristol's Colston Hall in 1973 where Gabriel was mesmerizing. When I saw them next at Knebworth in 1978 he wasn't in the band and I preferred Devo (unlike the majority of the crowd!). Gabriel has always ploughed his own furrow and his development of WOMAD deserves a knighthood. He has a great sense of humour and his recent cover with Hot Chip of "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" by Vampire Weekend is a wicked gem.

"Scratch my back" is not just a covers album it's about song exchange with the different artists covered pledging to return the favour. I had hoped that Gabriel's album could do a "Joni Mitchell". When the great lady revisited her standards the mature reading that she produced through a voice that was no longer angelic but infused with a life of experience and backed by a stirring orchestra was superb. Songs like "Both Sides Now" sounded better than the originals.

Gabriel's covers are certainly well chosen and show impeccable taste (although "My Body is a cage" is a least favourite Arcade Fire song), the problem is that some work incredibly well while other fall flat. Thus Gabriel's version of Bon Iver's "Flume" for instance is workmanlike and misses the mark. His reading of Neil Young's "Philadelphia" never quite captures the quiet desperation and sheer sadness to be found on the original. When we finally get a cover like Radiohead's "Street Spirit" that is so radically reworked that it is almost unrecognizable to the original, you punch the air. The trouble is that it just does not work and is mournful and dreadfully dull. Indeed my dog gave me a dirty look when I played it!
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