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Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
3.0 out of 5 stars
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on 4 October 2013
I was looking forward to this album tremendously, but worried by what I'd heard from some of the EPs. Gabriel's approach had guaranteed some very high quality participants, and it's the very fact that these are A-listers that makes this mixed bag of an album a bit of a disappointment. (Notable absentees are Radiohead - a bit nobby of them, really.)

High points are David Byrne's retro-funk version of I Don't Remember - he makes the song his own; Bon Iver and Regina Spektor's presentable covers of Us-period tracks; and Elbow's version of Mercy Street, which manages to sound minimalist without sounding like a knocked-off demo. I love Randy Newman, so I'll give Big Time a pass, but it seems a bit half-hearted, as does Paul Simon's Biko.

Low points include Eno's very odd reworking of Mother of Violence. I assume they're mates, so I'm not sure why you'd take a friend's pleasant, lilting song, and turn it into a tuneless drone. Drone also covers Shock The Monkey, by Joseph Arthur, who at least is faithful to the tune. And Feist manage to ruin Don't Give Up by mucking up the structured rhythms of Gabriel's lyrics ... he worked on the scansion for a reason, and Feist ignore it completely.

But if you hate someone - I mean, really, really dislike them - play them Lou Reed's god-awful assault on Solsbury Hill. It's very nearly unlistenable. He abandones the tune, and the heavily-distorted guitar over a funereal tempo leaves the whole thing in ruins - to the extent you wonder if it isn't just an eff-off to Gabriel.
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on 2 March 2014
What an earthbound, disappointing album this is. Perhaps (as others have pointed out) it's partly because Gabriel has recycled his own material once too often, but there's more to it than that. The album feels disjointed, a real dog's breakfast and it doesn't really improve with repeated listening. There are some odd good songs - Mother of Violence reworked in an extraordinary way by Brian Eno is an example, but otherwise it feels really thin and as if most of the artists were going through the motions.
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on 21 June 2014
Nice idea but not very thrilling results. Elbow, Fiest, Arcade Fire and Joseph Arthur are superb. Randy Newman, Paul Simon and Brian Eno are great. Stephen Merritt, Lou Reed, et al - ho hum. Of course the best aspect of this is you really understand how great Gabriel's songwriting is despite the humdrum efforts of some of his 'heroes'.
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This album is a sort of repaying of the compliment by many of the artists whose songs Peter Gabriel covered on his Scratch My Back album in 2010. Whatever you thought of that album (I wasn't all that keen) I'd suggest giving this a try. It's very well worth hearing and there's some great stuff on it.

I really like hearing other takes on familiar Peter Gabriel songs, partly because they are so familiar and a new version really makes me listen to what the song is about again. There are also some genuinely excellent performances here, although which ones you think they are will probably depend on your personal taste. For me, the distinctively Bon Iver version of Come Talk To Me, Paul Simon's largely acoustic Biko and David Byrne being David Byrne in I Don't Recall stand out, and both Arcade Fire and Elbow surprised me by producing really good versions of Games Without Frontiers and Mercy Street respectively. You may disagree with all of that, of course. Similary, lots of listeners will probably love Lou Reed's version of Solsbury Hill, whereas I think he utterly murders a beautiful song which has meant a lot to me for three decades and more. You'll have to form your own judgement.

It's hard to give an overall rating; although there are some poor tracks, there's a lot of really first-rate stuff here and I've given it four stars on that basis. I would urge any Peter Gabriel fan to try this. You'll probably love some tracks and dislike others, but I reckon it's well worth a try and there are a lot of tracks here that I will be playing for years to come, I suspect.
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on 31 October 2013
The idea is a sound one; have many artists pick a Gabriel track and re-record it in their own style. In reality though the versions generally feel thrown together as if they were something each artist did in an afternoon as this project was 3 years behind schedule. This works for some tracks, Paul Simon's take on 'Biko' with little more than a 12-string acoustic sands up well while other tracks are less interesting.
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on 24 September 2013
It's tough doing a cover. If you're too faithful to the original, you're adding nothing to it as a song, merely aping the original artist. On the other hand, if you're too 'out there', it can outrage the original's fans or simply just sound as if you're being perverse, outre for outre's sake. So, the artists here have a tightrope to manage and, unfortunately, I think most of them fall off on one side or the other. Elbow, Arcade Fire, Feist, Joseph Arthur all seem to be too timid, too faithful to the originals. While Lou Reed, Brian Eno and Stephin Merrit have been braver, they're just not that good. And the Paul Simon version of Biko (I had high hopes for this one) has turned an angry protest into a rather feeble lament. I think some are successful, David Byrne, Regina Spektor, but most have fallen. Still, I hope that Peter Gabriel's happy with the results.
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VINE VOICEon 15 November 2013
It's alright inasmuch as it is Peter Gabriel's music but I was a little disappointed with some of the tracks, I felt some of the compositions weren't suited to the artists and they consequently sounded a little off their best. Overall it's disappointing and could have been better!
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on 20 October 2013
This world needs new music with new ideas and many reasons to buy a CD. Here there is nothing. Peter please stop with these exercises and have a look around; there are a lot of good artists, good bands and good music, so why something like that? Many geniuses (Bowie, Mc Cartney, Paddy Mc Caloon) came back with good music with love and passion. I normally choose who can scratch my back and this time it's not you!
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on 13 November 2013
Love it and have told all my friends to buy it. Shock the monkey and mother of violence are particuary good
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on 1 November 2013
I thought this cd was absolutely terrible, it was so bad I sent it back to Amazon, to say I was dissapointed is an understatement!
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