Monday, November 22, 2010

Music Review: Peter Gabriel -- Melt (1980)

Full article first published as Music Review: Peter Gabriel – Melt (1980) on Blogcritics.

Here is a brief excerpt for your dining and dancing pleasure:
From a compositional standpoint, the idiosyncratic Gabriel hasn’t merely chosen the path less traveled, he’s clear-cut a gaping glade clean through the forest. Whether as the outrageously caparisoned frontman and storyteller of Genesis, or as a visionary solo artist delving into world music and visual media, Gabriel is not only singing from leftfield, he’s up in the nosebleed bleacher seats with the field barely visible below. And it is precisely because of the unconventional vocals, the quirky beats, the irregular time signatures, and the unorthodox subject matter of Peter Gabriel’s third solo release (popularly christened Melt) that makes it an essential listening experience.

You have to hand it to Gabriel. With the release of Melt in May of 1980, he came out with one of the best albums of 1980s only six months into the decade. It is certainly on par with other stellar releases from the period, such as U2’s Joshua Tree, Paul Simon’s Graceland, Talking Heads’ Remain in Light, or Gabriel’s own So album from 1986. But whereas So was more commercially successful (with the MTV hits “Sledgehammer” and “Big Time”) and far more huggable for the masses (don’t we all get nostalgic when we hear “In Your Eyes”?), the thorny Melt pricks one’s sensibilities and is satisfying from a visceral standpoint, with a psychological depth and intensity to the storytelling few albums from the 80s could match.

Bon Appétit!

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