Pays : United Kingdom Label : Real World Genres et styles : Auteur Pop / Chamber Pop / Pop / Prog Rock Année : 2023

Peter Gabriel – i/o

· par Alain Brunet

Peter Gabriel has built his legacy from Up , 21 years ago, his last good album, to this one. Since then, he’s toured with Up tracks, then with recordings of covers and other recycling of his own repertoire, then with a symphony orchestra, then with Sting and finally, last fall, with a concert marbled with previously unreleased songs – I’m told.

For a long time, I was a real Peter Gabriel fan, much preferring his solo career to that of frontman for Genesis, which I found too cheesy at a time when theatrical prog was taking its toll. An openness to cutting-edge technology, an inclination towards non-Western music (remember Youssou N’Dour’s participation in the tours following the excellent So album) and less romantic syrup had given Peter Gabriel perfect reason to leave Genesis to Phil Collins – a wealthy power ballad superstar before retirement, thank God.

After Up released at the turn of the century, however, Peter Gabriel had nothing left to say, except to manage his achievements… which, incidentally, is what most of the chosen few in ” classic ” pop and rock do. Nothing could have foreshadowed this double album – the same dozen tracks are available in “bright side” and “dark side” versions. But… since I’ve covered Gabriel many times and interviewed him in the past, I finally stopped resisting. After Up released at the turn of the century, however, Peter Gabriel had nothing left to say, except to manage his achievements… which, incidentally, is what most of the chosen few in ” classic ” pop and rock do. Nothing could have foreshadowed this new work. But… since I’ve covered Gabriel many times and interviewed him in the past, I finally stopped resisting to dive again in his (real) world.

This album is certainly the result of a great deal of hard work and a fine harvest of inner fruits. The vocals are impeccable. The arrangements and choirs are meticulous, in a chamber pop or post-prog style. The beatmaking is relatively adapted to today’s technologies. Some of the hooks are as effective as in the old days, most of the melodies silky smooth. The lyrics speak of healing through love, the quest for joy and other universal themes that the elders transform into mantras to better pave the way for the rest of their lives.

We couldn’t ask for more from Peter Gabriel, who, despite this unexpected burst of creativity, could have been hazing out the same songs with identical craftsmanship two or three decades earlier. Let’s wish him all the best for the future, and for his hundreds of thousands of followers. With a few exceptions, they won’t be shy to enjoy.

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