Peter Gabriel

Geffen Records, 1982

REVIEW BY: Michael R. Smith


Forced by his record company to give this album, his fourth solo release, a proper title (for a change,) Peter Gabriel chose just one word: Security. Free of excess, this disc only contains eight tracks – and every one of them is a winner, which is quite a rarity for any album. The first thing you notice here is how much clearer Gabriel’s voice sounds, a great improvement on his first three solo discs.

All the songs on Security seem to have an epic feel to them, especially the dark and intense opening number, “Rhythm Of The Heat.” With its impressive tribal drums, this track gives new meaning to the term “world beat.” Producer David Lord strips away nearly all the percussion on the following song, entitled “my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 San Jacinto,” which builds upon a foundation of New Age chimes. Next up comes one of my favorites, “I Have The Touch,” a dance track that is also one of Gabriel’s best B-sides.

Sandwiched between a pair of sparse-sounding experimental tracks is this album’s sole hit single, “Shock The Monkey.” The scary video for this song is certainly among Gabriel’s most memorable, though his award-winning clip for So’s “Sledgehammer” would come to eclipse it when released in 1986. Meanwhile, drummers everywhere will find “Lay Your Hands On Me” and “Kiss Of Life” of particular interest, and more daring listeners will appreciate the obscurity of “The Family And The Fishing Net.” If your tastes tend to lean to the safer side, there’s a nice piano ballad made just for you called “Wildflower.”

After this impressive effort, it only got better and better for this veteran music artist. Gabriel’s commercial peak still lay ahead, which would allow him to follow his own creative muse wherever it led him. He dabbled in film scores, became more involved in the design and execution of some stunning music videos and volunteered his time for an endless list of humanitarian causes. Taking a tip from Paul Simon, he later turned his RealWorld label into something of a New Age factory, churning out a number of instrumental world music albums, and was even a key player in engineering Donny Osmond’s unexpected comeback. Who would have ever thought something like that could happen?

As perhaps his most upbeat album, Security is a restless set of tunes that is sure to please virtually everyone. Like Dick Clark once said, it’s got a great beat and you can dance to it. You can only imagine what drummer and former Genesis partner Phil Collins must have thought when he first heard this material… time to step it up a notch, Phil.

Rating: A

User Rating: A



© 2008 Michael R. Smith and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Geffen Records, and is used for informational purposes only.