Peter Gabriel

1986: Geffen 9 24088-2

  1. Red Rain
  2. Sledgehammer
  3. Don’t Give Up
  4. That Voice Again
  5. In Your Eyes
  6. Mercy Street
  7. Big Time
  8. We Do What We’re Told (Milgram’s 37)
  9. This Is the Picture (Excellent Birds)

I�ve loved this album since it came out but didn�t feel compelled to record any specific observations/thoughts until about 35 years later; it�s been appreciated enough in general, so promoting it as an overlooked gem wasn�t going to be the case and yet another celebration of it wasn�t needed. But then I realize the time had come when it might be worth chipping in my own bit.

As beautiful and uplifting as �Don�t Give Up�� is, I must emphasize that it�s in the song�s coda that I find the true core of the matter: that dark, almost grinding, deep sonic machinery through which the paired voices of hope struggle to shine. Cooing assurances are one thing: actually enduring those times as they continue to drag you under is quite another, and those who survive them are rare and toughened. Gabriel�s soundscape for the final section of this track is a grim and much-appreciated-by-me upfront reminder that the feel-good aspects of the song aren�t its whole.

In �Big Time,� which is cynically hilarious as well as entirely too true a representative of mid-1980s rather Trumpian material-obsession culture, the line that chills me most is �And my heaven will be a big heaven / And I will walk through the front door.�