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Peter Gabriel 1: Car (Remastered)

Peter Gabriel

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iTunes Editors’ Notes

Peter Gabriel left Genesis behind because, for any artist with a wild imagination, it becomes impossible to actualize your ideas when other people’s input is as valid as your own. Judging by the direction Genesis eventually took, it was essential for Gabriel to establish his own space far away from the mainstream pop that the Phil Collins–led version would come to define. The first Peter Gabriel album—now known as 1: Car—is an interesting excursion into Gabriel’s new world. “Solsbury Hill” is the undeniable masterwork, a track where Gabriel’s lyrical poetry is met head-on with instrumental passages that mirror its emotions. “Modern Love” takes on a punkish energy without losing its artsy balance. “Slowburn” and “Here Comes the Flood” (in a version Gabriel would late claim was too busy) come close to actualizing the impact he was searching for. The remaining tracks wander far and wide. The doo-wop/cabaret elements of "Excuse Me” would’ve sounded at home on a Randy Newman album, while “Humdrum” settles into a subtler hypnotic mix. The late-night bar jazz of “Waiting for the Big One” works a seven-minute vamp.

Customer Reviews

Gabriel back to basics

After the bloated pomposity of "Lamb Lies Down," which was pretty much a snooze and a fiasco (both on record and on stage), Gabriel and Genesis kinda had to split -- their once glorious moment had definitely passed -- and in their separate ways they both stripped things down. Genesis became a sucky pop band that spun off the incredibly sucky Phil Collins solo career, and Gabriel came back with this LP. It's a mixed bag. Some tracks sound like Genesis songs that never got recorded -- especially the mediocre "Moribund" and "Slowburn," which already sounded mortifyingly old-hat in '77, and the more majestic "Flood" and "Humdrum," which were Genesis-y but in good ways. Then there are poppier-rockier tracks that anticipate the Shock the Monkey/Sledgehammer Gabriel, like "Modern Love" and "Dolce Vita." Not great, not terrible. A couple of tracks can only be called filler -- "Excuse Me" and "Big One." And then there's the one enduring hit, "Solsbury Hill," one of Gabriel's best, most uplifting and anthemic songs ever, and yet, surprisingly or not, one of his simplest and least fussy. Wow what a song. A huge Gabriel fan at the time, I gave this LP a lot of chances to win me over, but pretty soon "Solsbury Hill" and "Flood" were the only tracks I went back to, and today "Solsbury" is the only one that survives for me as still a great Gabriel song. So in my book it's at best a three-star album, with one ten-star song on it.

First masterwork down, plenty to go...

I was skeptical when I ran out of old Genesis albums to work through, afraid that Peter Gabriel would have completely moved on from the epic progressive rock he made with his former band. And he did, but he did it in all the right ways. Peter Gabriel (Car) set the bar for the rest of his work, and ensured that he was as artistically creative and restless as ever.

The album starts off with the intense "Moribund The Burgermeister", which retains the flavor of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, while alloting more room for experimentation than Peter ever had before. Next up is the classic "Solsbury Hill", a track that explained at last Peter's reasons for leaving Genesis. On the rest of side 1, Peter dabbles in punk rock ("Modern Love"), barbershop quartet-esque material ("Excuse Me"), and an odd amalgamation of Spanish music and prog rock ("Humdrum"). Side 2 opens up with "Slowburn", a stirring rocker that again evokes Lamb-like images through its sheer firepower. "Waiting For The Big One" is oddly jazzy, whereas "Down The Dolce Vita" comes off as a fusion of an operatic film score and more driving rock. "Here Comes The Flood" is the final track, and the perfect way to end the album. It is amazing in it's ability to conjure up images of the end of the world, and though Peter would later rearrange it into an acoustic version (he dislikes the version here), it lacked the power and beauty of the original.

This album is essential, and is the perfect gateway into the brilliant solo career of Peter Gabriel. It is essential listening.

The best versions...

The remakes of any of these songs are infinitely inferior...


Born: February 13, 1950 in London, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

As the leader of Genesis in the early '70s, Peter Gabriel helped move progressive rock to new levels of theatricality. He was no less ambitious as a solo artist, but he was more subtle in his methods. With his first eponymous solo album in 1977, he began exploring darker, more cerebral territory, incorporating avant-garde, electronic, and worldbeat influences into his music. The record, as well as its two similarly titled successors, established Gabriel as a critically acclaimed cult artist, and...
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