Vote now in the 2021 Best of San Antonio Readers Poll.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Scratch My Back

Posted on Wed, Feb 24, 2010 at 4:00 AM

click to enlarge music_cd_petergabriel_cmyk.jpg
Scratch My Back
Composer: Peter Gabriel
Conductor: Peter Gabriel
Label: Virgin
Release Date: 2010-02-24
Rated: NONE
Genre: Recording

Throughout Peter Gabriel’s long career — first as the camouflaged frontman and creative catalyst for Genesis, and then in his often groundbreaking solo work — he’s been one of rock’s most original artists. Whether penning elaborately plotted and executed suites and rock operas (“The Return of the Giant Hogweed,” “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway”) or reordering ideas about pop music and videos (“Sledgehammer,” “Big Time”), Gabriel has been among the leaders in an industry noted for pack behavior. That’s why it might seem strange for Gabriel to do a whole album covering other artists’ material, as he does here. But Gabriel’s genius is revealed at every level on Scratch My Back, from the unexpected artists he chooses to the way he reconstructs these songs to suit his concept. Original versions are often abandoned as Gabriel interprets those songs from the ground up, rearranging the music for piano and orchestra — no guitars or drums — and completely retooling the vocal melodies for a collection of songs that bear the loosest resemblance to the original tracks. Stripped of its bouncy backdrop, Paul Simon’s “The Boy in the Bubble” exudes more emotional resonance, “Power of the Heart” proves to be one of Lou Reed’s most tremulously affecting love songs, and the Arcade Fire’s “My Body Is a Cage” is a quietly swelling revelation. Gabriel leaves Magnetic Fields’ “The Book of Love” and Randy Newman’s “I Think It’s Going to Rain Today” largely intact, deciding not to tinker with perfection and merely adapting the songs to his purpose. Scratch My Back may be Gabriel’s most impressive solo accomplishment, simply because it’s an album that reinforces his originality through his vision of other artists’ work. — Brian Baker

Tags: , ,

Support Local Journalism.
Join the San Antonio Current Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the San Antonio Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

June 16, 2021

View more issues

Newsletters

Join SA Current Newsletters

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Calendar

© 2021 San Antonio Current

Website powered by Foundation