This is the high point of the solo career of former Genesis frontman Peter Gabriel. This was a massive record for him, in more ways than one, not just financially, but also critically, commercially and was well received by most listeners. It features a huge amount of co-stars on it as well, including the legendary singer (and Gabriel’s ex-wife) Kate Bush, amongst countless others to assist Peter Gabriel along the way. This should be a monumental listen and is a good snapshot of the 1980s musically, so let’s hear it. Legendary producer Daniel Lanois put this all together for Peter Gabriel as well.

Red Rain launches the album with hi-hats galore and some typical 1980s sounding instrumentation that simply sounds quite good. Peter Gabriel begins singing in a deep and soulful way and this is very good music. It is a good pastiche of 1980s Synth Pop with legendary piano, electronic drumbeats and some awesome melodies at hand. This is a sad melancholy ballad by Peter Gabriel, who sings in an almost Reggae like way, and this music isn’t a million miles away from The Police’s work in that respect. This is a very listenable and impressive piece of music, with a rather trippy midsection and some textural guitar parts to match this song. A great and soulful tune, Peter Gabriel sounds very humane and emotional singing along to this song. A sad and moving music to listen to, this sounds touching and excellent. The only real issue with this song is length, it could have been cut down somewhat. It ends with an extended outro and piano to match. Very dated musically, but quite decent to listen to. Still, this is good but a somewhat retro sounding tune. The vocal at the end is excellent, however.

Sledgehammer is the biggest song from the album. It begins with some East Asian sounding flute, which is marvellous. Soon enough, this launches into a 1980s post-Disco ballad. Again, this is a somewhat dated listen but the music does not disappoint. There are some nice and clean funky guitar parts that sound really awesome and smooth, along with keyboards and Peter Gabriel singing in a joyous and affirmative way. This is about being in love with another person who is mindblowing. There is a gorgeous horn section here as well, which sounds excellent. A great and fantastic listening experience, this music is really top and excellent to listen to. This is a better example of 1980s music, and the East Asian flute section returns in the second half in the instrumental break. A wonderful and tuneful listen, Peter Gabriel incorporates keyboards, Pop sensibilities and female Gospel vocals into a wonderful mix of sleaziness and desire. Definitely worth hearing, a great piece of music to listen to.

Don’t Give Up features Kate Bush. It is also over six minutes long. It begins with some interesting keyboards, guitar and bass guitar riffing and a sense that we have a special listening experience on this song. Peter Gabriel has a song present that is gentle, yet heartbreaking. It is allegedly about the desperate and poverty struck situations of the 1930s Great Depression and the Thatcherism that was prevalent in the UK at the time. Kate Bush’s voice is sympathetic and reassuring in the chorus, and she sounds really beautiful as a singer. A great listen about one of the core failures of Capitalism, although the lyricism is much more personal than what has been suggested lyrically. This is a smooth and gentle melodic digital ballad that works very well. Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush may have had their ups and downs, certainly much of the latter around this time, but this is a song of strength and beauty. Peter Gabriel’s falsetto is magical and different and will take one elsewhere. A strange listen but one of sadness and despair, this is an underappreciated listening experience. Indeed, Capitalism has not done a huge deal of good to people on an individual basis who are poor and hungry. There is some really great bass guitar work and some intricate melodies towards the end, just as this piece wraps up well with subdued vocals in the background. Great song.

That Voice Again begins with 1980s keyboard and piano, launching into a weird and not-so-good piece of 1980s music. The drumming here is quite good but from the outset, this is a pretty meh listen. Peter Gabriel judges himself, quite literally, about relationship issues. A sad, strange and image evoking tune, this is very picturesque in an odd way. This is a good piece of music but by no means a great song from what is here, it is more typical of the trashy 1980s mainstream music here. In any case, it’s listenable but not hugely so. An interesting and deep tune, this rather lengthy song could also have been edited. Peter Gabriel does deliver a good listening experience when the mood strikes you. “I want you close, I want you near…” sings our main man before breaking into a sustained vocal delivery towards the end of this song. Heartbreak in relationships is never a positive thing, and this song proves that. It’s okay, but rather lengthy.

Mercy Street begins with some eerie keyboards, the likes of something out of a science fiction film. This launches into a strange and emotional sounding piece of music that is primarily instrumental driven. Brushed percussion and bongos are here as well. This is a pretty and also digital piece of music that sounds better than expected, and the music at hand is good for what it is. It is very textural but something deep and interesting to listen to as well. A deep and strange listen, this music is very typical of the 1980s. There are layered vocals present which sound really excellent and divine here, and the music is very deep. A keyboard solo is present here, and this piece does sound very interesting. A cool listen, Peter Gabriel does very awesome and accomplished musically on this record. With lyrics referring to different types of dreams and other things, this is a very tripped out and pretty tune to listen to in a lyrical sense. The sounds and textures towards the end are amazing sounding and is genuine proof of the amazing sounds that can occur on this rather patchy record. It does sound very low, moody and tripped out, but Peter Gabriel does exceptionally well at this type of artform. A bit long, this should be less than six minutes long. But it is not. A good listen, but not a great listen.

Big Time features The Police drummer Stewart Copeland. It’s obviously a critique of USA based Capitalism, rather than a statement of selfishness. Hence the title of this track. It was also featured in the awesome movie that railed against the GFC-based USA Capitalism, The Inside Job, which was released in 2010. This is a joyful and exciting listen despite its political overtones and is about moving from smaller towns to bigger cities to join the rat race and get fat and rich. Of course, everyone in the world wants more money, and this song satisfies human nature for selfish greed and money. The chorus in particular is great, with some great gospel vocals and cleverly made sounds and playing. A wonderful and upbeat tune, although the lyrics are very dark and cynical. “…and my heaven will be a big heaven, and I will walk through the front door…” is a great lyrical line about the dark nature of the so-called American dream. In any case, this is a great song and is shorter than the other songs on this album.

We Do What We’re Told (Milgram’s 37) is a shorter piece of gorgeous electronic sounds and electronic drumbeats to match. This sounds very mysterious and different, and the whole piece is proto-Ambient music sounding EDM. Soon enough, this launches into a very 1980s sounding tune that is really decent and interesting to listen to. A good mixture of sounds and textures, this isn’t really song like and is much more textural and deep instead. A strange tune with a looped section of harmonies with the song title present, this is rather weird to hear. Peter Gabriel sings towards the end in a World Music sort of way before this song concludes after three minutes or so. Very good.

This Is The Picture (Excellent Birds) begins with some eerie synth strings, some strange percussion and Fender Stratocaster sounds. Soon enough, this launches into another rather funky and textural piece of music that sounds very different to much of the music being released today. Regardless, this is quite an interesting and decent piece of music that, although not really song based, is catchy and textural to hear. A very fresh and different listening experience, this is where Pop and Electronic music met in an almost perfect moment. A very good listen nonetheless, this music is sensationally interesting. There are some great Fender Stratocaster mid-position guitar parts in this song and is lyrically interesting about people revolting. Seemingly, there is a bit of a political message throughout So, and this song is no different. This album still sounds great to this day, and this is one of the better moments from it. Kudos, dude.

In Your Eyes is the last song on this album. It’s a digital ballad extraordinaire and sounds interesting and fresh from the outset. The irony that Peter Gabriel was experiencing a major divorce around this time points to the music at hand, and he sings about running after a lover. Another very good listen, this music is a fine and awesome listen about male-to-female love. This is a lively and pretty tune that sounds really awesome and gorgeous throughout. Sure, the sounds on this album are fairly dated today, but this does sound very fresh and somewhat unique in its own way. This digital love ballad sounds really interesting and fantastic, the music from within Peter Gabriel’s soul is set to the record, and if you have ears, you definitely should listen to this song, and album too. Some chanted lyrics towards the end are heavily romantic and loving, and this ends a very good album with some different and fresh sounds. Some African chanting is at the end of this song, just as it wraps up nicely. Excellent music.

Peter Gabriel has made quite a good album to listen to here, and although some of it is fairly dated today (reverberated drums, world music influences and lengthy songs), this is still worth exploring. Should you hear this album? Of course, particularly if you need a good slice of Synth Pop and a good excuse to brag about how wonderful the music of the 1980s was. This is extremely good music and was a favourite of Eddie Van Halen’s. Do listen to this when you get a chance, it’s thoroughly enjoyable.

Awesome and different.