Our Music Year No. 275: Peter Gabriel, ‘Peter Gabriel (2)’

By From page A7 | October 02, 2013

Artist: Peter Gabriel
Title: “Peter Gabriel”
Year: 1978
Format: Compact disc
Grade: C+

With two prog titans such as Peter Gabriel and Robert Fripp teaming up, how could Gabriel’s second self-titled album go wrong?

It isn’t a flop, but it doesn’t deliver on the promise of its lineup. The former Genesis singer and King Crimson founder try to strike a balance between their prog ambitions and a pop sensibility with mixed results.

“D.I.Y.” and “On the Air” are standouts, but there are too many stretches in which “Peter Gabriel” – known by many as “2” or “Scratch” to distinguish it from other self-titled Gabriel efforts – doesn’t hit its aims.

This is as arty and ambitious as Gabriel’s solo output has gotten, parts of it matching the complexity and theatricality of his Genesis material. There’s no clear hit, making it something of a vanity project. When Gabriel made a best-of compilation a decade ago, not a single track from “Scratch” appeared.

If the aim was to make an accessible brand of prog – two ideas that aren’t necessarily running on parallel tracks, but have few crossing points – “Scratch” has to be seen as an admirable failure. It’s duly earned its cult status among Gabriel faithful, but to less-attentive fans, it’s inessential.

Our Music Year is Daily Republic popular culture writer Nick DeCicco’s yearlong online review in 2012 of albums he had previously not listened to. The reviews will appear in print on their corresponding days during 2013. Reach him at 427-6966 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ndeciccodr.

Nick DeCicco

Nick DeCicco

Nick DeCicco is the editor of the Tailwind and writes the pop culture blog/column For Those About to Rock. Before joining the DR staff in July 2007, DeCicco (pronounced Deh-CEE-Coh) worked at The Union in Grass Valley, Calif., and the Greeley Tribune in Greeley, Colo. A 2004 graduate of the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, DeCicco spends his free time attending concerts, listening to music, going to movies, traveling and hiking.

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