I'm a big Peter Gabriel fan, and panned his last effort at covering other people's songs with orchestration.
Three songs into listening to his new album, New Blood, there's an obvious smear on the album.
It lacks soul.
And it does so, I think, because Peter is being directed rather than directing. Or maybe it's because he's simply played these songs over and over through the years. I don't know, but it's stark and right out there.
Take The Rhythm of the Heat, the incredibly soulful first cut from his Security album. This new version lacks passion. It sounds rushed and disjointed. And Peter doesn't have the voice he had in his younger days.
It may be that I like the first version and am simply used to that. But that gets into another issue...
Artists get into dangerous territory when they take a perfect song and mess with it much. There are some songs you just don't cover because if you can't improve upon it, whatever you do looks pale against the original.
The only person I've heard who covered their own songs with orchestration and did it brilliantly is Joni Mitchell. She managed to actually increase the feeling in the remake. But not so here. It kinda feels like Peter found a new toy and wanted to show off with it.
I'm listening to In Your Eyes, and while the lead-in to the chorus is interesting musically, the verses are drained of the life in them. Put it this way: John Cusack wouldn't have held this song above his head trying to win Ione Skye's heart.
I came to like a couple of the songs from Scratch My Back, such as The Book of Love. I'm sure that I'll find a couple that I like here, but c'mon... some of this feels like a bad Glee impersonation.
I'm not accustomed to Peter being pedestrian. It's jarring.