Peter Gabriel was what I guess I’d call a “musical acquaintance” through my teen years; I didn’t have any of his records early on, but one of my friends was a big Genesis fan and had continued on with collecting Gabriel’s solo works. So while not a collector, I enjoyed the music.
But the 1992 album, Us, changed things for me in a big way… really don’t recall how I came across it, but there must have been a strong impulse to get it. I frequently played it in my home, its songs all representative of what I’ve since grown to see in Gabriel’s life and work: talent, creativity, heart, soul and conscience.
The record moves from strong beats to rich, sensual melodies and is one of those albums that is best listened to in one sitting. (BBC Sounds celebrates and promotes this notion through National Album Day, which they mark on October 12.)
In the CD liner notes, Gabriel writes that most of the songs on the record are about relationships; he dedicates it to those from whom he has learned about loving and been loved by, and those whose love he didn’t properly acknowledge. Maybe it’s the latter sentiment that inspired “Come Talk to Me,” the opening track of the album, which also was the opening song in his Secret World Live concert DVD. During a duet, Gabriel (from a brilliantly staged phone box) and singer Paula Cole plead to each other, “Come talk to me.” It’s one of the most remarkable videos of a live performance that I’ve seen; truly evocative, emotionally stirring, and not unlike my own feelings about some of the relationships throughout my life.
“I said please talk to me
Won’t you please come talk to me
Just like it used to be
Come on, come talk to me”
(from “Come Talk to Me,” by Peter Gabriel)
The album cover, a photo of a suited Gabriel on a red background with the veiled and ghostly figure of a woman before him, is haunting. The visual effect around his arms makes it look as if he is trying to fly toward her.
Now you know a little about why this is my song of the day for today. Please enjoy.
(The Youtube link I’ve provided is to the live performance; click on the video’s settings and select 1080p for best resolution and sound. It’s not an official version… so, predictably, I say: if you like it, buy it. The DVD is a worthwhile purchase giving a front-row perspective on a rare concert opportunity… I’ve enjoyed watching it several times and am due for another viewing.)