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An album by Peter Gabriel

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A great starting point for any Peter Gabriel fan

  • Mar 19, 2004
Peter Gabriel's new 2-Disc compilation, simply titled "Hit," is certainly a better picture of Gabriel's career than was his previous collection, "Shaking the Tree." "Hit" contains more of what I would consider to be essential Gabriel songs, including one that was previously left out, the popular "In Your Eyes." I was glad to see that song on this collection.

Many of Gabriel's standard pop hits are to be found on the first CD of the collection. Many of these are songs the made Gabriel famous as a "solo" musician, including "Solsbury Hill," "Sledgehammer," "Shock the Monkey," and "Digging in the Dirt." Disc 1, also subtitled "Hit," is where you'll hear the songs that you probably already know and love. It finishes with one of my favorite Gabriel songs, "Here Comes the Flood."

Disc 2, subtitled "Miss," contains some of the lesser-known Gabriel material (though "In Your Eyes" is included here, and seems a bit out of place). It includes "The Rhythm of the Heat," "I Greive" (which was first heard on the "City of Angels" soundtrack), "Lovetown" (first heard on the soundtrack for "Philadelphia"), and "Family Snapshot." The real gem on this CD, however, is the live recording of "Downside Up" in which Gabriel sings accompanying his daughter, Melanie. This track, near the end of Disc 2, was a wonderful surprise. It's almost worth the price of the collection all by itself, though the rest of songs found on the two CD's are excellent as well.

Sound reproduction on both discs is crystal clear -- I really couldn't ask for a better-produced recording than this. In some cases ("Solsbury Hill" for example), I had grown so used to hearing the somewhat muddy original recordings that hearing them remastered and sharp was like hearing them for the first time again.

This is a collection, of course, and the nature of the beast will be to leave out some peoples' favorite songs. Especially when you consider that Gabriel has so many good songs available to choose from, it becomes hard to imagine a collection which could include all of them. I am no exception to this rule, and in my case I would have loved to hear two of my other favorite Gabriel songs, "Secret World" and "Mercy Street," also included on this collection. Sadly, they are absent, but the collection doesn't suffer for it.

Also missing are any tracks from what may be Gabriel's masterpiece, "Passion," his score for Martin Scorsese's "Last Temptation of Christ." I can see the rationale behind not including these, especially since "Passion" is strongest as a whole piece. Putting individual tracks from "Passion" onto "Hit" would have done little to show listeners the power of that album as a whole. Better, I think, to let listeners experience "Passion" as it is meant to be experienced: as a whole piece in its entirety.

Overall, "Hit" is a more complete collection than "Shaking the Tree," and it is a better-produced one as well. "Hit" really highlights many of the best points in Gabriel's career, both from the standpoint of popular success and creative achievement. It shows why Gabriel is still considered one of the most talented and groundbreaking artists still working in the field of popular music.

If you're going to own a Peter Gabriel collection, this is the one to own.

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Rich Stoehr ()
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I often hide behind a pithy Douglas Adams quote or maybe some song lyrics. I guess it makes sense that much of what I share is reviews of things I like (or don't).      People … more
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A judiciously-selected two-CD compendium of Peter Gabriel's finest moments,Hit offersa far more generous windfall than can be found on the only previous Peter Gabriel best-of selection, the 1990Shaking the Tree. The devil, after all, is in the detail, particularly on the second disc (self-deprecatingly entitledMiss), which really traverses the whole gamut of Peter Gabriel's globally-visioned artistry. It includes recent soundtrack work (the haunting "Cloudless" fromLong Walk Home: Music from the Rabbit-Proof Fence), material from 2002's sterlingUp("Signal To Noise", featuring a compelling vocal from the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and some ominous string arrangements, really does sound like a thinking man's Massive Attack) and goes right back to that fourth album when marrying the reticence of cold, synthesised new wave with insistent African percussion seemed like a good idea (it was). The first disc--including the MTV smash "Sledgehammer", anti-apartheid war cry "Biko", "Big Time" (interesting how the styles of Gabriel and his former group Genesis seem to converge at this time) and "Games Without Frontiers"--really speaks for itself, although with hindsight it seems the single-buying public-at-large had a particular taste for a certain kind of Peter Gabriel record. Universally excellent throughout, the collection is rendered even more desirable by the inclusion of three previously unreleased tracks: a live rendition of "Downside Up", a shorter version of "Blood of Eden" and ...
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Label: Geffen Records
Artist: Peter Gabriel
Release Date: November 4, 2003

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