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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