reviews

Peter Gabriel: Scratch My Back

It seems like cover records come in three flavors: cop-out, contractual obligation-fulfiller, or rookie mistake. Well, that’s just not the case here. While I must admit to hating this record upon first listen, I can now say with honesty that it is good. Damn good. The first thing that struck me was that two of my favorite things about Peter Gabriel records—besides the lengendary genius that is Peter Gabriel, of course—were missing: the drums (Peter Gabriel records always have banging drums) and Tony Levin (King of the Low End). Scratch My Back is just Peter and an orchestra. I realize now that saying “just” doesn’t do it justice. “Just” Peter + “just” an orchestra = some of the most stark, moving versions of these songs you’re likely to hear. They’re all just devastating, but Talking Heads’ “Listening Wind,” Bon Iver’s “Flume” and Arcade Fire’s “My Body is a Cage” are my favorites.

, 23 February 2010

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