Peter Gabriel‘s fourth solo album Security (aka Peter Gabriel), released back in 1982, was about as experimental as you’d expect but a couple of hits came out of it and, in an album with only 8 songs, that’s pretty darn good.
But was the whole album as worthy as its most popular tracks?
The first song, “The Rhythm Of The Heat”, boasts an odd yet compelling and intense build-up. After a minute of Gabriel singing over what sounds like asthmatic trains, the drums etc. kick in and the song develops into what I can best describe as an epic black magic ceremony. It’s a perfect concert overture and it does really well to get you hyped up for the rest of the album.
Next up is “San Jacinto” and, over a rhythm of raining, popping notes, we get some solid, creative lyrics as ever. It’s an entertaining track despite being another long one and, although It develops slowly, the pretty epic ending is worth it.
Finally, we get to the album’s second single, “I Have The Touch”, a very 80’s love letter to rush hour. The song has a typically eclectic beat and a glam feel to it at times. It’s an upbeat yet desperate and erratic anthem. Arguably one of Peter Gabriel’s best.
The next one, “The Family And The Fishing Net”, is about 7 minutes long so don’t be in a rush if you’re planning to listen to the entire thing. It’s another slow burn with various beats and random sound effects everywhere. The tone is darker yet, at times, it becomes a funky Prince-style upbeat tune and, at other times, it has more of middle eastern music influence. Again, very experimental and challenging but an enjoyable listen if you’re willing to stick with it for a while.
The album’s first single, “Shock The Monkey”, follows and, yes, its infamous video is worth a mention as it’s all kinds of awesome and, most importantly, batshit insane. You’d never expect such a really fun, generally upbeat track in which Gabriel says “monkey” a lot to have this dark of a video and yet that’s what we got. That said, the lyrics do hint at darker, more violent goings on. It’s one of the catchiest of the bunch and, again, one of Peter Gabriel’s most memorable and best songs.
An on-and-off beat and isolated, rap-esque spoken vocals open “Lay Your Hands On Me” like it’s a Flight Of The Conchords song or something. Actually, it’s another longer, grander, more experimental track with a chorus that kicks in soon enough and is comparable in style to some of The Talking Heads‘ more out there tracks.
As for “Wallflower”, it is introduced by pan flutes and fleeting instrumental touches. You’ve guessed it, it’s a slow burner with a big build-up but this one’s much more lyric-centric than the others. Hell, the thing’s practically like a sung novella! You’ll need a lot of patience to enjoy this softer, slower effort.
We end on the much funkier “Kiss Of Life” which definitely has a Prince-esque party song vibe to it. It’s one of the most entertaining tracks on the album and it’s reliably packed with loads of crazy, layered beats throughout. It’s bizarre that this one wasn’t released as its own single but it’s certainly a nice surprise for the album’s conclusion.
All in all, if you like Peter Gabriel’s stuff, Security‘s a really good bet: chances are you’ll love every minute of it. Otherwise, you’ll probably enjoy the singles but not much more. Objectively, I’d say it’s a strong, entertaining album with some really good ideas and some cool songs.
Anyway, Peter Gabriel gets 4 Ziggies out of 5 from me.
Peter Gabriel the album, not the guy.
Or both, whatever…
I’ll just keep calling this one Security.