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Peter Gabriel (Audio Cassette)

4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

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An epic production highlighted by the clockwork undertones of "Intruder" and the Afro-prog-rock of "Biko," the third in Peter Gabriel's trilogy of eponymous solo titles is a watermark of the former Genesis singer's career. Drummer Jerry Marotta's tight global-groove templates drive the edgy guitar pastiches of Robert Fripp, David Rhodes, Paul Weller, and XTC's Dave Gregory. Yielding the enigmatic 1980 hit "Games Without Frontiers," the Steve Lillywhite-produced opus travels the dark psychic corners of its narrator with a then-profoundly futuristic sound that's no less compelling than Bowie's Scary Monsters, which was released the same year. The cover may depict Gabriel's melting face, but the album marks Gabriel's arrival as a solid solo artist. --James Rotondi

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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The face melts, the artist pulls together July 13 2004
Format:Audio CD
Peter Gabriel has always been at his best when he explores his almost existential sense of dread. But it wasn't till his third solo album that he gave the paranoia free reign. While the first two albums seemed more self consciously eccentric, PG3 dropped the quirkiness in favor of characters that were scary and foreboding.
"Intruder" sets the stage for the rest of the album. Having removed all the metal percussion from the studio, the forbidding sounds of the drums and the creaking scratch of the piano string remain one of the most frightening introductions to kick off an album. It was also an environment that Gabriel held through the duration of PG3, be it from the alienation of "Family Snapshot" to the slyly political "Games Without Frontiers;" that atmosphere of impending disaster sucks you in.
This was also the album where Gabriel discovered the earthy rythms that became central to his future albums. Both "Intruder" and "Not One Of Us" take a significant amount of their edge from these arrangements, and producer Steve Lillywhite knew exactly how to make that kind of percussive sound work in favor of the artist. Perhaps it is best exemplified by "Biko," one of the finest politically tinged songs of the eighties and one that still holds up well today. "It was business as usual in police room 619" Gabriel informs us, as chants and drums give us a greater sense of place. It's a relatively simple sound with a softly delivered message ("the eyes of the world are watching now"), and brings PG3 to a satisfying and emotionally charged conclusion.
The remaster really does make a difference for this CD, and I already consider this Peter Gabriel's high water mark. But it's also the first of three five star recordings, and a great place to start.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An All-Time Great Album Aug. 8 2011
By Dave_42 TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
Peter Gabriel's third self-titled album, i.e. the one with his face melting on the cover, is one of the greatest albums of all time. From start to finish it is an incredible effort, with most of the lyrics from the point of view of someone with a disturbed perspective. The album was originally released on May 30th of 1980, and it remains one of the great Progressive rock albums of all time. Featuring greats like Robert Fripp, Kate Bush, Tony Levin, Phil Collins, and a host of others, the album has a firm musical base on which to build these extraordinary songs.

The album opens with "Intruder" a song sung from the perspective of a burglar, but not just a burglar, but one who gets a thrill from scaring those he is burgling. Next up is "No Self Control", which not surprisingly is sung from the perspective of one who lacks self-control in a number of areas and to an alarming degree. "Start" is a short instrumental which leads into "I Don't Remember" sung from the perspective of someone with amnesia who is trying desperately to remember. Next up is "Family Snapshot", a song sung from the point of view of an assassin. It was inspired by "An Assassin's Diary" written by the man who tried to assassinate George Wallace, but Gabriel uses images from JFK's assassination in the song. Closing out the first half of the album is "And Through the Wire" which is a bit more difficult to figure out, but a good song nevertheless. There are a lot of possible meanings for the song, but I have never figured out exactly what it means. The singer seems to be obsessed with someone, and perhaps stalking them through various methods, or perhaps it is merely someone he is unable to be with physically due to borders.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Dark, scary but powerful and thoughtful! May 4 2004
Format:Audio CD
I was a bit spooked by the album cover when I hesitantly bought this album when it was re-released in remastered form in 2002. However I was absolutely blown away at how dark and powerful it was, not to mention a far cry from any of the more well-known material of his.
His 1978 self-titled album aka the "Scratch" LP is an incredibly weird, eccentric, and surprisingly adventurous album and had a very raw and somewhat undercooked production style to it. The closing song "Home Sweet Home" is a lyrically very dark and morbid song even though musically, it's quite nice but even as morbid as it was, that song had no evidence to what his third album aka "The Melting Face" LP would bring along. This album completely throws his first two albums into the back and boy oh boy, this album is SCARY as hell! Any signs of his search for a sound are completed on this 1980 masterpiece and the results are not just amazing but also immensely though-provoking and really powerful. By 1980 standards, PG3 is unbelievably innovative, groundbreaking and unbelievably powerful. Most of the songs on this album have a very disturbing undertone to them, even on a musical scale but it is done so well that the result is one of Gabriel's most outstanding achievements of his career.
This album could very well be considered a socially conscious album but this album differs from almost every other album in this topic where as most are just addressing the wrongs of the world and societies, PG3 delves much further and aims to tell the story from the perspective of the people who do these wrongs. (I.E. Family Snapshot)
This CD also uses mental illness as a theme as well and the results are just phenomenal and I can't even justify how this album really is with that word.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Gabriel's genius on display
Possibly Gabriel's best. I still remember hearing the album for the first time and being struck by its genius. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Gordon Tebbutt
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't get ripped off!!!!!!!!
This is just a re-hash of the stereo CD, it's not "re-mastered" for multi-channel playback. Read more
Published on July 19 2004 by Bill Bennett
5.0 out of 5 stars Melt
I've heard this album called melt. Regardless of its title, this is by far one of the most well put together albums of all time! There isn't a flaw on it-right from the get go. Read more
Published on June 25 2004 by Scott Montrose
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible
On Peter Gabriel 3 Gabriel fully abandoned his Prog Rock past but came up with a dissonant and disturbing masterpiece which also featured world music suiting his soulfull voice. Read more
Published on June 19 2004 by Brian Ogilby
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Experimental Music
Peter Gabriel's "melting face" album is an album that I have just discovered, and I can't stop listening to it. Read more
Published on April 8 2004 by Law Man
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Greatest Rock Albums of All Time
The other 5-Star reviews have said it all, really, I'm not sure what I could add. There are not many rock recordings that qualify as "art" (and art endures, it is... Read more
Published on Dec 6 2003 by Dr. Michael A. Rinella
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid but slightly overrated
Peter Gabriel's third self-titled album is often considered a rock masterpiece by his fans (just check out the reviews on this page), but although it was the first truly unified... Read more
Published on Dec 3 2003 by Michael Topper
4.0 out of 5 stars Not one of us...Thank Goodness. (4.5 stars)
Definately not. It takes a genius to put out something this unusually perfect. This is basically a gathering of musical greats, all on the same page. Read more
Published on Oct. 20 2003 by C. Scherm
5.0 out of 5 stars If you only purchase one Peter Gabriel album,...
...make it this one.
This third "Peter Gabriel" disc (a.k.a. "Melt") could have been titled "Sociology". Read more
Published on Sept. 12 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Games Without Frontiers - Explained
Reading all the positive reviews of the CD, and that fact that no one understands what this song is about, i thought I'd explain. Read more
Published on June 17 2003 by "jsimmo99"
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