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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on June 24, 2004
There's always one pivotal record that truly makes an artist unique. One for which they'll always be remembered, even after a string of later achievements. Fleetwood Mac did it in 1977 with Rumours. U2 made history and the cover of Time Magazine with The Joshua Tree. And Peter Gabriel's 1986 release So firmly established him as an artist in his own right. In previous years, fans still linked Gabriel's musical identity to the Genesis days, and solo hits like "Shock The Monkey" couldn't quite bring him to the forefront. But So changed all that, capturing the attention of critics and listeners alike. Recognized as Gabriel's first commercial success, the record sold over 3 million copies in the US alone, and soared to #2 on both the US and UK charts. So went on to receive Grammy nominations for Album of the Year, as well as Song of the Year for "Sledgehammer." Probably the best-known of all Peter Gabriel's songs, "Sledgehammer" won the prestigious Video Vanguard Award, and Rolling Stone magazine ranked it among "The Top 100 Videos." Today, So remains Peter Gabriel's most original work, delivering an extraordinary blend of songwriting, vocals, and musical intuition. From slamming tracks like "Red Rain," "Sledgehammer" and "Big Time," to darker-hued corners of the soul with "In Your Eyes" and "Mercy Street," the record is pure genius. One could argue the depth and color in these songs betray the simple monochrome image of Gabriel on the cover. Of course, Peter Gabriel redefined himself in 1992 with the release of Us, followed by the highly-acclaimed Secret World Tour. Even then, his live performance of "Sledgehammer" still held audiences awestruck, proving Gabriel will never outlive the essential timelessness of So. Country superstar Garth Brooks once remarked in 1994 that every musician searches for that one anthem, their career song, which ultimately defines them as an artist. Peter Gabriel certainly uncovered not one, but several career hits in So. When an artist's music refuses to be confined to one decade, when songs manage to stay relevant long past their prime, then what you have is not an artist, but a legend.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon October 28, 2012
"So" by Peter Gabriel is a quality three cd set that features nine of his classic hits on cd one. Cd2 and Cd3 are both recorded from the Live in Athens (1987) event. What enhances my enjoyment of this collection is that I had recently been to a live concert of his that brilliantly covered the tracks on "So". "Sledgehammer", "Don't Give Up", "Big Time", "In Your Eyes", "Solsbury Hill" and "Games Without Frontiers" are some of the multiple music gems that are covered on this cd. "So" by Peter Gabriel is best for those who like late 80's and/or 90's music with important social and/or political themes.
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Finally one of the ten best records of the 1980's gets the deluxe treatment and this time it's no rip off. First we get the remastered So. It sounds brilliant. I know it always has but next to the SACD and the suprise coming up it's the best you are going to hear the album. You get the DNA disc. Basically songs in their infant stage or somewhere along the line to completetion. Kind of cool, not mind blowing but cool. Now we get to the great. First a two CD live show from the 1987 recorded in Athens. This is the show that was cut up into the POV release from the 1980's. You also get a new recut of that concert. That's the full show on DVD in 5.1. Another excellent Classic Album Feature that goes in depth with the recording of So. Now the suprise! I guess Peter heard the online rumbles. You get a code to download a 24bit version of the record that he refurs to as Studio Quality. So still no 5.1 but the 24bit should sound great. I do not know the format or any other info as I have yet to try the download.
For those of you who have never experienced the album So here is your chance. This record is easily one of the greatest record from the 80's. Even Ozzy is a huge fan. I watched a Much Music special on him a few years ago and the host said he had been listening to all of Gabriel's records and he was amazed how they didn't sound dated. That sums Peter up in a nut shell. But how can you sound dated when no one releases music like yours. Songs like Red Rain, Mercy Street even Sledgehammer could just as easily come out now. As always with Mr. Gabriel the sound is impeccable. Video super sharp and a beautifully laid out coffee table book. Oh I almost forgot about you Vinyl fans. You also get a copy of the album and an EP on vinyl. So with exception of a 5.1 mix you get everything here and for once I did not have to rebuy products I already had. All this at half the price his tickets were on the So back to front tour (LOL sorry $189 for ticket was a little steep) and the show like this box set takes me back to a time where I was finishing high school and starting University best part of anyone's life and this was my soundtrack. Great Box set nuff said!!
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on February 17, 2004
Just in case there are people out there who wonder, "What happened to all the great rock albums?"...well, here's one. Here's one of the best in fact, one of those pieces of art that guarantee immortality, for artist AND audience. I was in college when this came out in 1986 so I was practically duty-bound to buy it, but I'm happy to report that not all music beloved by college students is wimpy and stupid: there is such a consistency of mood on "So", even throughout such diverse tunes as "Sledgehammer" and "Mercy Street", that you can't help but feel you've had a real experience, a real connection to the artist. Peter Gabriel's music has always been intensely personal, from his earliest work with Genesis through his latest CD, and "So" is no different.
So many of these songs became hits ("In Your Eyes", "Big Time", and "Red Rain" are here too) that it might be tempting to think of this as a randomly-sequenced greatest hits record...but don't be tempted. Like all great works of art this is a journey, and you can only get home on one road.
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on February 14, 2004
this is only a note regarding the musician credits found in the remastered version of "so". on the booklet's last page, each musician is listed in boldface type, followed by the instrument/vocal credit(s), followed (in parenthesis) by the track(s) that the musician appears on, according to track number. but: the album has been resequenced and the listed track numbers in the credits refer to the original sequence. since "in your eyes" has been moved from the middle of the album to the end (and i don't think that this interferes with the overall quality of the album's continuity), the credit numbers are now wrong, starting at track number 5. so, the "key" would be (in the form of "# listed in credits = actual numer on the remastered disc"): #5 = #9 ; #6 = #5 ; #7 = #6 ; #8 = #7 ; #9 = #8.
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on July 14, 2004
Peter Gabriel capped his troika of five star albums with what became his commercial high-point, the energetic (for him, anyway) "So." I guess when you say energetic in regard to Gabriel, that definition comes from the hits "Sledgehammer" and "Big Time." The hard hitting rhythms and memorable videos from those two songs made them huge hits and -- peculiar enough -- dance floor sensations. The hook in "Big Time" is so mammoth that it has since been used to do everything from promote movies to selling automobiles; ironic, considering the song's focus on falsity of the commercial world.
For those who viewed this sudden burst of commercial acceptance as sell out, "So" has something they obviously missed. This is Gabriel's most spiritual album. "Mercy Street," "In Your Eyes" and "Don't Give Up" are unbelievably uplifting songs. Having explored African music for the basis of much of "Security," this time Gabriel enlisted one of that continent's foremost vocalists. The exuberance of Youssou N'Dour at the close of "In Your Eyes" and the angelic (I can't think of any other way to describe it) lead of Kate Bush on "Don't Give Up" make both of these the kind of songs I turn to in moments of despair.
In addition to N'Dour and Bush, "So" has an amazing list of player's players contributing. Everyone from Jim Kerr of Simple Minds, Michael Been of The Call, Nile Rogers of Chic, and producer Daniel Lanois all contribute to making "So" a stunning album of rich musical tones. In fact, this may be the Peter Gabriel album that benefited the most from its remastering. Lanois' production tends to lean on more organic sounds, and this new edition of "So" finds them sounding more crisp and spaced.
The remastering did leave me with one gripe. How come "In Your Eyes" got pushed to the end of this CD as opposed to the track five slot of the original? (This CD's participants' track listing didn't change the guest musicians/running order, either!) On original discs, "In Your Eyes" came between "That Voice Again" and "Mercy Street," leaving the album to end with the more peculiar (and more satisfying) "This Is The Picture/Excellent Birds."
That's just a minor question in perspective to the overall impact of "So." This was one of the Top 5 albums of 1986, and along with albums by Bruce Springsteen, U2 and Simple Minds, one of the best of the eighties as a decade.
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on May 6, 2004
i was in my late teens when this album came out in 1986. i basically played it to death eventually needing to purchase a new cassette as my other one gave up the ghost through repeated plays. it is lucky i didnt have it on vinyl as i would have needed a new stylus as well! gabby's vocal on the opening cut, red rain is fantastic as is the music that accompanies the album opener. miss bush, who is a legend in her own right is great on dont give up giving the song an extra talented vocal bonus. for some reason the remastered version of this disc has shifted in your eyes from 5th to last track on the album moving the eerie mercy street for anne sexton up the pecking order but it makes no difference to the quality of music on this 80's stalwart. overall a masterpiece but it would have been great to have any extra cuts that didnt make it on to the final release added to the remastered edition. they must be saving them for an expensive boxset which i will end up buying anyway so it makes no difference to me anyway.
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on May 21, 2002
A watershed recording; undoubtedly Peter's greatest commercial success, and to many his greatest artistic success as well. (I give that title to Passion instead, but what do I know?) PG2 may be too morbid for some, PG3 may be too disturbing, Security may be too heavy & frightening.. but for So, it's just about impossible for anyone not to find something to like. The sarcastic "Big Time" is a heaping dose of pure funk, "Mercy Street" sounds like Nick Drake at his most painfully honest, and "Don't Give Up" could almost be described as 'ambient soul music.' The simply-perfect "In Your Eyes" - no description necessary, you know you've all heard it - is moved to the end of the running order rather than the middle. Peter originally wanted it as a closer, but had to put it at the beginning of side 2 due to the clarity limitations of the vinyl format. I for one think it works much better where it is now, ending the album on a joyous note rather than the slow fade-outs of "We Do What We're Told" and "This Is the Picture."
"Remasters, eh?" you say. "But they sound great already. How much can they be improved?" you wonder. Well I wondered too. After replacing my first PG disc (Passion, natch) with the new CD, I didn't hesitate to spring for all the others as soon as my budget allowed - and they're worth every penny. The first time I cranked "Big Time" in the car, my friend turned to me and asked why the mega-bass on my stereo was cranked up so high. I had to patiently tell her it wasn't even turned on. (I don't think I'll scare her with "Rhythm of the Heat" just yet - that would be cruel.) Any muted fuzz is gone, the clarity is nothing short of stunning, and the bass end is more monstrous than ever - but not to the point of overwhelming anything else. Heck, this edition even has that chant at the end of "In Your Eyes" printed in the lyrics. Now if I only knew what it meant...
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on June 19, 2004
So is the closest to a pop album Peter Gabriel ever came but for all its commercialness Peter Gabriel was always an artist who focused more on quality then quantity and it shows on So. The album still manages to be challenging even with the hits and indeed with the hits. Once again Gabriel shows off his amazing dramatic range and big voice to great effect. The only weak track here is This Is The Picture which is kind of silly.
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on February 13, 2004
This is arguably Peter Gabriel's finest albums that he has ever recorded in his entire career.
Many say that he sold out with this record but I couldn't disagree more. This was and still is a very powerful and deep album that is far above anything of todays music and even of other music of it's time. Hell, even his former bandmates Genesis even thought they did well with "Invisible Touch" didn't do this good on an artistic note.
It's clear why "SO" remains very popular. It's almonst non-commercial in nature and doesn't focus on the sounds of the times (Around 1986) and is still fresh and new even in 2004.
"Red Rain" is my faovrite song on this album being a very far-reaching soul-searching classic that will leave you breathless.
"Mercy Street" is the sexiet track that Peter Gabriel has ever done. I would even go as to say it's even more so than "Sledgehammer" which was temporarily worn out for me.
This is a great CD and the remastered edition is amazing! Go out and get today! You won't be dissapointed.
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