Talk to me long enough and you will learn that my absolute favorite musician is Peter Gabriel. He can be a difficult artist to be a fan of since he releases such little new music these days. In fact, he hasn’t had a proper album release since 2002 with the release of Up. Much like George R.R. Martin, it seems like every year there is a rumor that this is the year we will get the new album.
2023 is the year I/O will actually happen for real it seems, and even though I adore his music, I have mixed feelings. I may have overstated that he hasn’t released new music in 20 years. There have been new albums of covers, and greatest hits, and music, written for films, but none have had the quality of his main body of work. Admittedly, I’ve been quite disappointed with these releases so with a true album being finally released I’m feeling anxious to hear if a new studio album has the quality I know and love, or if, like many other rockers of his era, his creative genius has merely peaked and I’m left holding him to an unrealistic standard.
In this era of the music industry, Peter Gabriel has also decided to experiment with how this next album will be released and once again I find myself having mixed feelings. He will be releasing one track each month on the full moon. No longer bound to the need to release a physical product, he can easily accomplish this by making a new song available on streaming platforms each month. I support the artistic vision here, but I grew up loving whole albums as a work of art, so it does feel a little bit of a let down that I’ll be getting the music piecemeal and will be robbed of the experience of delving into the music in my preferred fashion.
So far he has released two tracks, and unexpectedly, he seems to be releasing two different versions of each track: a bright side mix, and a dark side mix. Analyzing why one is dark and the other is bright has been quite intriguing. In general, the music has been of a better quality than what has been released in the past two decades–so that is a relief. I do have some nitpicky quibbles, but I think it probably stems from my irritation that I have to wait a month in between tracks. Having waited so long for new music from him it is hard not to be overly critical.
Any other Peter Gabriel fans out there? If you haven’t heard either of these new tracks off of I/O, Peter Gabriel has made them readily available on YouTube. I’d love to hear anyone else’s reactions to his latest project, or, similarly, if you have thoughts on your reaction to a long awaited release from one of your favorite artists.
As a longtime fan of Peter, I agree with EVERYTHING you’ve written. It’s exciting to hear his new work, but I have mixed feelings about it as well. I’ve long regarded him as an innovator and an artist who wants to take risks. In those areas, I’m somewhat disappointed in the first two tracks. The songs are both VERY Peter Gabriel, but feel like they could’ve been published two decades ago. I had the same reaction to much of his work on the Up album. “The Barry Williams Show”? Oof – that track was 20 years too late back in 2002! But like you say, I probably hold him to an unrealistic standard.
I had a chance to see his Growing Up show back in 2003. It was also a bit of a disappointment. Will you try to see the upcoming show down in Boston in Sept?
Anyway, I appreciated your enthusiasm and critique of the new album! Glad there are other fans in the community!
Glad to here from other fans! I will be trying to see him in September. I’ve missed him the few times he’s been through New England so hope to be able to make it this time.
The “Barry Williams Show” is certainly an odd track when you look at the whole album. I’ve come to appreciate it, but I agree it doesn’t fit. I’ve noticed an oddball track on other albums like “Kiss That Frog” on Us and “This is the Picture” on So that just don’t fit the flow. I’m sure it makes sense to him.
Glad to hear from you. Take care! -Ben