Peter Gabriel introduced his fifth studio album So with "Sledgehammer," an Otis Redding-inspired soul-pop raver that was easily his catchiest, happiest single to date. Needless to say, it was also his most accessible, and, in that sense it was a good introduction to So, the catchiest, happiest record he ever cut.
"Sledgehammer" propelled the record toward blockbuster status, and Gabriel had enough songs with single potential to keep it there. There was "Big Time," another colorful dance number; "Don't Give Up," a moving duet with Kate Bush; "Red Rain," a stately anthem popular on album rock radio; and "In Your Eyes," Gabriel's greatest love song which achieved genuine classic status after being featured in Cameron Crowe's classic, Say Anything.
These all illustrated the strengths of the album: Gabriel's increased melodicism and ability to blend African music, jangly pop, and soul into his moody art rock. Apart from these singles, plus the urgent "That Voice Again," the rest of the record is as quiet as the album tracks of Security. The difference is, the singles on that record were part of the overall fabric; here, the singles are the fabric, which can make the album seem top-heavy (a fault of many blockbuster albums, particularly those of the mid-'80s). Even so, those songs are so strong, finding Gabriel in a newfound confidence and accessibility, that it's hard not to be won over by them, even if So doesn't develop the unity of its two predecessors.
The Classic Reissue was cut from the original 1/2" 30 ips analog master tapes on the Classic all tube stereo cutting system at Bernie Grundman Mastering by "The Wizard" Bernie Grundman himself. This release features the additional tune "We Do What We're Told (Milgrames 37)" that was originally not on the Geffen vinyl issue in 1986.
1. Red Rain
3. Don't Give Up
4. That Voice Again
5. Mercy Street
6. Big Time
7. We Do What We're Told (milgram's 37)
8. This is the Picture (excellent birds)
9. In Your Eyes