Various Artists: Peter Gabriel
Submitted by tiggerlion on 9 October 2013 - 10:51pm
What's it called?:
And I'll Scratch Yours
What does it sound like?:
After Peter Gabriel's album of covers, Scratch My Back, this is the 'reply'. Here, those covered cover a Gabriel song (although Neil Young & Radiohead are replaced by Joseph Arthur & Feist). Gabriel restricted himself to backing by piano and strings. Individually, each track is superb but over the whole album, the melodrama is wearing. And I'll Scratch Yours is much more fun with a far greater variety of styles. David Byrne, Eno, Lou Reed and David Merrill produce quirky, idiosyncratic versions on their covers. Eno's take on Mother Of Violence is especially disturbing. Bon Iver, Regina Specktor, Elbow and Paul Simon all enhance the beauty of the songs by keeping the sound simple and getting to the heart of the melody. But, the best by far, is Randy Newman with Big Time. By stripping away the bravado and making a minor adjustment to the lyric, he reveals multiple layers of irony in a song that was already tongue in cheek. Only Arcade Fire's copy of Games Without Frontiers disappoints.
What does it all *mean*?:
Covers albums reveal much about the performer and, sometimes, even more about the song. When they are perfectly matched as in Newman and Big Time, there is magic. But, inevitably with so many artists, there will be some rougher stuff to tolerate.
Goes well with …:
An open-minded flirt in pursuit of a good laugh, who is quite capable of being serious as the shadows lengthen and the demons begin to emerge. Salt-free nuts, chilled, unassuming beer and a music machine that can repeat Big Time over and over.
Might suit people who like …:
A karaoke-style singalong. Carefully constructed, well-considered singing and playing. A liking of Peter Gabriel isn't necessary, unless you use the best buy method where you get both albums in a single pack. And Randy Newman. Did I mention Big Time?