Scratch My Back

Studio Album by released in 2010

Scratch My Back review

You can not ignore the new CD

If you’re a fan of proper rock music, you should know very well who Peter Gabriel is. His solo career dawned in the late seventies; and now, when he is almost sixty, it is explainable that he is not as energetic as he used to be. However, each new record he releases inevitably becomes a great event in the music world. Besides, Gabriel has always been an experimentalist in many ways, which could not but provide his fresh releases with much attention from critics and audience equally. The artist’s latest CD, Scratch My Back, only proves this rule. First, it was released seven years after the delivery of the previous work my Peter, Up. Secondly, this is a collection of covers. It was already announced that the record is just the first part of a project. The artists whose songs are featured on this CD will return the favor re-making Gabriel’s compositions. The selection of the tracks is a long and complex story. You can hardly find anything that would unite all the artists here as they work in completely different genres. Nevertheless, the tracks here are stylistically unified and executed in a certain, peculiar, manner.

New life of old songs

Presenting his new work, Peter cast his followers into uncertainty saying that none of the compositions was made with the help of classical rock instruments, guitars and drums. Gabriel went completely orchestral. Strings, horns, piano and, of course, his voice are what built the sound of Scratch My Back. This had an immense impact on the general slant of the record. The songs of all twelve original performers lost their initial coloring. You will find this as soon as you try the very first track here, David Bowie’s Heroes. The vivacity of the original was replaced by an atmosphere of depression. Boy In The Bubble by Paul Simon, once energetic, traded its beats for keys, and even the encouraging words fail to compete with the overwhelming sadness. While the majority of the songs became simply different, My Body Is A Cage of Arcade Fire, apparently, is just better than the original version. The singer’s voice is so emotional that you start to believe that this is his own stuff that he penned about something personal and sacramental. The Book Of Love (The Magnetic Fields) just shows that Peter made a mistake selecting songs for covers. Orchestral music is a bad match for this song. It is too optimistic to sound completely differently. Legions of Radiohead followers will likely spit with disgust after listening to Street Spirit (Fade Out) sung by Gabriel. But the artist is worthy of all the praise for making an effort to work with a song of such a band. Sure, it sounds not like the original here, but copying other performers was not the singer’s goal.

Gabriel’s method of plastic surgery

Music lovers have different opinions about covers, whatever the quality of the songs is. Some believe it should be done as close to the original as possible, without necessary changes. Other, on the contrary, want covers to be new carnations of old songs. Those from the second category will definitely like Peter Gabriel’s new studio work, Scratch My Back, featuring some tracks that have almost nothing in common with the first versions. The idea was rather audacious. Uniting compositions of artists different as these in one album is already a difficult task to do. But making new versions of widely known and loved songs as good as their original versions is a work for the most decisive and talented musicians. Peter Gabriel succeeded, although many expected a different solution. Indeed, the record proved complicated, emotionally overloaded. Even the lyrics of the songs acquired new meanings, while the compositions themselves revealed emotions you could not find in their earlier variants. Plastic surgeon Peter took musical scalpels and gave his patients new looks. Will the artists whose songs are presented here do the same to Gabriel’s own music?