Peter Gabriel – So (1986)
The 80s. Often a punch line & widely perceived as the runt of the album litter. Sandwiched between the more consistently excellent 70s & 90s, perhaps it’s understandable.
However, one year seems to be a remarkable exception: 1986.
Want hip/hop? Landmark albums by Run DMC & Beastie Boys.
Metal? Master of Puppets might be the finest metal offering there is. Ever. Those who disagree may choose Reign in Blood or Peace Sells..., also circa ’86.
Fist pumping anthems? Slippery When Wet.
Solid arrangements & production? XTC’s Skylarking.
Simply the best? The Queen is Dead.
It’s tough to single out ‘highlights’ when the record is packed with gems.
So is more accessible than Gabriel’s earlier work, undoubtedly. It would be wrong however to suggest a negative correlation here between an increase in audience & a decrease in music quality. Sometimes it’s not just mediocrity that sells; So is anything but average.
The audio, of course, is only part of the picture. The innovative music video for Sledgehammer consistently ranks among the top of all time. On the big screen (a few years later), is there a more iconic music/movie moment than John Cusack + boombox raised above head blaring In Your Eyes?
So before you Say Anything too critical of the era, don’t forget to put an asterisk beside the 1986 calendar year!
From → 1980s