Posts Tagged ‘peter gabriel


Note to Little Stevie… freedom is not a privilege

This weekend, I pulled out my vinyl copy of Little Stephen’s Artists United Against Apartheid project – Sun City.

Unlike Band-Aid or the “We Are the World” project, Little Stephen brought artists from a wide variety of genres – and far more alternative, at the time, than the more poppy predecessors. Also unlike them, his assembly of rappers and rockers produced an entire album’s worth of materials – seven songs in all.

All of the songs on it are pretty solid, which doesn’t surprise me given the musicians involved, but as I was listening to the song and thinking about where we are these days, politically, I was struck by one lyric:

“Freedom is a privilege nobody rides for free”

This gave me pause for two reasons:

1. The first half claims that freedom is a privilege, but it’s not. Freedom is a right. No man or woman has the right to own or shackle another. In this day and age, when people believe things like health care, a job and even a driver’s license is a right, I’m surprised that this group would produce a lyric stating the ultimate right – freedom – is a privilege.

2. The second half says “nobody rides for free.” I’m making an assumption, but I’m guessing most of the people involved with this record believe in Obama’s healthcare law – which claims to give things for free. In fact, Obama’s approach to government is to redistribute wealth and give money and benefits for free to those who “cannot” fend for themselves. (And by “cannot,” I don’t mean the truly unable, but those able-bodied and often educated people who’ve decided to reap the benefits of government programs.) It’s all about “free” these days.

I was stunned that in one sentence, they got two fundamental ideas so backwards, and in fact, they don’t actually support either notion.

But aside from that, the song is still solid – though I think it may not entirely be holding up well against time. There are other great songs on this album though, including the largely Peter Gabriel-based “No More Apartheid.” If you can find a copy, I recommend checking out this historical relic from the 80’s.


standing behind peter gabriel

Peter Gabriel didn’t show up last night at the Oscar’s to perform his song from Wall*E, “Down to the Ground.” Apparently, he’s protesting the fact that the song was to appear for only 60 seconds as part of a medley of it and the other nominated songs.

His stance is that the music is just as important as any other component and should be given it’s due.

To me, there’s probably a middle-ground. Putting all the songs in a medley really blurs the lines between one song and the next – especially last night. Also, you lost some of the purpose the song served in a film. (More often than not, these songs are written to emphasize or enhance what’s happening in the film at that moment).

But when the song is over 6 minutes, maybe a truncated version of the song could be performed?

Here’s a clip of the Peter Gabriel song (it’s not an official video, just a fan-made set of clips).

In my opinion, this song is somewhat more of the same from Gabriel. But on the plus side, it’s not Randy (re-write new lyrics for the same tune for every animated film) Newman. So its got that going for it.


from wal-mart to bonnaroo (with a brief stop at the super bowl)

I just caught the current artist list for the 2009 Bonnaroo, and I couldn’t help but notice that Bruce Springsteen, who originally thought that releasing his album through Wal-Mart was the way to go, has done a 180 and is going to appear at Bonnaroo.

I wonder if this is making any of the normal Bonnaroo fans think that the event has sold-out or gone too commercial? After playing only his hits from the late 70s and early 80s for America’s Baby Boomers (who obviously haven’t heard, and probably don’t care about, his latest album), he’s now going to remake himself in front of Gen Y. I wonder how that’ll go? It’s certainly been done before, but I’m skeptical on this one…

Other observations: It’d be great to go see Mars Volta there. I haven’t written about them, but they are one of my favorite bands that are new to me within the last year or so. Extremely dynamic music with many layers and things going on. It’d be great to see them.

I noticed that, to me, Gogol Bordello is conspicuously absent after taking the place by storm last year. Maybe a late edition?

I’m always skeptical of seeing a band like of Montreal at a festival show like this. My first experience was with Peter Gabriel at the Amnesty shows. He was OK, but if you’ve ever seen him live at his own concert, it was a severe disappointment. I wonder if of Montreal would be the same.

Good to see that David Byrne hasn’t gone the way of cult favorite by continuing to have a meaningful presence at shows like these.

Overall, a pretty solid lineup, I think.


six degrees of sinead o’connor

I was driving home from NewTunes last night and my iPod served up “Kingdom of Rain” – a song from The The featuring Sinead O’Connor.

This is not only one of my favorite songs from The The, but one of my all time favorites, in general. And it got me thinking about Sinead O’Connor.

I’ve never been a huge fan. I enjoyed the first album, but nothing she did after really resonated with me. However, she somehow has been involved in some of my favorite songs from other artists who’s music I’ve always enjoyed.

Check out her work with The Edge on “Heroine,” a song from his soundtrack album for a film called “Captive.” (no video for this, but someone did put it to YouTube)

Thanks to Julia Turner, who turned me onto this album – and specifically, this song – while at college. The rest of this album is very moody and ambient and not really like this song. But this song made it on most of my college mix tapes and still stands as one of my favorite.

It is the feeling one gets from discovering a little known song like this that attracts me every day to the potential of NewTunes. It is my hope that people have experiences like finding a song like this every day on our site.

But, back to Sinead O’Connor. One of Peter Gabriel’s more moving songs – Blood of Eden – featured none other than our own Sinead O’Connor.

O’Connor’s first album, The Lion and the Cobra, was released in 1987. While working on that, she also provided backing vocals for Karl Wallinger’s band, World Party. Not only did she sing on the song “Private Revolution,” but she also appeared in the video.

As I said, I’ve never been enough of a fan to purchase any of her music past Lion and the Cobra, but I’m fascinated by how entranced I am every time she performs with someone else. I don’t want to fill this post with videos, but here’s a short list of others with whom she’s been involved…

But I wonder if she knows Kevin Bacon.


big blue ball… a world party

[Part eight of the New Music from the Past 30 Years series… with an asterisk]

I can’t think of an album that better fits the description “new music from the past 30 years” more than Big Blue Ball, which was released this week.

Big Blue Ball is really the brainchild of Peter Gabriel (you remember him, one of the many artists who were using world beats and supporting world music WAY before Paul Simon got all the credit for his “groundbreaking” use of African rhythms on Graceland), with an assist from Karl Wallinger. In the early 90s, Gabriel gathered many relatively unknown (at the time) artists to collaborate on a series of songs that would be truly “world” music – or music written and influenced by artists from all over the world.

The album includes work from:

As you listen to this album and consider the timing of its creation, you can almost put yourself back in the time when Live AID, Band Aid, WOMAD and other world music collaborations were really taking off. If you’re a Peter Gabriel fan, than you will also see past the supporting players and see that, at its core, this is a Peter Gabriel album, all the way.

Here’s a short promotional video for the album. Note the amount one ages in 15 years.

But even more exciting to me is that it is also, in lesser ways, a new World Party release.

World Party is essentially Karl Wallinger, who played mostly all of the instruments on the first studio release – Private Revolution. Karl Wallinger, to me, is the indie category version of Prince. He has mastered all of the “main” instruments and is far more prolific than his studio album output would let on.

In the late 90s, the World Party website had an area called “dropbox” that contained random recordings that Karl Wallinger was making between albums. It was home to many germs of music ideas and also Wallinger’s love for a good Beatles cover, which he largely reproduced note-for-note.

Not only can Wallinger play many instruments, but his music captures so many genres that its hard to classify. Most of his songs span the time between psychedelic rock and current funk and hip-hop. I can’t think of too many bands that have created music that captures so many time periods and ideas and ties them together so well.

Wallinger disappeared for a number of years earlier this decade. I didn’t think much of it, because there always seemed to be about four years in between his studio work. However, I finally got curious and learned that he had a brain aneurysm in 2001 that took him about five years to recover from.

There aren’t many artists who’s music I’d insist on you purchasing without hearing, but World Party is certainly one.

World Party has too many great songs to pick, but here’s “Is It Too Late” into “Radio Days”…

July 2018
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