I’ve always loved Peter Gabriel records. He’s had quite a productive career post-Genesis, and it’s tough to pick a favorite with all the great albums to choose from. My favorites include Peter Gabriel 3 and Us, but my absolute favorite is his fourth LP, released in 1982, Security that stands above the rest. It’s probably one of his more under-appreciated albums, released after the three self titled albums, lovingly referred to by confused record store employees and critics alike as either Peter Gabriel 1, 2 and 3, or simply Car, Scratch, and Face. He even released this album as self titled, but Geffen insisted it have a name for the US release and it was named Security. More recently Crystal Castles have adopted this strategy of eponymous album labeling just to mess with everyone. I can imagine this could throw my co-author John into a small frenzy due to his love of all things labeled and organized.
Like most of Gabriel’s work, the album is full of commentary on society and culturally diverse. For example, San Jacinto and it’s commentary on white man’s treatment of Native Americans. Important to this discussion and interesting to note, this was one of the earliest albums to be recorded in an all digital format (as opposed to tape analog recording equipment). It was also extremely sample heavy, using digital samplers and synths through much of the album. There had been some traces of the general sound of Security on Peter Gabriel 3, like the song Biko, building on an ethnic rhythm or pattern. It was a sign of things to come for Gabriel, mixing in that digital feel, along with some of the World music elements that would become more frequent in his work. To enhance the digital feel, even the album cover itself looks like it was grabbed as a video still from somewhere, much like Adam Ant’s famous cover Kings of The Wild Frontier.
There ain’t a bad song on this album in my opinion. Some Gabriel fans found the last two tracks Wallflower and Kiss of Life to be too close to his former band mate Phil Collins in terms of mushiness and style. I won’t pretend to hate Phil Collins and his 80′s solo work. It may have to be labeled a guilty pleasure by some that think it was too cheesy or soft, but for me it was still good music, and I personally think In The Air Tonight is one of the most powerful songs of all time. Collins actually played drums on much of Peter Gabriel 3, creating that cymbal-less gated reverbed drum sound that made In The Air so notable.
Enjoy the songs. Feel free to sing along “tac tac a-tac-contact!”
Buy or Download Security from Amazon here.