I'm just gonna say Tony F. Levin.
So is the fifth studio album by English singer-songwriter Peter Gabriel, released on 19 May 1986 by Charisma Records and Virgin Records. After working on the soundtrack to the film Birdy (1984), producer Daniel Lanois was invited to remain at Gabriel's Somerset home during 1985 to work on his next solo project. Initial sessions for So consisted of Gabriel, Lanois and guitarist David Rhodes, although these grew to include a number of percussionists. Although Gabriel continued to use the pioneering Fairlight CMI digital sampling synthesizer, songs from these sessions were less experimental than his previous material. Nevertheless, Gabriel drew on various musical influences, fusing pop, soul, and art rock with elements of traditional world music, particularly African and Brazilian styles. It is Gabriel's first non-eponymous album, So representing an "anti-title" that resulted from label pressure to "properly" market his music. Gabriel toured So on the This Way Up tour (1986–1987), with some songs performed at human rights and charity concerts during this period. Often considered his best and most accessible album, So was an immediate commercial success and transformed Gabriel from a cult artist into a mainstream star, becoming his best-selling solo release. It has been certified fivefold platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America and triple platinum by the British Phonographic Industry. The album's lead single, "Sledgehammer", was promoted with an innovative animated music video and achieved particular success, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and subsequently winning a record of nine MTV Video Music Awards. It was followed by four further singles, "Don't Give Up" (a duet with Kate Bush), "Big Time", "In Your Eyes", and "Red Rain". The album received positive reviews from most critics, who praised its songwriting, melodies and fusion of genres, although some retrospective reviews have criticised its overt commercialism and 1980s production sounds. So was nominated for the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1987 but lost to Paul Simon's Graceland. It has appeared in lists of the best albums of the 1980s, and Rolling Stone included the album in their 2003 and 2020 editions of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. In 2000 it was voted number 82 in Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums. So was remastered in 2002, partially re-recorded for Gabriel's 2011 orchestral project New Blood and issued as a box set in 2012.
I'm just gonna say Tony F. Levin.
The music on So is world-building, creating a large, almost tangible experience. Take the epic opening track, "Red Rain", to see how large, energetic, yet melancholic the listening experience can be. The tracks invite you in to their own world, yet Peter's voice sounds natural, not constructed, as if he is next to you as he sings. The selection of backing vocals and guest musicials add to both the largeness of the overall experience, and the intimacy of the lyrics. There are clever lyrics with a lot of imagery. I tend to like the the moodier songs on this album. Perhaps it's because I've heard some of the upbeat tracks more often. I've heard all of Peter Gabriel's albums up to this album, and several albums after So. I've listened to this album several times. I've listened to the individual tracks even more often - EVERY. SINGLE. TRACK. How could I not give this 5 stars. There's nothing to skip.
"Guarantee you anyone born after 1982 is not putting this in their 1001 albums to listen to list" It is the 3rd top-rated comment of 'So' on this site. Well, I can guarantee that I was born well after 1982 and I not only put this album on my 1001 albums list but I also give it a 5. The reason is that I appreciate great music. 'So' is one of the best albums of the 1980s for sure - this album is a great example that pop music can be very good if everything is of high quality: songwriting, lyrics, production, guests musicians etc. Even the video for Sledgehammer is iconic, innovative and the best of the decade. Perhaps it helps that I've seen Gabriel live at a concert and when he played these songs from 'So', the quality was the same as on the album. Mindblowing experience. If there is any pop album that deserves to get high rating, it is this album.
Guarantee you anyone born after 1982 is not putting this in their 1001 albums to listen to list
this album answers the question: what if phil collins was good?
I have this album on cassette & have had it since 1990. It's quintessential 80s Peter Gabriel & it's perfect. Don't Give Up ft. Kate Bush, Red Rain, Sledgehammer, Big Time, and In Your Eyes - Jesus, this is a juggernaut. Something about his voice, cadence, and emotion draws me in. I've been revisiting Peter Gabriel in both his Genesis & solo years lately, and I wish I would've taken a deeper dive sooner. He's touring this year, so I'm taking this as a sign to see him live. I'll regret it if I don't. 5 out of 5.
This will never have a revival. Please let these 1980’s production techniques stay buried in the attic. Those who actually enjoyed this at the time are allowed to listen to it with headphones only. The rest of us don’t want to be a part of this. Okay, leave the video for sledgehammer for posterity.
Here is one of the albums that defined my first few years of college. Between being one of my close friend’s favorite artist and the duet with Kate Bush it was impossible for me not to listen. Five of the songs on this album (Red Rain, Sledgehammer, Don’t Give Up, Big Time and In Your Eyes) have remained well-known to me since their release. Listening today felt more surprising than I expected. The big songs sound bigger, and the quieter songs speak to me now even more deeply. I’m perplexed how I’d forgotten almost entirely four of the songs when they are so good. This was my introduction to Laurie Anderson and the start of another musical crush. I must remember to go back to those albums now too… It’s great to spend quality time with So again.
So… I knew who Peter Gabriel was by name and notably through having heard the songs “Sledgehammer” and “In Your Eyes” but let me share my ignorance with you. While listening to this album I kept thinking “Wow, this album is phenomenal! This sounds like Phil Collins or Genesis”. Then I read the attached Wikipedia article and immediately felt simultaneously smart and stupid. 5/5 for being educated by an amazing album.
Hello, old friend. It's been too long. You still sound good.
This is a Very Special Album, having been a prized tape in my cassette collection from when it came out. The whole thing is so good from start to finish, and I was happy to really notice lyrics and instrumentation that I hadn't really thought about back then. The variety of styles and instruments and voices (Youssou N'Dour was there this whole time?!) are amazing. It opens pretty epically with "Red Rain" before going to the spectacular "Sledgehammer," the song and video of which blew my mind. "Don't Give Up" is a beautiful song that's much more meaningful to me now. Bombastic "Big Time" was another favorite that I'd hadn't heard in too long. "This Is the Picture" is a very cool work featuring Laurie Anderson that I was happy to rediscover. I loved getting to listen to this today so much!
One of the best albums of the 80’s and one of the albums responsible for making me a lover of popular music. Gabriel’s songwriting is top-notch and the playing by collaborators like Tony Levin and David Rhodes are sublime. It is the one album I would recommend by Gabriel the artist and one of two or three must-haves of the decade
Really good stuff. I've never heard of this guy before, his vocals sounded a bit like Phil Collins to me lol (and I don't particularly like him or his music) but this was v good Saved tracks: Sledgehammer, Don't Give Up, Mercy Street, Big Time, This Is The Picture (Excellent Birds)
Very 80's but this is so so good. I count 6 great tracks out of 9 on the album. Weird to think Peter Gabriel was a 70's prog-rock concept album and then became an 80's pop diva. I can't divorce the music from the videos though - groundbreaking and addictive. But then the 80s was the beginning of the MTV phenomenom and in my head they are one. One of the best and most representative musicians from the decade or any time to be honest.
This is a good benchmark album for me to see how far I’ve come after 600 albums because it was one my dad owned on cd and I listened to in high school. Back then I exclusively listened to sledgehammer and when I tried to listen to the whole thing I thought it was boring filler. Now, I really appreciate the album from start to finish. Sledgehammer and it’s music video still can’t be beat but big time, the Kaye bush duet, and in your eyes are all pretty solid. This is also probably the most quintessentially 80s album I’ve gotten outside of shit like Michael Jackson. The synths and other production is just so 80s in a way that’s almost indescribable.
I'm slowly coming around to this sound - which I think of as the "Phil Collins" sound, though it might be more accurately characterized as the other way around. It's always sounded like muzak to me, like something my mom might have put on while she was cleaning... but it's starting to sound more like an old friend now. I gave it a few listens - favorites are probably "Sledgehammer" "This is the Picture (Excellent Birds)" and "In Your Eyes."
This album is pretty damn good. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I’m glad I listened to this record. Despite being a pop album, this album accomplishes a lot. The art pop and Brazilian music influences are very present on the album and I love it. The song also has a lot of jazz and funk influences, certainly a welcome surprise. The song Sledgehammer is a good example of everything the album stands for sonically. The Brazilian influences are present in a lot of parts of the song. The jazzy and funky verses and choruses go so incredibly hard. Lyrically it’s not the most deep song, but Peter Gabriel’s vocals are so good in this album. While the art pop aspects of this album are more present in the second half of the album, Sledgehammer still shows what the album is all about and is definitely the highlight, among the rest of this phenomenal album. Truly amazing, I’d give it a solid 9/10, it really is good.
Album 48 of 1001 Peter Gabriel - So Favorite Track : Big Time Rating : 4 / 5 There is nothing to dislike about this. Well written, well produced, well performed. A couple of the tunes are somewhat similar (similarities of Sledgehammer & Big Time stood out) but, at the same time, he brings unique sounds with guests such as Kate Bush, who he duets with on "Don't Give Up" and Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour on "In Your Eyes".
By far the best Peter Gabriel album. This album was so Big Time for me when it came out! The rich musical tapestries, the creative music videos, they all added to make quite a big impact on the person I turned out to be. Or as much as music can. That cassette I bought back then is long gone, though. They'd never last, commercial cassette releases. P.S. As much as I love Kate Bush, I always found Don't Give Up this album's weakest link. And although it was Sledgehammer that first attracted me to this album, these day I gravitate towards tracks like We Do What We're Told much more.
I was excited for this album, so I'll say I'm a tad disappointed by what I got. After the Genesis album I figured I had been sleeping on Peter Gabriel this whole time, but hearing this I feel like no one was above the risk of falling into the production trends of the time, and it leads to an experience that feels just as cheesy as any other adult oriented pop record from the time. Sledgehammer is obviously fantastic, but it is only so great because my mind has had the time to accept the production and see past it, but the rest of this I was completely blind to, and in turn just found it boring. The album does pick up quite a bit at the end however, with the second to last track being something that I could see jamming out to with some time, but I truly think had the rest of this album sounded like the final track, we could've had Gabriel's very own Low. Otherwise, Sledgehammer is doing a lot of the heavy lifting for this rating, I must admit.
Solid but not really my thing, didn’t listen to all the live versions of the songs because fuck that 6/10
C Red Rain 3 Sledgehammer 2 Don't Give Up 2 That Voice Again 2 Mercy Street 2 Big Time 3 We Do What We're Told (Milgram's 37) 3 This Is the Picture (Excellent Birds) 3 In Your Eyes 3 This was so meh. I expected much more from a supposed 80s classic.
I miss some kind of humor. It’s all so serious and I don’t feel any fun. I like Peter’s Voice. Mainly in the contrast to Kate Bush. A great duet. Nice deconstructed sound. Far from everyday Pop Music. I don’t like the slap-guitar. He’s no poet. “Big Time” is the worst song. I doesn’t catch me at all. Over-ambitious, swinging with meaning where there is none. Boring.
I love the vibes here, but the songs are too long and too repetitive for me, making it a bit boring
Gimsteinn. Aktívistasti minn 🥰Hver bangerinn á eftir öðrum.
Incredible album, easily one of the top 40 of all time.
This album is a little dorky at times, but so am I. Something about tors album speaks to me and it’s an album I can see myself growing with. And “In Your Eyes“ is a no surprise standout.
Loved this, sounds like a transportation to a different time of the balas rock stars. He was a master of his time
Lots of hits on this album. I recall having tired of a couple of them back when they were big hits, but today they played well and felt so comfortable and warm. The few tracks which I were not familiar were also excellent.
Every song bettter than the last.
Every track on this album is a legit banger. Peter Gabriel is the most interesting artist to come out of the 60's and 70's music scene. 'So' is a fascinating album that I forget about sometimes and it doesn't deserve to be forgotten.
This was my first time listening to this album in full and its blown me away. Obviously Sledgehammer is incredible but theres so much more to this album. The perfect 80s pop album
Great album, easy 5 stars. Classic.
Sonically wonderful and some big big songs. The opening three songs -Red Rain, Sledgehammer and Don't Give Up is just about as good a start as any album I can think of. Bass playing (Tony Levin) is of course fantastic, sitting so nicely in the groove, but also leading the show (eg Don't Give Up). Great roster of singers assisting. Not a bad song on this.
Spectacular, one of the smartest, most creative albums of the 80s. Richly arranged with a properly restrained avant garde sensibility, it's Peter Gabriel's most accessible work. This album's big hits ("Sledgehammer," "Big Time") managed to fit in well with the bombast of the mid-80s, but it also has a nuance and thoughtfulness that you almost never see in popular music. The vast range of artists who worked on various elements is also really impressive, from Kate Bush and Laurie Anderson to Stewart Copeland and Nile Rodgers. Gabriel's inclusion of international artists like Youssou N'Dour and Djalma Correa is never heavy handed or exploitative, and adds great depth to the sound. This is an album that begs repeat listening, with new things to discover each time you hear it. Fave Songs (All songs, from most to least favorite): Don't Give Up, In Your Eyes, Sledgehammer, Big Time, Red Rain, This Is the Picture (Excellent Birds), Mercy Street, We Do What We're Told (Milgram's 37), That Voice Again
When you consider how all over the place Gabriel was with Genesis, and his earlier solo efforts, I can see why some would be skeptical about this commercially appealing album. And yes, the 80's production doesn't always age well. However, this is just a great album from start to finish.
Great album again by Peter, although definitely a bit more commercial and as a whole, not as conducive as his other albums. The songs are all quite different from each other and sometimes it feels hard to hold up a concept. But looking at the songs individually, its a album full of good to great songs
Amazing. Strong production that pieces together elements across many genres. It’s clearly an 80s album, but it’s also a world album and a pop album and much more. Many songs stand out, nothing but praise for this great work.
One of my all-time favorites
The hi-hat (Stewart Copeland) on the opening track still makes me tingle, as does the flute motif opening up Sledgehammer. Kate Bush still raises goose bumps. Great songs, fantastic musicianship and the most amazing 80s production where everything is so clean & clear. Not a bad song on it. Absolutely his masterpiece. Funny that the slightly off the wall prog of early Genesis ended up in pure pop with each part of its membership.
Gabriel finally learns he can be successful if just stops being as weird and crazy as humanely possible. In So, his songs take on a more traditional structure with a greater emphasis on melody. Released just a few months from Graceland, Gabriel also borrows a lot from African music (in addition to Brazilian and Indian) in his percussion and tropical soundscape. Every track is memorable and outstanding. We alternate between fast and spontaneous dance tracks and entrancing atmospheric tracks, both styles relying on unique instrumentation and a million different synths. Seriously, there are guest musicians in every track, whether doing backing vocals (Kate Bush in "Don't Give Up" or Youssou N'Dour in "In Your Eyes"), brass instruments ("Sledgehammer" and "Big Time"), a violin, or other unconventional percussions (the congas, surdo, and triangle in "Mercy Street" by Djalma Correa). I'm not a big fan of ballads, but once you throw in spacey synths or Kate Bush, I can't really complain. Every song here is spectacular in its own way. It's all consistent in production and mood, which is often a complaint of Gabriel's usual eclectic and over-the-top style. Perfect album length, every track goes on for as long as they need. I think I'd prefer the original track ordering with "In Your Eyes" in the middle cause "Excellent Birds" is a softer, more satisfying closer.
I kept on thinking, am I supposed to like this? Yeah, yeah, I liked this. Pop perfection. Lyrically, sonically, production-wise. Does this sound like it was made in the '80s? Sure. It's a good thing I like that '80s sound, though. Sidenote: at times I was reminded of Paul Simon, which was pretty neat.
The 80's. As oft repeated: it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. This album is the most 80's, and it is in the keeper pile. Its focused energy, surprising emotional range, and classic after classic keeps it firmly in that camp. We had Brothers In Arms a few days ago, and now this. We have been blessed. Daniel Lanois production! I'm becoming a big fan. He's hitting all the right notes with all the added percussion, drummers. The Kate Bush feature on Don't Give Up is iconic. The sheer hit-ness of this album pulls it up past the murk of 80's– the synths, the Phill Collins drums, the Fairlight stock sounds– into a new territory. There's something that goes past the cheese into this whole new territory, on something like "That Voice Again." It reminds me of why I like Bruce Hornsby. I don't know exactly what stirs in me feelings of longing, heartache. How does Peter Gabriel do it? I don't know. 5/5
Очень приятный звук. Захватило почти с самого начала. Автор и альбом стали открытием для меня.
Really enjoyed it, a lot to like.
After four albums with much experimentation, Peter Gabriel seemed to have his sound with this album. Red Rain, Sledgehammer, Don't Give Up, Mercy Street, Big Time and In Your Eyes are all nearly perfect songs, and each one is distinctly different. The three other songs are just OK, but don't distract from the fact that this album is a masterpiece. 5/5
10/10 Peter fucking Gabriel! one of my all-time favorite musicians!
A rare favourite among mainstram performers. It's been a long time, but I've heard him many times. Good to listen to again, still valid. Few people have put Kate Bush and Laurie Anderson together on the same album. Plus, I listened to the Special Edition, which has 16 live recordings.
Tellement bon. Trop de classiqu3 et une référence pour peter Gabriel. 5/5
Really enjoyed this record. I love the production and vibe, sledgehammer is such a bop.
Peter gabriel: Incredible sounding album. So many great textures. Tony levins bas lines and tones are iconic. Peter Gabriel’s voice and songwriting is great. Always loved Sledgehammer and the stoptime animation in the video as a kid. Didn’t know Stewart Copeland played on Big Time- so cool. In Your Eyes is sooo good.
You’re wrapped in his word for 45 minutes. A great place to visit.
Yeah, this is just about perfect for me
Have this album. Listened to it many times. Really good. Best track - Red Rain
One of my favorite albums. Every song.
This album is a whole beautiful world. I saw Peter Gabriel at Red Rocks for the tour where he did So straight through. Perfect Sunday evening, with a great friend and my then boyfriend now husband. Such a happy memory.
this is a magical album from the former voice of genesis. when most people think of genesis, they think of phil collins on vocals when the band went in a more mainstream direction. however, the band started with more of an art rock/progressive direction… and that was due to peter gabriel. this is definitely more mainstream than his previous efforts and it shows with five(!) singles that received substantial radio airplay. the album incorporates elements of pop, funk, dance, and tribal music. it is fun, quirky, and poignant. highlights: “red rain”, “sledgehammer”, “in your eyes”.
As a big Genesis fan, I knew that I was going to enjoy this. Yes, it's very '80s sounding, but the atmosphere that he invokes is wonderful and really pulls you in. There's a melancholy, particularly in the opening track, which really sets the tone well. Very enjoyable.
Four smash hits
Love this. It's always 5 stars from me. Sound of trips in the car with my family. Red Rain is really hitting me today than it ever has. Might be because I'm older and have had stranger dreams and felt stranger feelings. Sonically lush. Don't Give Up feels like a friend's embrace, somewhere to let go of everything heavy for a time. That Voice Again - Feels so big and inevitable. Explosive. Giant and cavernous.
Peter Gabriel is one of the best artist in the pop/rock space and I stand by that opinion.
What an album, and what a voice. I grew up on hits like Sledgehammer, and later classics like Don't Give Up (Kate Bush is my favourite artist of all time so I'm a tad biased there!) Favourite tracks: Sledgehammer, Don't Give Up, Mercy Street, Big Time.
Mercy Street Red rain Sledghammer
Damn near a perfect album.
5! So many hits on this album. I always have pictured Peter Gabriel as a perfectionist. This is a perfect album. Finishing on "In Your Eyes" leaves you wanting more and hits your music feelings in the gut
In Your Eyes is a triumph and masterpiece of a song all on its own, but then the rest of the album has the nerve to be incredible too! I loved it. An 80s pop + rock + new wave prog trifecta of excellence. Right on, Petey.
are you kidding me?? a worldly journey through quintessential 80s pop. gabriel’s fusion of african and brazilian percussion mixed with that classic 80s electronic sound leaves me absolutely salivating. The bass section on sledgehammer had me doing something unspeakable. The quiet ardous journey of Mercy street had me like a child without a blanket. Need i even say anything about In your eyes? I mean just spit in my mouth already.
Has anyone else made a synth album that sounds so cinematic? He was always so good at melody and mood. The songs on this album are of a piece with those on all of the PG albums right back to the Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. What he nailed here was the production. This album is so lush and full. Particularly when you compare it to other synth-craft albums from the day. Listen to Winwood's Back in the High Life. That's how most synth albums sound. Then come back to this. It has aged remarkably well; a testament to the time he spent building the amazing sounds in the first place.
Stone cold classic.
You know what even though I prefer the Genesis Peter Gabriel where he would play crazy flute solos and sing about overthrowing the powers that be I still really like this album. It's really catchy and interesting music that sounds a lot different from his earlier stuff but in a good way. And I love the world music influence, my man L. Shankar showing up is an unexpected delight.
Initially before listening to this record again I thought this would be a 4 star album, but after playing it again I was reminded of just how good this album is. In particular, the duet with Kate Bush on Don't give up gave me goosebumps. I doubt Peter and Kate's voices have ever been better and this is from a self-professed Kate Bush fanboy. The big single on this album - Sledgehammer is actually my least favourite song here, probably a result of it being overplayed, but that's not Gabriel's fault. The rest of the album which includes Mercy Street, Red Rain, Big Time and In Your Eyes are consistently strong. Yes this was Gabriel's most commercial release so far, but as Sting once said a long time ago, "there's good pop and there's bad pop and there's nothing wrong with good pop". This great pop.
I knew the hits from this one - who doesn’t really - but listening to the full album highlights some of the other gems like Don’t Give Up, the duet with Kate Bush.
8.5/10 Beautiful, groovy beats paired with warm vocals.
Not just the best Peter Gabriel album of all time, the album So is one of the best albums, period. It is packed with some of the best hit songs of the 1980s, most of which still get airplay or end up on playlists today. Sledgehammer, Red Rain, Don't Give Up (with Kate Bush), In Your Eyes, and Mercy Street are just some of the charting songs on So. Many of these have ended up in soundtracks as well. One of the most famous uses of a pop song to move forward the plot in a movie was the boombox scene from Say Anything... which features In Your Eyes. The songs from So are used in these highly charged scenes because they are so emotional and evocative. There's sadness, longing, anger, joy, every emotion is deftly covered on So. And yet, all the songs are infinitely singable. So is packed with ear worm quality hooks. So, is the soundtrack of the 80s but also the soundtrack for so many peoples' lives. It is one of the most finely craft pop records of all time.
It could just be Sledgehammer and then an hour of pigs being slaughtered and it’d still be 5 stars
Great! Standouts: In Your Eyes, Sledgehammer, Don't Give Up, Big Time, Red Rain, Others: Mercy Street, That Voice Again,
I have much love for this album, instant 5. (Yes, I was born before 1982, and sure, I'll listen with headphones on!)
I also disagree with the ‘1982’ person. Maybe there’s a contingent of people who don’t like the 80s sound because their parents listened to it. I thought it was a really interesting, varied and fun album. I’ve always loved the bass on sledgehammer and I was happy to hear Kate Bush pop up.
There isn't a bad track on this album, right from the moment I heard it I loved it. One of the best songs to woo a woman - in your eyes One of the most inspirational songs - don't give up. Nothing less than 5/5
Outstanding art rock/ pop album in every aspect except for some of the lyrics perhaps but here i do not care, my rating in 1986: 10/10 and in 2023: 10/10.
There are only 4 songs I haven’t heard yet from this album, and of those 4 “Mercy Street” was the most welcome surprise, followed by the opener “Red Rain” and the spacey interlude “We Do What We’re Told”. If I have to say “That Voice Again” and the hyper-80’s-pop of “Big Time” are the weakest cuts, that’s another way of saying that there are no weak cuts to be found here. HL: “Don’t Give Up”, “Mercy Street”, “Sledgehammer”, “In Your Eyes”, “This is the Picture” December 3rd, 2023
What a great album, very unique
The definition of how to craft very well a 80s pop album. Peter Gabriel interpretation is always pure genius.
A great Art pop classic, hit after hit. Peter's response to Genesis's evolution into pop music.
great album, who doesn't love red rain?
This album is really pretty good. I’ve heard a few songs but not the whole album.
Oh snap! Another from the old collection. Love this album. Ages ahead of its time. It dropped like a bomb on 80s pop music. It’s still so good. Better than most. Every note of this is flooding back from memory.