Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Song of the Day - July 21, 2009

I first became aware of Peter Gabriel in 1982, when Shock the Monkey became a somewhat surprise top 40 US hit and was all over the radio here. Based on that song and an interview/videos I caught on a show called The New Music (JD Roberts' old stomping ground before being a US news anchor), I pegged him for a new waver. I'd no idea he'd started out an art rocker in Genesis.

In 1983, Gabriel released Plays Live and it provided a good opportunity to do some catching up with the man. Two songs from that album were in heavy rotation on the radio/local video countdown show that summer: I Go Swimming (whose repetition of that line drove my mom batshit crazy with derision) and I Don't Remember, which is our Song of the Day.

I Don't Remember originally appeared on Gabriel's third self-titled album in 1980 (it's also known as Melt because of its cover, pictured above). It was the album that ended his tenure with Atlantic Records in North America as it was deemed noncommercial. Not only was that album the biggest yet of Gabriel's solo career, it is regarded as the debut by some of the 'gated drum' a sound that he or Phil Collins or both of them created and became the hallmark of Phil's style.

What I like about I Don't Remember is how diseased it sounds, from the thick anxious bass lines of Tony Levin to Gabriel's primal yelps. I always thought it was meant to be a song about an amnesiac, but there's a certain bristling defiance in the lyric - no ID, no papers, and no giving a damn - that made me interpret it as a song by a conscientious objector resisting an interrogation. But enough talk from me. Get infected:

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