Peter Gabriel - Play: The Videos

Peter Gabriel
Play: The Videos


The Music Box's #10 specialty package for 2005

First Appeared in The Music Box, June 2005, Volume 12, #6

Written by John Metzger


Following the advent of MTV, music videos became prominent fixtures within the major labelsí marketing campaigns, but few artists truly felt comfortable working within this previously unrealized visual framework. In essence, their inability to comprehend its potential, meant that they never viewed the format as serving anything more than a commercialized purpose. However, when properly constructed, the medium is recast as a new method of creative expression, and Peter Gabriel, who forever has viewed his concerts as theater pieces, typically has been at the forefront of this evolving form of art.

Not surprisingly, then, where most compilations containing material that was plucked from the realm of MTV feel like an endless stream of meaningless advertisements, Gabrielís Play: The Videos retains its captivating, cutting-edge charm for the duration of its two-hour, 20-minute length. Compiling 26 snippets that span his solo career ó three of which are featured as bonus selections ó the package highlights all of the important short films that he crafted with the help of an array of visual artists, including Stephen R. Johnson, Francois Vogel, and Sean Penn. While viewing the sequential stream of his accomplishments, the reasons that Gabriel has been so successful and revered become immediately apparent: Not only is the imagery frequently stunning, but the individual storylines, abstract as they may be, also match perfectly the emotional resonance of the songs they are meant to support. From the frenetic sexuality of Sledgehammerís grinding, R&B groove to the warm intimacy of Father, Son to the turbulent emotional release of Red Rain, there isnít a moment or a mood that isnít enhanced by its dazzling visual accompaniment. Given that all of the tracks were re-mixed in gloriously atmospheric 5.1 surround sound (both DTS and Dolby Digital versions are included), the end result is a mind-boggling immersion experience that significantly blurs the boundaries that typically separate art from commerce. starstarstarstar

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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!


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