"The place where I come from is a small town
They think so small, they use small words
But not me; I'm smarter than that
I've worked it out
I'll be stretching my mouth to make those big words come right out"
is the fifth studio album by singer-songwriter Peter Gabriel
, released in May of 1986. It has become his most successful album commercially, and it also fared well critically, appearing on the Rolling Stone
's "Top 100 Albums of the Eighties" list, taking the number 14 spot. The album is considered to be Gabriel's Magnum Opus
. A documentary about the creative process behind the making of this album can be seen in the Classic Albums
TV documentary series.
- "Red Rain" (5:39)
- "Sledgehammer" (5:12)
- "Don't Give Up" (feat. Kate Bush) (6:33)
- "That Voice Again" (4:53)
- "In Your Eyes" (5:27)
- "Mercy Street" (6:22)
- "Big Time" (4:28)
- "We Do What We're Told (Milgram's 37)" (3:22)
- "This Is The Picture (Excellent Birds)" (feat. Laurie Anderson) (4:25) (CD bonus track)
This are the Tropes (Excellent Tropes):
- Alliterative Title: "Red Rain"
- And Starring: Kate Bush sings along during "Don't Give Up".
- Book Ends: The video for "Big Time" both begins and ends with Gabriel, with a Fake American accent, saying "Hi there!". The song itself just has that part in the intro.
- Broken Record: "Big Time" has the word "big" repeated ad finitum near the end.
- Downer Ending: "In Your Eyes" was written to win back a woman Peter lost — it didn't work. (It did, however, work for Lloyd.)
- Epic Rocking: "Red Rain".
- Face on the Cover: Gabriel's face in close-up.
- God Is Love Song: "In Your Eyes" is sometimes mentioned by Peter as being this.
- Heroic BSOD: "Don't Give Up" is about a man driven to suicidal depression after becoming unemployed.
- Intercourse with You: "Sledgehammer".
Oh let me be your sledgehammer
This will be my testimony
Show me round your fruitcage
Cause I will be your honey bee
Open up your fruitcage
Where the fruit is as sweet as can be
- Lyrical Cold Open: "Big Time".
- Minimalistic Cover Art: The vinyl covers (except the 25th anniversary version cover) only feature the photo of Gabriel, without text. The other formats are aversions of this.
- Money Song / "I Want" Song: Again, "Big Time".
- New Sound Album: Compared to his previous albums.
- One-Word Title: "So" and "Sledgehammer".
- Special Guest: Kate Bush on "Don't Give Up" and Laurie Anderson on "This Is The Picture (Excellent Birds)".
- Unusual Euphemism: "Sledgehammer" is about Gabriel's "sledgehammer".
- Viewers Are Geniuses: "Milgram's 37", as those who pay attention to psychologists know, is about Stanley Milgram's subjects in his shock experiments, "Mercy Street" is about/Inspired By the works of the late poet Anne Sexton, who wrote the source of the song's title - 45 Mercy Street.