NOSTALGIC OR JUST GOOD MUSIC?
I am so excited about today's release of the "25th Anniversary Edition - Limited Edition Box Set" for Peter Gabriel's 1986 album SO that I've even dubbed this "Peter Gabriel Week" and have been listening to his albums chronologically leading up to
However, I can't decide if I have done all of this because the album - which I loved immediately upon my first hearing it in 1986 and still do - invokes nostalgic feelings in me, or is simply full of good music.
Some of that nostalgia comes from three distinct memories I have:
1) Playing "Sledgehammer" and "Don't Give Up" on CJRW radio in Summerside, P.E.I.,
and getting calls and requests from people immediately after they ended to play them
again. (Yes, I have actually been on the radio for this long, and - truth be told -
2) Sitting in the living room at my friend Pam's parent's house talking with her sisters and their boyfriends, discussing how SO was such a unique record on it's own...but that it was also the perfect next step in Peter Gabriel's musical evolution and fit right in after his third and fourth solo records following his departure from Genesis (Yes, I was a know-it-all music nerd even back then, well before the internet).
3) Hanging out with my big-brother-from-another-Mother Michael Goguen in his car and on the front steps of his parent's house listening to the cassette on his boom box/ghetto blaster (Along with Goat, Gerry, Doug, Brian, Darren, Nikki, Darlene, John and anyone and everyone else who stopped by).
Those three great memories, and many others, came rushing back as I clicked the play symbol on my iTunes to begin listening to the first disc of the eight in the set and I wanted to write them down, and there were also some new memories mixed in there as well.
The SO album/CD/playlist begins - as it always has - with "Red Rain" and in addition to thinking of Pam, Mike, Goat and everyone in Summerside, I thought of my road trip to see Peter Gabriel play at Red Rocks outside Denver on Monday, June 13th, 2011 (Pictures from that trip are available online right here).
During that concert at this fantastic location it was actually raining as Gabriel sang "Red Rain", and the stage was lit up with red lighting...thus actually giving us red rain. It was a great moment, among many that night!!
As "Sledgehammer" started - a song I have yet to hear live - I started to think of the conversations I've had with my step-brother-in-law Jay Candy about seeing Peter Gabriel live that night, something I had always wanted to do...and hope to do again one day...and the shows that Jay has seen.
That song also brought back the many times when my Dad yelled at me to "Turn that music down!!!" as I had it cranked up in my room in the basement at 139 Balcom Drive (That is a good memory today...not so much in 1986).
There are so many memories of so many people and places connected with this album in my mind - new and old, related and otherwise - that I guess I can't help but feel nostalgic when I listen to it. But...I also feel nostalgic when I hear songs from Pet Shop Boys, Baltimora, Opus, Sly Fox, Charlie Sexton, The Blow Monkeys, Timex Social Club, Oran "Juice" Jones, Timbuk 3, Gregory Abbot and many of the other artists who had hit songs and albums in 1986, however I will never spend $100 on a "25th Anniversary Edition - Limited Edition Box Set" for any of them.
I guess - after typing all this - I've realized that the truth, at least for me, is that SO is both nostalgic AND just good music.
Here's to Peter Gabriel's SO, and everyone I have ever played it for, listened to it with, sang along to it with, danced to it with (you know who you are!!), or talked about it with over these wonderful twenty-five years!! It has been a great two and a half decades!!
I look forward to listening to this great collection of songs many more times before my hearing eventually fails me (again), as I tend to listen to music too loud.
I also look forward to waxing nostalgic again, when it turns fifty!!
October 23rd, 2012