Friday, June 03, 2005
"Here Comes the Flood"
Peter Gabriel seems to get a mixed press. To half of us he's an eccentric, mumbling mad-professor type with a penchant for world music and we vaguely remember he had a couple of off-beat hits and did a wicked video. To others, though, he's a miraculous songwriter on his day. A lot of other folks will remember him for "In Your Eyes" with its soaring, epic guest vocal from Youssou N'Dour, or his gentle, dramatic duet with Kate Bush, "Don't Give Up". But this song, this song, comes from somewhere only he's been to. There are two particular versions that I enjoy; the first, from his first solo album gets the full, intense epic treatment, with a chorus that reaches up to his personal muse and tries desperately hard to leave this world. The second, a blindingly personal, vulnerable rendition with just his voice and a piano at the forefront: a stately, low-key but painfully powerful version that completely eclipses the original in many ways: "When the flood calls, you have no home, you have no walls/In the thunder crash, you're a thousand minds, within a flash/Don't be afraid to cry at what you see/The actors gone, there's only you and me/And if we break before the dawn/They'll use up what we used to be."