Peter Gabriel - Peter Gabriel (1980), 7/10

Peter Gabriel’s third self-titled solo effort (aka Peter Gabriel III: Melt) is consistently well written and profound. Even considering the two giant singles from this album: “I Don’t Remember” and “Games Without Frontiers”, the rest hold their ground as stellar songs with individually strong narratives. "No Self Control" is wonderfully dark and sinister while bringing a sidewinding smack just before "Start", the unique 'second beginning' to the record. "I Don't Remember" is simply a hard rocking, legendary, satisfying rock track and supports the first side of the record on its shoulders. "Family Snapshot" tells a chilling tale, filled with a wonderful crescendo and gorgeous use of horns before the second half shifts tone, when we get an insightful perspective on politics in "Games Without Frontiers" all while remaining within the realm of catchy pop rock. Kate Bush features for backing vocals (you can hear her unique tone very clearly on “No Self Control”) as does Fripp on guitar and Collins on drums, all supported by an outstanding engineering team. There is a unique use of sound for a pop record, such as the creepy and eerie atmosphere on the opener “Intruder”. Perhaps because of previous brushes with experimentation on his previous two albums, but here it is strengthened by far better hook-crafting and narrative structure. This is pushed even further on So, but at that later stage, Gabriel had lost his edge and interest in sound-bending escapades. This is a great middle ground between what was completely in the rear-view at this stage in Genesis, and his inconsistent and unfocused later career. This album has surprising accessibility despite its exploration of dark and supremely vulnerable, personal topics. Beyond all of this, however, and perhaps more importantly, it is full of catchy and satisfyingly head-bobbing rock songs. The pinnacle of an already impressive solo career from one of the most prolific artists in rock music.