Scratch My Back - Peter Gabriel
Scratch My Back Image
Metascore
67

Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics What's this?

User Score
6.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 37 Ratings

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  • Summary: "Scratch My Back" is Peter Gabriel's first album in eight years--and the first in a series of releases--in which Gabriel covers the works of his favorite artists in exchange for his own collection of covers by those artists in the forthcoming album, "I'll Scratch Yours." The tracklist includes Arcade Fire's "My Body Is a Cage," Bon Iver's "Flume," David Bowie's "Heroes," Lou Reed's "The Power of the Heart," Paul Simon's "The Boy in the Bubble," and Radiohead's "Street Spirit (Fade Out)" to name a few. Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 21
  2. Negative: 1 out of 21
  1. The result of this is that many songs here, like Elbow's Mirrorball, are fairly modern, and Gabriel rarely dips into the obvious rock canon (Heroes aside). And the sparseness of the arrangements around the singer’s tender vocals makes this a thing of beauty.
  2. 80
    Drum and guitar free, with stark string orchestration, this imaginatively selected and sequenced collection achieves such a haunting consistency of tone that its spell lingers long after the speakers fall silent.
  3. 80
    But perhaps the most effective retread is Talking Heads' "Listening Wind": Gabriel removes the funk, parks the dance, and leaves the words to do the work.
  4. Mostly, it works well. Intriguingly, Gabriel fares better with more recent material.
  5. It's a decent enough, darkly-shaded mainstream pop album, but the concept is distracting.
  6. Is this the groundbreaking work we'd perhaps hoped for during the album's initial release, an effort worthy of that preliminary giddiness? Sadly, no. Is it an interesting mix of tracks that confronts listeners with reimaging of songs so deeply tied to our heart strings we have no choice but to carefully imbibe and evaluate each note? Sure.
  7. As with all covers records, the crucial issue is whether these renditions bring anything new to these songs. The answer is a resounding no.

See all 21 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 16
  2. Negative: 6 out of 16
  1. Oct 24, 2013
    9
    Gabriel's redo of the eclectic Stephin Merritt's "The Book of Love" stands out as one of those "wow, I didn't know that song could go there" moments. This same artistic genius rears its head in a hauntingly beautiful and richly-imagined remake of Lou Reed's much-noisier "The Power of the Heart". These two stand out as songs that make this album shine. In the long run, yes, they're orchestra+Gabriel remakes and some people won't like that as a concept. For those who take the time to hear the instruments wonderfully layered with PG's more pensive voice, most songs will be a new treat Expand
  2. K0O
    Jan 11, 2011
    0
    As a long-time Gabriel-fan, I am very disappointed with this album. Extremely boring arrangements. The feeling of the original songs are not there, not even in another form or shape. PG, please make a real album with good arrangements and your own songs. Expand

See all 16 User Reviews