Scratch My Back

  • Record Label: EMI
  • Release Date: Mar 2, 2010
Metascore
67

Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic 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. It may take listeners a while to wrap their heads (and ears) around Scratch My Back, but it will undoubtedly polarize an audience that has long awaited something new from Gabriel.
  3. No individual rendition improves ?notably on its source material, ?but taken together they form a nicely melancholy suite.
  4. These songs deserve Gabriel's serious consideration, as do all of his choices--there's not a dud among them. Yet it's impossible to not pine for some rhythm here and a chance for this outstanding ballad singer to also show off his intact talent for soulful whooping and wailing.
  5. Mojo
    80
    An album to make you happy feeling sad, Scratch My Back gets better with each play; it might just turn out to be the best surprise present of the year. [Mar 2010, p.88]
  6. In spite of the lack of original material, Scratch My Back is as rewarding an experience as a brand-new studio album could be, as it stands as a potent display of Gabriel’s power as a performer.
  7. Q Magazine
    80
    As a covers album, this is about as good as it gets. [Mar 2010, p.104]
  8. 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.
  9. He slows the songs' tempos and sets them to string arrangements that range from filmic and lush to something approaching the icy screech essayed by John Cale on Nico's Marble Index.
  10. 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.
User Score
6.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 38 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 16
  2. Negative: 6 out of 16
  1. ManuelF.
    Mar 2, 2010
    10
    Gets better and better everytime you listen to it. not just any album of covers, fantastic rendition to an eclectic selection. Masterpiece
  2. 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"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 Full Review »
  3. 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 notAs 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. Full Review »