Friday, July 20, 2012

Mercy Street

The blockbuster 'So' from 1986 remains veteran pop-music luminary Peter Gabriel's commercial and critical highpoint, effortlessly achieving coveted multi-platinum status and spawning a host of instantly memorable and chart-climbing hit singles like 'Sledgehammer', 'Big Time' and 'In Your Eyes'. However, 'So' also contained a more exploratory facet that showcased Gabriel's penchant for crafting adventurous art-rock pieces, a trait that he has been steadily cultivating ever since the release of his debut album in 1977. One of the more noteworthy sonic experiments on 'So' is the magnificently moody tone poem 'Mercy Street', a hushed, yet insistent composition that constitutes Gabriel's oblique tribute to cult poet and writer Anne Sexton. Built from an impressive instrumental foundation of processed percussion, thoughtful bass lines, gentle washes of Fairlight synth tones and a sympathetic vocal from Gabriel, 'Mercy Street' is the indisputable emotional core of 'So', still highly resonant after all these years. Check out the starkly simple promo clip by Matt Mahurin, a startling collection of compatible visual images that transcends the boundaries of the conventional rock video through its inherent restraint and simplicity.


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