Tracklisting:

1. Darkness
2. Growing Up
3. Sky Blue
4. No Way Out
5. I Grieve
6. The Barry Williams Show
7. My Head Sounds Like That
8. More Than This
9. Signal To Noise
10. The Drop

Singles from Up:

Up (2002)

September 2002 saw Peter Gabriel's long-awaited return to music after a seven-year hiatus. The optimistically-titled Up was conceived in the Spring of 1995, in a chalet in the French Alps, where Gabriel and engineer Dickie Chappell had set up a mobile recording studio. Mobile recording continued in the Summer of 1997, when Gabriel and Chappell rented a friend’s boat on the Amazon. Between recording trips abroad and working in his writing room back home at Real World in Bath, Gabriel had produced around 130 song ideas, eventually dwindled down to a total of ten for the final cut.

Where 1992's Us was from the outside looking in, Up is from the inside looking out. Described as a "book ends" album, the theme running throughout most of the songs is based around the lifecycle, with perhaps more emphasis on death than birth. Hardly uplifting stuff!

Up is perhaps Gabriel's richest album musically, composed of a vast, textured cinematic soundscape. Although the album can be initially difficult to acces, due to the sheer length of the songs and overall downbeat feel, Up is a gradual grower. There's certainly no denying the quality of the song writing here, or the vocals, which are some of Gabriel's finest.

Up also contains some of the most moving and emotive songs Gabriel has ever written, such as "No Way Out" and "I Grieve". It is a shame that the length of the songs don't work in the album's favour. The epic "Signal to Noise" has been overworked so much that it lost its original integrity from the early versions Gabriel performed live, and whilst it still has a dramatic ending, it's a rather slow journey to get there.

Although there is no denying the quality of Up and the years of work that went into it, there is an even better album struggling to get out. The shorter, more spontaneous single edits of "Growing Up", "The Barry Williams Show" and "More than This" proved what great songs they really are. Had these, and many of the other album tracks been shorter, Up would have been much easier for the average rock punter to access, and perhaps ultimately a more commercially successful work.

Every Peter Gabriel album is different, and Up is no exception. The whole album is extremely well produced and performed. However, is is over-produced – too much time fiddling in the studio is sadly the album's downfall, and it's length makes it tiresome. The result is an album which sadly lacks the instant appeal of Gabriel's previous works. However, to the die-hard Gabriel fan, Up is an absolute must.