Peter Gabriel 4: Security (Remastered)

Peter Gabriel 4: Security (Remastered)

Released in 1982, Peter Gabriel 4: Security widened the singer’s palate in both sound and rhythm, taking in influences from across the globe, and culling strange and caliginous sounds from the Fairlight CMI synthesizer. His stable of musicians—including longtime bandmates Tony Levin, David Rhodes, and Jerry Marotta—laid down parts in Gabriel’s farmhouse in Somerset. Then, with producer David Lord and synthesizer whiz Larry Fast, Gabriel took months to distend and sculpt the group’s output, creating verdant sound worlds for some of the most majestic choruses of his career. These chilly, reverb-heavy synthscapes undergirded one song about love and jealousy, “Shock the Monkey”—and the strange-yet-catchy tune became the singer’s true American breakthough. Gabriel continued the rhythm-first compositional style of his breakthrough self-titled 1977 debut, but he was absorbing a cornucopia of new sounds. An early advocate of what would ultimately be marketed as “worldbeat,” Gabriel was fully embracing and integrating his love of non-Eurocentric music. During the writing and recording of Security, he was planning the first World of Music, Arts and Dance Festival, a celebration of global music that has since endured for more than 40 years. You can hear that influence on Security’s opening track, “The Rhythm of the Heat,” a tribute to the power of rhythm itself, featuring a bombastic Ghanaian percussion coda performed by London’s Ekome Dance Company. The euphoric closer, “Kiss of Life,” pulses with Brazil-inflected rhythms with Gabriel himself on surdo drum. “The Family and the Fishing Net” was inspired by the hypnotic sounds of Ethiopian pipes. Elsewhere on Security, songs like “I Have the Touch” and “Lay Your Hands on Me” yearn for connection underneath cavernous, enveloping drums. “Wallflower,” a ballad about prison injustice, was inspired by Amnesty International literature, and marks another great moment in Gabriel’s humanitarian legacy. However, it was the synth-pop outlier “Shock the Monkey” that would end up as the album’s most enduring song: A staple of MTV during its infancy, “Shock the Monkey” found its way to the rock charts, the R&B charts, and the dance charts. Gabriel’s full pop takeover wouldn’t happen for another four years, but the outsized appeal of “Monkey” was a sign that he wouldn’t be limited to rock audiences.

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