Serious Peter Gabriel fans will tell you it’s impossible to judge a new album until enough time has passed and a longer narrative can be read. It took 10 years for this follow-up to Us to surface; expectations were high, and it was uncertain if the fans who’d been adventurous when Melt, Security, or So were released would be accepting years later. Gabriel is, after all, a man who doesn’t write what he thinks his fans will want, but what he knows he needs. And Up has been followed with an album of covers, another of orchestral re-recordings of older songs, a live album, and a greatest-hits collection, making Us a focal point of Gabriel's recent work. Its songs—with their emphasis on birth and, more often, life working toward death—sound ever more desperate. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan died before the completion of “Signal to Noise.” Yet, if one lets Up be “just” an album, songs such as “Darkness,” “Growing Up,” “No Way Out,” “I Grieve,” and “Signal to Noise” work beautifully as songs.

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