Peter Gabriel’s first album in seven years is a Bob Ezrin-produced orchestral covers collection called Scratch My Back. It reportedly features reinterpretations of the folks mentioned above along with Elbow, the Kinks, Talking Heads, Lou Reed, David Bowie, and Neil Young. It’s being called a “song swap,” which implies some artists will also cover Gabriel, or each other, though we don’t have all the details just yet. We do have a video of Gabriel and a string section doing Paul Simon’s “Boy In The Bubble,” before which he explains the project and introduces collaborator John Metcalfe, who’s said (at Gabriel’s site) that the album is acoustic, sans guitars, drums or “world instruments.” So, many strings. This take on the Graceland opener happened at the WOMAD festival in July. We also have a possible Scratch My Back tracklist, but you know how those things go.

The “alleged tracklist” via NME:

’”Heroes”’ – David Bowie
“Street Spirit (Fade Out)” – Radiohead
“The Book Of Love” – Magnetic Fields
“Flume” – Bon Iver
“My Body Is A Cage” – Arcade Fire
“Listening Wind” – Talking Heads
“I Think It’s Going to Rain Today” – Randy Newman
“Après Moi” – Regina Spektor or Eartha Kitt
“Waterloo Sunset” – The Kinks
“The Boy In The Bubble” – Paul Simon
“The Power Of The Heart” – Lou Reed
“Philadelphia” – Neil Young
“Mirrorball” – Elbow

Nope, no Vampire Weekend.

The “Book Of Love” cover is presumably this version that Gabriel recorded for the Shall We Dance soundtrack in 2004.

Look for Scratch My Back in early spring 2010.

Comments (19)
  1. ..  |   Posted on Oct 29th, 2009 0


  2. No Vampire Weekend?
    Any news from PG is good news, but it’s hard to get excited about an album of cover songs when we’ve been waiting so long for new stuff. He’s only put out two proper albums in the last 17 years.

  3. Sweet! Shame there are no originals though.

  4. Family of others  |   Posted on Oct 29th, 2009 0

    Bob Ezrin was the expert at knowing exactly where pretty and creepy meet…

  5. woozefa  |   Posted on Oct 29th, 2009 0

    this might be sort of cool, but i sort of wish it was new songs by him.

  6. njikolai  |   Posted on Oct 30th, 2009 0

    Listening Wind. such a great song

  7. “The Book of Love” is kind of untouchable, even by you, sir!

  8. donwfall  |   Posted on Jan 21st, 2010 0

    f**k the book of love. there’s nothing that pete can’t touch.

  9. David Harvey  |   Posted on Jan 22nd, 2010 0

    Buried a friend today.
    A cold, still-born day
    Listened to Peter
    Just by the way
    Wanted to say
    A Simply thanks

    It’s Heartfelt
    It’s Honest

    Brilliant Album

  10. dmax  |   Posted on Jan 23rd, 2010 0

    The Beatles changed the world in 8 years (1962-70). Gabe takes that long between albums.

    These releases are so far apart that you’d expect each release to be iconoclastic, to imply in its creativity that it’s been that long in the making, which they don’t.

  11. stu  |   Posted on Jan 23rd, 2010 0

    Hmmm- trying to do a Johnny Cash maybe? I love Gabriel but this album is very hard to listen to- and I love Animal Collective!
    It’s just a little boring- I will give it another go and decide whether it deserves to be bought on vinyl or not. I do agree though since So he has hardly been productive.

  12. Motorvilleboy  |   Posted on Jan 28th, 2010 0

    Peter Gabriel not productive? He hasn’t released new albums under his own name in 8 years, but he’s been running a label, putting on WOMAD events, curating the Big Blue Ball project that released a CD in 2008, touring and releasing every show of his 2007 European and 2009 Latin American tours.

    He HAS changed the world, BTW, just mostly through WOMAD and RealWorld. No P.G., no mainstream world music, no Vampire Weekend, no fair trade music, or at least significantly less attention to any of those things. As for ‘doing a Johnny Cash’, remember even John Lennon and Patti Smith have done cover albums. Good or bad, there’s plenty of precedent.

    “Scratch” may not be his best work, but I’m willing to give it a few extra listens just for being by P.G. If it doesn’t grow on me, there’s still plenty from his own catalog and his labels’ catalogs worth the repeats. And sooner or later he’s bound to put out something cool and unexpected.

  13. bmfc  |   Posted on Feb 8th, 2010 0

    Peter Gabriel is God, please God deliver us from Evil “music”. You can sing “The book of love” anytime you want and im pretty damn sure you´re gonna make it right.

  14. gabriele  |   Posted on Feb 20th, 2010 0

    silenzio il maestro ha voluto comunicarci qualcosa….saremo abbastanza umili d’ascoltarlo?

  15. Lazy and indulgent and I’d like my fifteen bucks back, but let’s face the facts, if Peter Gabriel put out a cd full of flatulence noises, we’d buy it. Look, there’s no bigger Peter Gabriel fan than me but surely after seven years he could come up with a better effort and one that involves original songs. I’m actually looking more forward to the companion piece that the other artists will do of his music, because it’s his music. C’mon Pete, just because Up wasn’t a critical/commercial success, “Don’t Give Up”!

  16. i agree with gabriele (if my italian is right): why not listen and ask ourselves what was on peter´s mind when he made that album? is it “only” covers? and why? because he ran out of ideas? i´d say it´s a lot less risky to add a few more original songs to an existing catalogue of two or three hundred than do something completely different … no drums, no guits, just orchestra, piano and voice … that´s risky territory. i personally think he did it exceptionally well 80 % of the time … and one more thing: is his voice cracking? oh cmon … he´s had this coarseness since “so”, if not before. or listen to “a different drum” from the passion album. maybe he´s cultivated that husky, brittle voice? to add more nuances to his vocal repertoire? seems to me like he´s able to switch it on or off any time he wants.

    anyhow, is he not a good singer, like he once said?

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