When I purchased Peter Gabriel's So album back in 86 or 87, I became obsessive of anything and everything that PG ever did. Once I discovered that he was in Genesis, I was told that this would be the album to get.
Being a 16 year old boy, I popped my tape player on and put my headphones on and sat back on my bed with the latest issue of X-Factor (original X-Men). I listened to the first song, then the second, and by the third, I pulled my headphones off and stared at them with a frown. What the fuck was this? This oldies sounding shit? What the hell? I thought I had made a big mistake. I had purchased it with my first check from my first job at McDonalds, and I felt I had wasted my money. I was sad and mad and ready to throw the double-cassette set in the garbage. But, I didn't, and I put the tapes in my collection and moved on.
So was my first exposure to Progressive Rock.
Later on, I pulled it out, probably a month or so later, and tried it again. I made it through the first tape, but couldn't put in the second. The third time I tried, I listened to the entire double-cassette from beginning to end, and then again, and I haven't turned back since.
This album is utterly fantastic. What makes it fantastic isn't so much the melodies or instrumental performance, but the lyrics. This album is a story about a man named Rael. What happens in the story is near impossible to try and describe here, but I can tell you that it is intriguing, creative and surreal. There's a host of characters that include the likes of the Carpet Crawlers, the Lamia, the Slippermen, Lilywhite Lillith, Brother John and, of course, the Lamb. There's a factory that packages people up, a parade down broadway that includes cyanide wands, a race down some rapids, flys being smashed, a chamber with 32 doors, and a host of other concepts that are mindblowing.
"They say she comes on a pale horse, but I'm sure I hear a train. Oh boy! I don't even feel no pain! I guess I must be driving myself insane... Damn It All."
One time I got ripped and listened to the album and I swore I was going to write a Vertigo comic book about Rael.
When people talk about story albums, they tend to talk about Tommy or The Wall. Very rarely do people mention The Lamb. That's unfortunate, because I myself find it to be more interesting than either of those other two. Music-wise, yes, The Wall is better, but I feel that The Lamb is way better than Tommy.
PG pulls off a stellar creative performance, as does the rest of the band. Phil does a great job on vocals, as he does, on several of the songs and his percussion is traditional Collins. He's great. Rutherford and Banks are good too, I would assume, as I've never followed them individually. Together, the team does a wonderful job.
This is probably the first album that I've posted that dramatically breaks from the 200+ albums that I've posted so far. If you like what I've posted, and if I've introduced you to groups you haven't tried before, then have some faith here. It's a good album, you'll like it if you keep an open mind about music as a whole.
If you have issues with it, just wait until Mainstream Pop Week, the first week in September, and Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Week the first week in October. That ought to loosen your testicles a bit.
Remember - Open Mind. Broaden your library. Diversify your tastes. Try something different.