Up (Peter Gabriel album)

Last updated

Up - Peter Gabriel.jpg
Studio album by
Released23 September 2002
RecordedApril 1995 – October 1998
(Principal recording),
Early 2000 – April 2002
(Additional recording)
Studio Real World Studios, Box, England,
(Principal recording)
The Meduse and the Real World Mobile Recorder in Senegal and France
(Additional recording)
Label Geffen (US & Canada), Realworld
Producer Peter Gabriel
Peter Gabriel chronology
Long Walk Home: Music from the Rabbit-Proof Fence
Singles from Up
  1. "The Barry Williams Show"
    Released: 16 September 2002
  2. "More than This"
    Released: 30 December 2002
  3. "Growing Up"
    Released: 30 June 2003
  4. "Darkness"
    Released: 2 August 2004 (Switzerland only)

Up (2002) is the seventh studio and 13th album overall released by the English rock musician Peter Gabriel. It is his last full-length studio album of new original material to date, as the subsequent albums Scratch My Back and New Blood feature covers of other artists' songs and orchestral renderings of Gabriel's older material, respectively.



Gabriel began work on the album in the spring of 1995. Its name was Up from the start, though at one point the name I/O was considered. Gabriel began saying the album was near completion somewhere around 1998 but did not release it until September 2002. In the months preceding the album's release, video clips of Gabriel talking about the songs as well as short demos of each song were released at the coming of every full moon on Gabriel's official website.


The album's lyrics deal mostly with birth and especially death. The opening track, "Darkness", is a song about overcoming fears. "Growing Up" is a summation of life put to a pulsating beat. "Sky Blue" is a track Gabriel claimed to have been working on for 10 years before finishing it. The track "No Way Out" is the first track to deal with death solely, though death is a common theme across the entire album. "I Grieve" was conceived after Gabriel looked over his catalogue of music as if it were a catalogue of emotional tools. He found one major missing tool to be one to cope with death and therefore "I Grieve" was born. Gabriel performed the song live on the television show Larry King Weekend on the first anniversary of September 11 attacks in the U.S., during which Gabriel said that his two daughters were living in New York City and he could not contact them for some time, and that this song was for people who did not hear anything from their relatives then. [3] It was not, however, written specifically for 9/11, having appeared in an earlier version on the City of Angels soundtrack in 1998.

The first single from Up, "The Barry Williams Show" is a down-beat, jazzy song dealing with reality talk shows such as Jerry Springer (in fact, The Brady Bunch star Barry Williams appeared as an audience member in the Sean Penn-directed music video for the song with Requiem for a Dream actor Christopher McDonald playing the titular talk show host).

The song "Signal to Noise" was a challenge for Gabriel because the guest vocalist for the track, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, died before he could record his parts. All that was left to work with were recordings from a live performance of an early version of the song at the VH1 Witness show on 28 April 1996. Finally, "The Drop" consists of only Gabriel and a Bösendorfer grand piano.

Formats and packaging

The album cover pictures five water drops in a diagonal line, over a blurred background of Gabriel's face. Each drop contains a refracted image of Gabriel's face.

The album is available in stereo on CD & vinyl while Surround Sound versions are encoded in Super Audio CD, and DTS DVD-A.

The album, in a similar fashion to the earlier Us , used specially commissioned artwork representing each song, which was reproduced in the CD, vinyl, DVD-A, and SACD packaging. In this case the medium chosen was photography. Pictures are by Arno Rafael Minkkinen for "Darkness", M. Richard Kirstel for "Growing Up", Shomei Tomatsu for "Sky Blue" and "I Grieve", Mari Mahr for "No Way Out", Paul Thorel for "The Barry Williams Show", Granular-Synthesis (Kurt Hentschläger and Ulf Langheinrich) for "My Head Sounds Like That", Susan Derges for "More Than This", Michal Rovner for "Signal to Noise", Adam Fuss for "The Drop."

Protected CD copies, released in US only, include "Burn You Up, Burn You Down" (this song was later released on a second disc of compilation album Hit in 2003 and on Big Blue Ball album in 2008). Also, on these copies "No Way Out" has a different name - "Don't Leave".

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Metacritic 74/100 [4]
Review scores
Allmusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [5]
Entertainment.ie Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [6]
Entertainment Weekly A− [7]
The Guardian Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [8]
Kludge 7/10 [9]
Pitchfork Media 7.2/10 [10]
Rolling Stone Star full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [11]

Up was met with generally favourable reviews from critics noted at review aggregator Metacritic . This release received a weighted average score of 74 out of 100, based on 16 reviews. [4]

Track listing

All tracks are written by Peter Gabriel, except where noted.

2."Growing Up"7:33
3."Sky Blue"6:37
4."No Way Out"7:53
5."I Grieve"7:25
6."The Barry Williams Show"7:16
7."My Head Sounds Like That"6:29
8."More than This"6:02
9."Signal to Noise" (featuring Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan)7:36
10."The Drop"2:59
Digipak (Protected CD Copies)
1."Darkness" 6:50
2."Growing Up" 7:48
3."Sky Blue" 6:37
4."No Way Out" (titled as "Don't Leave") 7:41
5."I Grieve" 7:24
6."Burn You Up, Burn You Down"Gabriel, Karl Wallinger, Neil Sparkes5:03
7."The Drop" 2:58
8."The Barry Williams Show" 7:13
9."My Head Sounds Like That" 6:26
10."More than This" 5:57
11."Signal to Noise" (featuring Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan) 7:35



  • Peter Gabriel – vocals (all tracks) organ (2, 6, 8) bass guitar (4), harmonica (6), piano (1, 3–4, 7–8, 10), reversed strings (6), harmonium (4), keyboards (1, 3, 5), tom–tom (4), samples (5, 9), Mellotron (6–7, 9), electronics (1, 3, 6, 8–9), bass keys (2, 5–6, 9), MPC groove (1–4, 6, 8–9), crotales (4), sampled guitar (8) sampled keyboards (2, 4) string samples (6), Telecaster (4, 6), JamMan (1–2)
  • Tony Levin – bass (1, 3–8)
  • David Rhodes – guitars (1–4, 7, 9), guitar (6, 8), electric guitar (5), backing vocals (2–3, 6, 8–9)
  • Manu Katché – drums (1–3, 5–7)
  • Dave Power – drums (1)
  • Hossam Ramzy – tabla (4), percussion (7)
  • L. Shankar – improvised double violin (5)
  • Melanie Gabriel – backing vocals (3, 8)
  • Tchad Blake – tape scratches (2), groove treatment effects (6)
  • Jon Brionmandolin (8), Chamberlin (8)
  • Richard Chappell – programming, percussion (2), treated loop (6), loop manipulation (7)
  • Christian Le Chevretel – trumpet (6)
  • Adrian Chivers – backing vocals (2)
  • Pete Davis – additional programming (2)
  • Dominque Mahut – percussion (2, 7)
  • Richard Evans – recorder (4), acoustic guitar (5)
  • Bob Ezrin – co–brass arrangement (7)
  • Tony Berg – backwards guitar (6)
  • Mitchell Froom – backwards piano (4)
  • Steve Gadd – drums (4, 9), percussion (9)
  • Peter Green – guitar (3)
  • Dominic Greensmith – drums (4, 8)
  • Will Gregory – string arrangements (1, 9)
  • Stephen Hague – percussion (5)
  • Chris Hughes – drum programming (4)
  • Nick Ingham – orchestrations (1, 9)
  • Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – vocals (9)
  • Daniel Lanois – guitar (3), percussion (3)
  • Sally Larkin – backing vocals (6)
  • Ged Lynch – drums (2, 6, 8), percussion (2–9)
  • Chuck Norman – Spectre programming (5), bridge strings (5)
  • David SanciousHammond organ (3)
  • Ed Shearmur – co–brass arrangement (7)
  • Alex Swift – additional programming (1–3)
  • Assane Thiam – percussion (7)
  • Danny Thompson – double bass (4)
  • Will White – percussion (5)
  • Black Dyke Bandbrass (7)
  • Blind Boys of Alabama – additional vocals (3), backing vocals (8)
  • Dhol Foundation – Dhol drums (9)
  • London Session Orchestrastrings (1, 9)
  • Isobel Griffiths – string contractor (1, 9)

Technical personnel

  • Peter Gabriel – production, design concept
  • Steve Osbourne – additional production (2)
  • Stephen Hauge – co–production (5)
  • Richard Chappell – recording, engineering
  • Richard Evans – additional engineering
  • Alan Coleman – assistant engineering
  • Edel Griffith – assistant engineering
  • Dan Roe – assistant engineering
  • Chris Treble – assistant engineering
  • Ben Findlay – on–band recording session engineering
  • Steve Orchard – orchestra engineering (1, 9)
  • Derek Zuzarte – additional engineering (Blind Boys of Alabama vocals)
  • Kevin Quah – additional engineering (Blind Boys of Alabama vocals)
  • Yang – additional engineering (Blind Boys of Alabama vocals)
  • Steve McLaughlin – additional engineering (Black Dyke Band)
  • Tchad Blake – mixing (1–4, 6–9)
  • Claire Lewis – mix assistant
  • Marco Miglari – additional mix assistant
  • Paul Grady – additional mix assistant
  • Richard Evans – mixing (5)
  • Stephen Hague – mixing (5)
  • Kurt Hentschlägergranular synthesis
  • Ulf Langheinrich – granular synthesis
  • Marc Bessant – design concept
  • Susie Millns – design coordinator
  • Adam Fuss – photography
  • Arno Rafael Minkkien – photography
  • M. Richard Kirstel – photography
  • Mari Mahr – photography
  • Michal Rovner – photography
  • Paul Thorel – photography
  • Shomei Tomatsu – photography
  • Susan Derges – photography
  • Susan Derges – sleeve photography
  • Dilly Gent – photo coordination


Chart (2002)Peak
Australian Albums (ARIA) [12] 37
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria) [13] 9
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders) [14] 21
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia) [15] 4
Canadian Albums (Billboard) [16] 2
Danish Albums (Hitlisten) [17] 16
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100) [18] 18
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista) [19] 11
French Albums (SNEP) [20] 4
Italian Albums (FIMI) [21] 1
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ) [22] 35
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista) [23] 11
Polish Albums (ZPAV) [24] 4
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan) [25] 6
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade) [26] 4
UK Albums (OCC) [27] 11
US Billboard 200 [28] 9
US Top Internet Albums[ citation needed ]9


RegionCertification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada) [29] Gold50,000^
France96,800 [30]
Germany (BVMI) [31] Gold150,000^
Japan60,000 [32]
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland) [33] Gold20,000^
United Kingdom (BPI) [34] Silver60,000^
United States338,000 [35]

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

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