Lost in the '80s, Music
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Lost in the ’80s: Peter Gabriel, “Out Out”

After dipping his toe into the mainstream with his fourth album, Security, and its Top 40 hit, “Shock the Monkey,” it’s only natural that Peter Gabriel would continue to experiment fusing funk with world music and new wave.  What’s unnatural is that he would wait three years to do it on an album of his own, instead spending that time contributing new tracks to wildly inappropriate movie soundtracks.

For example, who would ever expect the man who used to dress up as a giant daisy and sing art-rock epics with Genesis in the ’70s to later record a song for the soundtrack to Hard to Hold, Rick Springfield’s cinematic debut?  Or equally perplexing, to offer another funk collaboration, this time co-produced by Chic’s Nile Rodgers, to the Gremlins soundtrack?

But that’s just what Gabriel did.  Nestled snugly in the midst of the soundtrack for a big-budget Hollywood flick about cuddly little furry creatures who became demonic terrors when wet sits “Out Out,” (download) co-produced with Nile Rodgers.  “Out Out” is a seven-minute funk effort that foretells future Gabriel hits like “Sledgehammer,” “Big Time,” and “Steam.”  While it’s a decent tune, it is seven friggin’ minutes long.  A nice single edit may have given Gabriel his second Top 40 hit in two years, but as it was, he had to wait another three years, when “Sledgehammer” would top the charts.

Before then, Gabriel would produce more soundtrack work for far headier films such as Birdy and The Last Temptation of Christ, the tracks much more ambient and New Age-y than “Out Out’s” pop/funk (he would also win a Grammy for Best New Age Performance for Passion).  Of course, Gabriel hit it big in 1986 with So, finally becoming a mainstream pop star, only to retreat a bit with later efforts.

Old habits die hard, though, since we’ve recently heard another Gabriel contribution to a big-budget, mainstream movie with kid-appeal … the closing theme to Wall-E.

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