Society always celebrates the records that top the Billboard 200 album chart. Back of The Billboards is a Music Times weekly segment that looks at the opposite end: the new record that finished closest to the back of the Billboard 200 for the previous week. We hope to give a fighting chance to the performers you haven't heard of.
Week of 01/17/2014
WHO: Peter Gabriel
WHAT: Scratch My Back & And I'll Scratch Yours
You may recognize the first portion of this title, as Peter Gabriel released Scratch My Back during 2010. It was a project where the vocalist sang covers of acts he respected, backed by an orchestra. And I'll Scratch Yours, the follow-up featuring the same performers providing renditions of Gabriel's songs, was released during September. This compilation provides listeners with both albums.
First, be warned: Not every artist that appears on Scratch My Back makes an appearance on And I'll Scratch Yours. Neil Young and Radiohead are no shows. David Bowie doesn't turn up, BUT producer Brian Eno does (Eno's take on "Mother of Violence" is more than respectable however).
That's not to say I'll Scratch Yours is a disappointment. If anything, it's nice to experience a range of styles from the various guests, more so than than the strict "Peter Gabriel + Orchestra" formula of the first album.
From the 12 tracks on part two, three stand out. The first is Arcade Fire's version of "Games Without Frontiers," which plays like a (shorter) bonus track from Reflektor. Bon Iver takes "Come Talk to Me" and makes it his own, a relaxing hybrid of ambience and folk. The ultimate highlight however is Lou Reed's feedback-laden guitar approach to "Solsbury Hill," which serves as pleasant pick-me-up in the months following his death.