365 Days of Songs (1982)
Peter Gabriel, “Lay Your Hands on Me”
I was 13 when Security came out, and I think this record was the first time I’d properly heard Peter Gabriel. I don’t know how to capture how strange and fascinating his voice was to my teenage ears. The rasp, his voice cracking at the end of notes, his accent… the weird words he was singing! “I can do without the stimuli”? Pete, what’s a stimuli?
And the sounds on this song, marry with the words and melody to paint a vivid picture, at least for me, of suburban ennui. I can picture a sweltering hot day, people outside doing their chores but inside of them, this whole other world of thoughts and feelings.
And then there’s what we now know as the Phil Collins drum sound—a weird fluke of a talk-back mic in the studio being left on by mistake and effectively gating the decay on the drums. As a card in Eno and Schmidt’s Oblique Strategies deck says, “Honor thy accident as a hidden intention.”
I’ve listened to this song countless times, but it stills retains some of that strangeness I experienced when I was 13. What a strange, compelling song.