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Released: Sept. 24, 2002

Rating: 3.152 (average of 5 ratings)

Genre: alternative rock

Quotable: “This album grows stronger, revealing more with each listen.” – Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide

Album Tracks:

  1. Darkness
  2. Growing Up
  3. Sky Blue
  4. No Way Out
  5. I Grieve
  6. The Barry Williams Show
  7. My Head Sounds Like That
  8. More Than This
  9. Signal to Noise
  10. The Drop

Sales (in millions):

sales in U.S. only --
sales in U.K. only - estimated --
sales in all of Europe as determined by IFPI – click here to go to their site. --
sales worldwide - estimated --


peak on U.S. Billboard album chart 9
peak on U.K. album chart 11

Singles/Hit Songs:

  • The Barry Williams Show (9/17/02) –
  • More Than This (12/24/02) –
  • Growing Up (5/13/03) --

Notes: --

Peter Gabriel
“Ten years is a long time, especially in pop music, but waiting ten years to deliver an album is a clear sign that you’re not all that interested in the pop game anyway. Such is the case with Peter Gabriel, who delivered Up in 2002, a decade after Us.” STE He started on the album in the spring of 1995 and “began saying the album was near completion somewhere around 1998.” WK It took four more years before it saw release “in the same year that R.E.M. delivered their own Up and, as fate would have it, Shania Twain delivered her long-awaited follow-up to Come on Over a mere two months after Gabriel’s Up, calling her record Up!STE

“Perhaps appropriately, Up sounds like an album that was ten years in the making, revealing not just its pleasures but its intent very, very slowly. This is not an accessible record, nor is it easy to warm up to, which means that many may dismiss it upon a single listen or two, never giving it the time it demands in order to be understood.” STE

“Initially, it seems to simply carry on the calmer, darker recesses of Us, but this is an uncompromising affair, which is to its advantage, since Gabriel delves deeper into darkness, grief, and meditation. It may take a while for him to emerge from the darkness – there is little of the comfort of a ‘Come Talk to Me’ or ‘Blood of Eden,’ which are immediately soothing on Us – but there are glimmers of hope throughout the album, even in its darkest moments.” STE

“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.” WK

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.” WK “Despite the popular belief that it was written in response to 9/11,” WK the song had been recorded and released in 1998 “in an earlier version on the soundtrack from City of Angels.” WK

“The first single from Up, The Barry Williams Show is a down-beat, jazzy song dealing with reality talk shows such as Jerry Springer.” WK The song “feels utterly forced and out of place here, as if Geffen was pleading for anything resembling a single to add to the album.” STE In an amusing twist, actor Barry Williams (of Brady Bunch fame) “appeared as an audience member in the Sean Penn-directed music video for the song.” WK When writing the song, though, Gabriel apparently had no knowledge of an actor named Barry Williams.

“The second single, More Than This is one of the more upbeat songs from the album. The song wonders over there being something more to life. The song Signal to Noise was a challenge for Gabriel because the guest vocalist for the track, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, died. 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 April 28, 1996. Finally, The Drop consists of only Gabriel and a Bösendorfer grand piano.” WK

In the end, “there is no other choice for an artist as somber and ambitious as Gabriel to craft an album as dense as Up; those who have waited diligently for ten years would be disappointed with anything less and, frankly, they’re the only audience that matters after a decade. And they’re not likely to be disappointed, since this album grows stronger, revealing more with each listen.” STE “It takes awhile to sort all this out – to unlock the form of the songs, then their meanings – and it’s such a somber, hushed, insular affair that some dedicated listeners may not bother to spin it the appropriate number of times. But those serious fans who want to spend time with this will find that it does pay back many rewards.” STE

Review Sources:

Related DMDB Links:
previous studio album: Ovo: The Millenium Show (2000) Peter Gabriel’s DMDB page next studio album: Scratch My Back (2010)

Last updated March 5, 2010.