It Feels So Unnatural To Sing Your Own Name

9 Mar

I used to have a lot more guilty pleasures. Mostly because I used to feel a lot more shame. I’d get embarrassed about stupid things that I did and enjoyed. Like wearing tighty whities (I’ve reinvestigated this and they are very supportive and comfortable, for any curious underwearers out there). Or buying and listening to the Hanson’s Christmas album Let It Snow (in hindsight, still a horrible purchase).

As I’ve aged, I’ve begun to openly embrace those quirks for which others often feel ashamed. Other people might call these things guilty pleasures; I call them underappreciated awesomeness. Though you’ll hate to admit, you really will love these things: the ABC Family show Greek, un-ironic mustaches, Keanu Reeves, etc. You should try them some time.

But I would like to take this time to endorse Peter Gabriel, possibly the most underrated musician of his/our generation. Some artists transcend time. Some artists reinvent themselves over the decades. Peter Gabriel somehow does both; he’s managed to stay distinctly “Peter Gabriel” while still adapting to new art mediums.

Most people remember Peter Gabriel from his 80s hits “In Your Eyes” and “Solsbury Hill.” Great songs. I listen to them every single “Two for Tuesday” on Q104.3. If they play ever Peter Gabriel on the radio, it will be one of these songs. The next one will be the other song. It’s that simple.

Even though I love these songs, Peter Gabriel is so much more. His song “Define Dancing” (co-written with Thomas Newman) appears during undoubtedly the best scene in WALL-E. If you’re ever studying or concentrating hard on Sporcle and need the perfect background music, listen to this on repeat. I once did this 120 times in a row. It’s that good. WALL-E is phenomenally animated. But the music takes a film that has barely any dialogue to the next level.

I didn’t think Peter Gabriel could up his game any more, but continues to outdo himself. His cover of “Book of Love” appears in the series finale of Scrubs – until they phased out every major character while still trying to keep the show profitable. Anyway, this might be the best, most artful finale of any series. Ever. A bold statement, I know. But try to think of another show conclusion that so beautifully combines nostalgia with hope and humor. I can think of one that comes close: The Wonder Years. Don’t even try to say Lost or The Sopranos. I will end you.

The song in the show’s closing really makes the finale. And it’s Peter Gabriel. Just watch without getting real emotional.

That’s the feeling I associate with this song every time I hear it. Chills.

As you can clearly see (you do have eyes, right?), Peter Gabriel possesses all the credentials. Then he has to go be a comic genius. His cover of Vampire Weekend’s “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” with Hot Chip is amazing. It’s a really good song. And it’s so distinctly Peter Gabriel. But that’s not what makes it special. What truly sets it apart is that I’m 99.99% positive he only covered this song just so he could sing the following two lines: “But this feels so unnatural, Peter Gabriel too. / And it feels so unnatural, to sing your own name.” I lose it every time I hear those lines.

I could gush about Peter Gabriel for hours. But why tell you something I could show you. Here are a few Peter Gabriel songs.

Hot Chip + Peter Gabriel – “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa”

Peter Gabriel – “The Book Of Love”

Thomas Newman + Peter Gabriel – “Define Dancing”

(Left click to play. Right click, “Save As” to download.)

I’m not promising they will change your life – although, let’s be honest, they probably will. At the very least, you might gain a newfound respect for a man that deserves it.

Happy Listening,



2 Responses to “It Feels So Unnatural To Sing Your Own Name”

  1. Anonymous July 5, 2011 at 4:02 am #



  1. Song of the Day: “Solsbury Hill” by Peter Gabriel « Ed Robinson's Blog - May 24, 2011

    […] It Feels So Unnatural To Sing Your Own Name ( […]

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