Peter Gabriel, “Why Don’t You Show Yourself” from Words With Gods (2014): One Track Mind

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For fans starved of new music, the official release of a Peter Gabriel song is cause for celebration. That “Why Don’t You Show Yourself” has been part of his live set since last year? No matter. We have before us a new studio take from an erstwhile recording artist who hasn’t issued an album of original material since 2002.

Best of all? It’s a triumph of musical restraint, and a moment of layered narrative intrigue.

Free of the rhythmic experiments that have so often defined his work, “Why Don’t You Show Yourself” quietly traces the same general theme of Words with Gods, a new anthology film for which it was composed. Just as that project’s nine separate directors wrestle with religion across the cultures, so does Gabriel.

But, with only a ruminative musical accompaniment, his haunting words draw out deeper complexities beyond our higher faiths. Ultimately, the song’s doubt and dark wonder lead to broader questions about trust, about how every-day relationships can become dogged by doubt, too. “In you,” Gabriel offers in a raw confession, “I find me” — and the crystalline cracks are visible everywhere on his heart.

“Why Don’t You Show Yourself” made its debut earlier this year at the Venice International Film Festival. This studio version now appears on the film’s official site.

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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