Peter Gabriel Shares New Song “Road to Joy” | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, July 18th, 2024  

Peter Gabriel Shares New Song “Road to Joy”

The Latest Single from His Forthcoming i/o Album

Jun 05, 2023 Photography by Nadav Kander Bookmark and Share


Peter Gabriel has shared a new song, “Road to Joy.” It is the latest single from Gabriel’s forthcoming new album, i/o, which will be his first album of original songs in over 20 years. The album’s exact release date has yet to be announced. Check out “Road to Joy” below, as well as a behind-the-scenes video about the song.

Gabriel produced the song with Brian Eno. “Road to Joy” was recorded at Real World Studios in Bath, The Beehive and British Grove in London, and High Seas Studios in South Africa. It features the Soweto Gospel Choir and a string arrangement from John Metcalfe. Members of Gabriel’s current touring band also contributed to the song: Tony Levin (bass), David Rhodes (guitar), Manu Katché (drums), Don E (bass/keys, “He did the funkiest bass line that you can imagine,” Gabriel says in a press release), and Josh Shpak (trumpet, “Beautiful playing, a super musical guy,” Gabriel praises).

Gabriel had this to say about the song in the press release: “I’m working on a project which is partly a story focused around the brain and how we perceive things and this song connects to that. It deals with near-death experience and locked-in syndrome situations where people are unable to communicate or to move. It’s an amazingly frustrating condition. There have been some great books and films about this subject, but at this point in our story the people looking after our hero manage to find a way to wake him up. So, it’s a lyric about coming back into your senses, back to life, back into the world.”

The song was one of the last tracks to be included on i/o, but the song’s origins come from an earlier project. Gabriel explains: “It was actually very late in the record that we got to this. There had been a song that musically I’d started, I think, around the OVO project called Pukka. It was very different to this, but it was actually the starting point for coming back to this song. I just felt there was a good groove there, and I wanted something else with rhythm and so we tried a few things when I was working with Brian Eno. The excitement and energy in the song was something that I was getting off on. I felt we didn’t have enough of that for this record.”

For each single from the album, Gabriel is working with a different artist to do the cover artwork. Ai Weiwei and his work “Middle Finger in Pink” forms the single cover artwork for “Road to Joy.”

Gabriel says: “‘I’m a big fan of Ai Weiwei, both as an artist, as a designer and as a human rights campaigner. He’s an incredibly brave man and regularly risks the wrath of the Chinese government. But his work is exceptional, often political and quite extraordinary.

“When I was hustling him, I think he had absolutely no idea who I was, so it was an uphill battle at first, but he was open to talking and we got to know each other and hang out a little bit.

“I was delighted when he agreed to being a part of the i/o project and generously sent us three designs. He has this middle finger image that he uses a lot in his work, and it is often directed to those in power.

“He’s definitely been at the root end of power, as his father was before him. So that’s an important symbol for him and I guess in the context of the story I am now working on, death is the dominant power, and the hero is coming back to life and raising his finger to death.”

Previously Gabriel shared the album’s first single, “Panopticom,” which featured Brian Eno and was one of our Songs of the Week. That was followed by its second single, “The Court.” Then the album’s third single was “Playing For Time.” The fourth single was the album’s title track, “i/o.” The album’s fifth single was “Four Kinds of Horses,” which also made our Songs of the Week list.

Gabriel’s last full-length album of original materials was 2002’s Up, although in 2010 he released the Scratch My Back covers album and in 2011 he released New Blood, which featured orchestral re-recordings of songs from across Gabriel’s career. Gabriel’s last full tour was 2014’s Back to Front Tour, which celebrated his classic 1986 album So.

The new tour will feature Gabriel’s regular band-mates Tony Levin, David Rhodes, and Manu Katché and will include songs from i/o, as well as ones across his back catalogue.

Also read our previous interview between Gabriel and Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry.

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