So [25th anniversary edition] - REAL WORLD/EMI
FILTER Grade: 87%
By Nevin Martell on October 31, 2012
Driven by the funk-flecked “Big Time,” the rallying ballad “Don’t Give Up” and the Lloyd Dobler–approved “In Your Eyes,” So was a pitch-perfect album that balanced art and activism. In this expanded edition—which has been resequenced to match Gabriel’s original vision—rough demos reveal each song’s DNA, but most of them remain more of a scientific curiosity than a repeat-listen proposition. Much more compelling is an unreleased 1987 concert that captures the pan-global pop star transforming So’s songs and a few earlier hits into stadium-sized sing-alongs. Listening to these rousing renditions a quarter-century later, the light and the heat still shine strong.