Known Johnson

April 26, 2008

Peter Gabriel – “Burn You Up, Burn You Down”

Filed under: Music — Tom @ 9:06 am

Peter Gabriel UpIn my travels from music store to music store, I occasionally come across unusual things. For a while I kept seeing this weird copy of Peter Gabriel’s 2002 album, Up, mixed in among the other regular ones. It didn’t have the typical spine text the other copies of Up had – instead, it had big block lettering (the font appears to be plain ol’ Impact, if you’re curious.) It was decidedly unsubtle and unprofessional. It looked to me like a pirated copy. Used, at $8.99, it wasn’t any particular bargain, and I never bothered to look very closely at it because I already own it. After a few months, I finally just picked it up to see what was the deal with it. Flipping it over to look at the back, that’s when I went “whoa.”

Yes, something was still fishy with this, but the “whoa” moment was the inclusion of “Burn You Up, Burn You Down” in the track listing, along with “Don’t Leave” – the early title of “No Way Out – both of which are only found on the extremely rare UK promo. “What is going on here?” I carefully examined the packaging and could not come away with a feeling that it was not a bootleg. I’m very familiar with promos and this was not a promo – it had no label logos or anything typically found on a promo, just a cheap looking line of text at the bottom with a copyright for Interscope . . . which is weird in itself, Real World/Virgin being Gabriel’s UK label. Nope, this was not legit. But if even if it were a pirated copy, having the original of “Burn You Up, Burn You Down” was more than worth it – I can’t afford the promo. However, who’s to know if it really is the original and not the remix that showed up on Hit a few years later? I bought it anyway.

I’m thrilled I did – but the funny thing is that I didn’t bother to check it out until yesterday, a couple months after I found it! And what played when I spun the disc for the first time was indeed the much sought UK promo. What’s the difference? A different tracklisting, for one – not only is “Burn” added into the tracklisting for great effect (and it should NEVER have been left off) but what we know as album closer “The Drop” is track number 7 here. This makes much more sense – the dramatic “Signal to Noise” needs to be the end of the album and no matter how many times I’ve heard this album, I always think it’s the end. But the big thing here is getting “Burn You Up/Down” in its original form, unadulterated by the remix and untouched by the odd addition of compression that made Hit so loud (odd because Gabriel’s remasters, from which these songs are sourced, are exemplary – some of the best I’ve ever heard.) I’ve included both versions here for comparison – put on the headphones and turn up the volume. Make note of how piercing and shrill the highs are in the Hit version compared to the original. That’s compression at work – it is what is ruining music right now.

Hit version


Deleted Up promo version:



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