Considering the slow trickle of completed albums he has released since becoming a superstar in 1986 – just two albums of songs with vocals, paired with two albums of soundtracks and two live records – deliberate is expected from Peter Gabriel, so the slow, hushed crawl of Scratch My Back is no shock. What may be a shock is that Gabriel chose to follow 2002’s Up with a covers album but, like all of his work, this 2010 record is highly conceptual no matter how minimal the end result may be.
Almost every one of Peter Gabriel’s best-laid plans winds up going awry, and so it was with Scratch My Back, his 2010 collection of orchestral covers of some of his favorite songs. He had hoped to have the artists he covered return the favor by interpreting his songs but that project never got off the ground, so he pursued New Blood, an album where he turned that orchestra upon his own songs.
The possibility of Someday World arose when Brian Eno invited Underworld vocalist Karl Hyde to listen to a series of intros he'd been unable to finish. The pair share a love for African horns and rhythms as well as dance music of all stripes. Eno enlisted 22-year-old Fred Gibson as a co-producer, and numerous friends including Andy Mackay and Coldplay's Will Champion. As much as this album is a collaborative venture – Hyde's vocal and lyrics are indeed signatures – its music is impossible to separate from Eno's career. References to his first four solo records are ample, as is his work with Talking Heads, David Byrne, and even David Bowie.
So this is where we find our hero in 2003. Dropped from his major label and absent his trademark flowing golden locks, Vintage presents his fans with yet another set of standout ballads and standards done only the way the Bolton can. Kicking out the jams early on with "The Very Thought of You," the tone is set right away for the album as a perfect musical accompaniment to a romantic dinner. The smooth, sultry tone is brought to a rousing climax with his re-interpretation of Etta James' classic "At Last." The fun continues onward with "Daddy's Little Girl," which was featured prominently in an ad campaign. Vintage closes with the potent but loaded question of "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?," a stunning finish to an album sure to appease even the most loyal of his fans.
Self-involved corporate raider Edward Lewis (Richard Gere) has recently split up with his girlfriend. Seeking directions to the Beverly Hills Hotel, he makes the acquaintance of free-spirited hooker Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts) and decides to put her on a 3,000-dollar retainer as his "date." He Cinderellarizes her by bankrolling a full wardrobe and cosmetic makeover. Of course, the setup will be strictly platonic. A disarming modern-day fairy tale, Pretty Woman was the picture that made Julia Roberts a superstar. As charming as she is in her "giggling" sequences, Roberts' best scene is her triumphant return to a posh Rodeo Drive shop where she'd been previously snubbed. Keeping Pretty Woman afloat throughout is the buoyant direction of Garry Marshall and the always welcome presence of Marshall's stock company of actors, including Hector Elizondo as a stuffy but golden-hearted concierge. Pretty Woman began its life as a much darker story of prostitutes and homicidal drug dealers, but more box-office-savvy heads ultimately prevailed.