The 5 Best Songs from Peter Gabriel's I/O

The Five Best Songs from Peter Gabriel's I/O Album

By Keith Rowley

#1. Olive Tree

Olive Tree cover art

Olive Tree is overall the best song on the album. It is upbeat with a super-singable melody. It's full of juicy textures, some sharp brass jabs from Josh Shpak on trumpet, and the lyrics allude to feeling the earth and expanding our already-powerful senses through various brain-reading technologies. It's a trip! I mean, who else would sing about using brain-sensing tech?

But that's not the only mystery: why the heck did he name the song "Olive Tree"? Not a mention of a tree anywhere!

Hear it now on YouTube.

#2. I/O

I/O cover art

I/O is the title track, and a classic Peter Gabriel alt-pop jammer. As a computer nerd, I think of tech and audio gear, which have inputs and output connections all over them, so that the different components can function as one interconnected system. PG sings about how we're all connected with each other and the world around us, and how it amazes him and just fucking feels right.

Hear it now on YouTube.

#3. Live and Let Live

Live and Let Live cover art

Live and Let Live is the closing track. It begins with some hallucinogenic audio textures, reminiscent of the beginning of the closing track of Phil Collins' first album, "Tomorrow Never Knows." The song then gradually builds and builds to an all-out party, with Youssou N'dour wailing ala "In Your Eyes" and everybody onstage dancing. Another cool jammer.

Hear it now on YouTube.

#4. Love Can Heal

Love Can Heal cover art

Love Can Heal is a gorgeous, dreamy ballad that makes me cry every time I hear it. I love the soft female backing vocals and the slowly burbling synths.

Watch and hear it now on YouTube.

#5. Road to Joy

Road to Joy cover art

Road to Joy is mainly just fun! It's about a person who has locked-in syndrome, in which, even though they're fully conscious, cannot move a muscle, and not even communicate. Then one day the people around this person find a way to unlock them, and -- boom! They're back in the world, feeling it all, like brand new. Happiness embodied!

Also, I love the middle-finger-to-the-people-in-power artwork by Ai Weiwei.

Hear it now on YouTube.



Olive Tree
Artist: Barthélémy Toguo; Title: Chroniques avec la Nature
Artist: Olafur Eliasson; Title: Colour experiment no. 114, 2022
Live and Let Live
Artist: Nick Cave; Title: Soundsuit
Love Can Heal
Artist: Antony Micallef; Title: a small painting of what I think love looks like
Road to Joy
Artist: Ai Weiwei; Title: Middle Finger in Pink


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