That Voice Again

Album: So (1986)
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Songfacts®:

  • Peter Gabriel said this song is "about judgmental attitudes being a barrier between people." The "voice" represents judgment.
  • The original title was "First Stone." Gabriel changed it so it would be more personal and less biblical.
  • Gabriel wrote three sets of lyrics before his guitarist, David Rhodes, helped him write the ones he would use. The singer's laborious approach to songwriting frustrated producer Daniel Lanois to the point of him locking Gabriel in a barn (converted to a studio space) to force him to finish lyrics. The stunt nearly got him fired.
  • Gabriel envisioned this song as part of his story about Mozo, a character who pops into people's lives to alter their course. Mozo shows up by name in his 1978 song "On The Air," and elements of the story appear on the tracks "Here Comes The Flood" and "Down The Dolce Vita." "That Voice Again" was Gabriel's last song associated with the story, which he never turned into a stage production or movie like he intended.
  • Gabriel told Musician magazine in 1987 that there's a Byrds influence on this track. He added: "I'd rejected 12-string after Genesis, but I felt that ten years was long enough, so I explored the sound again. The innovation of the chorus pedal has made the effect very familiar, but it still doesn't compare with two live tracks of sound reacting with each other."
  • Gabriel co-produced the album with Lanois, who had worked with him on the soundtrack to the movie Birdy, starring Nicolas Cage. For So, Lanois was on a mission to get Gabriel to open up - something the singer was learning how to do in therapy. "I wanted people to understand what he's about and to cut through the mask," Lanois told Rolling Stone in 1987. "He's a man who has hidden behind a mask before. Literally. But my pet project at the time was, What's happening behind this mask? How are we going to get inside him and get it to the foreground? Cut the crap, you know?"

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