Meaning of Peter Gabriel’s And Still
And Still is the penultimate track on the playlist of Peter Gabriel’s album I/O. As with the other songs on the project, it is treated to three different mixes in total, the “Bright-Side Mix”, the “Dark-Side Mix” and the “In-Side Mix”.
Also as with the 11 other songs on the album, this one was also given the single treatment, coming out as such during November 2023 via Gabriel’s Real World Records. Each of the songs on I/O were accordingly granted their own cover art, and Peter revealed And Still was the first he recruited such an artist for, one of his personal favorites in Megan Rooney. And the piece which graces the cover has a name similar to the song, itself being called And Still (Time).
Letting the cat out of the bag early, Gabriel composed And Still in memory of his late mom, Edith Irene Gabriel, who passed away in 2016. And in writing/producing this track, he set out to incorporate the type of music his parents favored, i.e. 1940s’ tunes, as well as acknowledging his mom’s love for classical music by including a cello(s). Peter also let it be known that he had to step back for some time after the passing of his mother before composing this song, until he got to a point where he “felt comfortable and distant enough to be able to write something”.
Analyzing the Lyrics to And Still
Lyrically, this may be the easiest to understand song on the entirety of I/O, despite the wording being quite poetic. It isn’t challenging to put together that the addressee is someone who has passed away, i.e. a deceased loved one of the vocalist. And it can also be readily gathered that this is someone Peter has known from youth. But beyond that this song has a general applicability, in that it is never specified that the vocalist is singing to/of his mother.
The sentiments being expressed are primarily twofold. On one hand the vocalist is obviously mourning the departure of the addressee, while concurrently noting how he still feels this person’s presence. But as far as the title is concerned, what it speaks to is Gabriel also acknowledging how the world will keep moving on, even though he has suffered such a significant loss. And that is apparently another reason why he is pointing out his lingering feelings for the addressee, which can be taken as the thesis sentiment of this piece. That is to say that as the vocalist proceeds forward in life, as far as the outside world is concerned nothing has changed with the passing of his loved one. But internally, there is a place in his heart that will always be reserved for the beloved deceased.