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4.6 out of 5 stars215
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 4 December 2001
David Gray's fourth album is, like his previous three, a masterpiece. This time his folky, acoustic reflections are accompanied by chilled-out dance beats, and I have to say that they suit his music perfectly. Gray has seemingly abandoned the superb storytelling epics of previous albums, 'Gathering Dust' etc, for the more simplistic and direct 'This Year's Love' and 'Babylon' - a change that proves just as successful. The narrative style is, however, ressurected on the heartbreaking live favourite 'Say Hello, Wave Goodbye' - a woundrous cover of the old Soft Cell song turned effortlessly into a folk confession. The highlight of the album. Other gems include the uplifting 'Babylon', the sweeping 'Sail Away' and the beautiful 'This Year's Love' - tracks that send shivers down the spine. This album secured global success for David Gray and it is easy to see why. An absolute classic from a true genius.
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on 9 October 2000
Along with Radiohead's, "OK Computer" and John McArthur's, "HIDDEN" it is one of the few albums that doesn't have a bad song!
White Ladder is one of the best albums as a whole that I've heard in a long time. Gray blends electronic beats with his traditional folk style to produce a superb album. His previous two almbums, A Century Ends and Sell, Sell, Sell, each progress from traditional folk to the technical superiority Gray exhibits on the folky-pop album White Ladder. You can hear obvious Dylan influences in the musical composition and delivery, while the gritty, bluesy vocal style of Van Morrison is prevalent in Gray's deeply personal lyrics. There isn't one bad song on the album, from the amazing solo ballad "Nightblindness" to the uptempo "Babylon". "Sail Away" is another excellent track blending acoustic and electric worthy of mentioning. The hard thing to believe is that Gray recorded White Ladder in a house without the help of real intricate studio equipment. Some of the songs where even recorded in front of an open window! David Gray has been around for a long time, White Ladder has gone 6 times platinum in Ireland, but he just gaining real popularity with his amazing music. He's even better live!
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on 7 March 2001
If you've never heard of David Gray's music before, if you've never had the oppertunity to be lifted out of your troubles, to be soothed and calmed and at the same time totally energised, buy this record. The tracks are guitar and piano based, with a punchy rhythm behind them and amazing vocals. David Gray has been likened to both Van Morrison and Bob Dylan, two of the most influential artists of all time, and I think that David has brought out their best qualities. He's got Dylans guitar playing abilities, and 'from the heart' lyrics, along with Van Morrisin's amazing vocals and 'feelgood factor'. This is a record to listen to when in extreames of emotion, whether happy or sad, it'll intensify your joy and ease your pain. It's a record that speaks to you in every song, a record that conjours up memories and images from the very first strum of the guitar. This is a record that transcends your Hi-Fi, enters your brain and whispers 'Hey, I know how you're feeling - I've felt that way too!'. From the ballads of 'Please Forgive Me', a song about working through the problems and unexpected feelings that well up inside us, to the almost story-like 'Say Hello, Wave Goodbye' (which, incidentaly wasn't written by Gray, but by Softcell), this really is an album for everyone. It both surrounds and penetrates us, and enriches us with it's presence - thank you David!
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on 19 August 2001
How many cd's still stay at the top of a personal playlist for over a year? This is a true classic and a tribute to an individual's perserverence and shows a love of his music, an undeniable talent, this man should have the durability to last the years with this being his benchmark work.
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on 24 March 2002
This album is, quite possibly the best I have ever heard. Its laid-back, relaxing feel is perfect for chilling out to, and each and every beautifully crafted minute on this album is tinged with such emotion, that you can relate it to every situation in your life. There is not one bad song on this masterpiece, from the dance beat laden "Please forgive me" to the heart-wrenchingly beautiful cover of Soft Cell's "Say Hello, Wave Goodbye"...this album speaks to you like no other can. David Gray is a genius, and I am so happy that he has now, with the help of this wonderful creation, begun to get the recognition he deserves.
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VINE VOICEon 24 November 2002
As David Gray sat down to record this album in his London basement he put the years of hertbreak, both personal and commercial, well and truly behing him to record on of the finest records ever commited to CD.
The album bursts into life with the dancey "Please Forgive Me", a shocxk in itself considering the folk roots found on Grays previous albums. Next comes centrepiece track "Babylon" - the song that shot him to the fame and success he so richly deserved. The song details a passionate plea of frustration from a modern spurned lover to another (Let go of your heart/Let go of your head/And feel it now) over another dancey loop but driven underlyingly by acoustic guitar and an amazing voice.
"My Oh My", "We're Not Right, "Nightblindness" and "Silverlining" are extrmemly personal songs, recorded mainly acoustically, dealing with the pressure of non-success and the personal battles of the artist with drink and debt.
"White Ladder" is pure pop bounciness whilst "This Years Love" remains one of the most genuine and moving love songs ever written - Grays voice being particulary haunting over a simple piano-only backing.
"Sail Away" is perhaps the most powerful track on the album and the one that bears most of the hallmarks of Gray of old. If you fail to be moved by the whistled outro and imagery of stormy seas you made of stern stuff indeed.
The album closes with a fine acoustic cover of Soft Cells "Say Hello Wave Goodbye" that morphs into Van Morrisons "Into The Mystic" and then into Morrisons "Madame George" - putting more lament and loss into the song than Marc Almond ever managed.
Gray voice is simply superb and unique throughout and the whole album has a personal, melancholic but strangely uplifting feel about it born, I guess, out of it's birth in such humble surroundings.
Simply a must buy album for anoyne and I truly mean that!
Look out also for the hidden track BEFORE track one!
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VINE VOICEon 6 August 2005
...the reviewer below has correctly identified and reviewed each and every track on White Ladder with amazing accuracy. However, there's one glaring omission..!!
There is a secret track on White Ladder, hidden cleverly for all to find.
Play track 1 of White Ladder
Press the rewind button [<<] until -2:00 minutes
Listen to the secret track!
The track is called 'Through to Myself' and is probably my favourite track on the album given that it sounds like David's having a lot of fun recording it and it sounds totally raw unlike the polished shine of the majority of the album.
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on 19 May 2001
I'm not ashamed to say I am almost 50 years of age and although my taste in music is quite exstensive, it has been many years since I was awakened by such talant. I kept on hearing 'Babylon' over several weeks recently, and I knew that I just had to have that track in my 'collection'. I'm ashamed to say at that stage, I knew nothing of the artist and under such circumstances, I normally purchase the single, but I 'took the plunge', and bought the 'White Ladder' album. I am totally hooked on this guy's sound, what a refreshing change when most of the 'garbage' churned out these days makes no sense at all to people like me. I have a lot of catching-up to do with Mr. Gray but right now I just can't stop playing this album and every track is worth the listen. Believe me!
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on 1 August 2001
Although I'd never heard of David before the release of Babylon last year, I have since bought all of his other "forgotten" recordings based solely on the strength of White Ladder. There is not one track on the CD that I don't like, and the mellow but inspiring tones are always a joy to listen to. I cannot fault itand I can't wait for the next one. Bring it on!!
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on 2 March 2005
I have had this album in my collection since its release and have just dusted it off and played it for the first time in many months. I may be slightly biased as Gray comes from a little village up the coast from me, but aside from a couple of whimsical fillers which don't quite hit the spot, there is enough depth and beauty in this album to earn it a place in anyone's collection. The many singles, which include 'Babylon' and 'Sail Away', are the obvious standout tracks and 'This Year's Love' will strike a chord with any of us who fall in love too quickly. I urge you to let Gray's delicate and sometimes heartbreaking love songs into your life.
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