The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
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Gray’s new album, “Life in Slow Motion,” showcases his darker side

Success has not come easily to David Gray. Unbeknownst to many, Gray has been making recordings since the early 90s, but it wasn’t until 1999, after his record label had dropped him twice due to weak sales, that he was able to emerge with the self-financed “White Ladder,” which garnered his much-needed success with the hits “Babylon” and “This Year’s Love.”

Gray continues his style without any major changes on his recently released “Life in Slow Motion.”

The album is both similar and dissimilar to “White Ladder.” It’s certainly a slower album, but overall employs the same simple melodies and evocative lyrics as its predecessor.

The most notable difference is the lack of electronica, which underpinned many of the songs on “White Ladder” and gave them a more up-beat feel. Here Gray makes more use of acoustics, piano and strings to convey his expression.

The album begins as beautiful strings and synthesizers carefully build for about a minute beforeGray reveals his voice. The effect catches your attention not with excited surprise, but with the resolve of a calm.It has your ears following the flowing melody and paying close attention to the lyrics as Gray emotes, “Where’d it all go wrong?”

The song wonderfully sets the tone for the album. The next song, titled “The One I Love,” features upbeat acoustics and appears at first to be a happy song until you understand the lyrics, which tell of lost love. In fact, every lyric is about lost love, regardless of the music surrounding it.

The lyrics don’t get old, however, because they each deal with different aspects of lost love. The songs flow together well, though each track is not necessarily distinctive from the previous one. “Lately” employs a great chorus sung in an interesting fashion, while “Slow Motion” features an excellent harmony and larger instrumentation. Most of the time it is Gray’s voice that is

distinctive, rather than the music.

“Life in Slow Motion” is not as good as “White Ladder,” but in a sense this album feels almost like a sister album to the latter. Both deal with similar subjects, but this album is largely melancholy. Together they create a feeling of connection between you and the music, and it almost becomes a soundtrack to your life: “White Ladder” embodies the happy times and “Life in Slow Motion” embodies the sad times.

While Gray may sing about the typical singer-songwriter staples such as anger, love, remorse, passion and solitude, he somehow manages to add his trademark intensity of emotion, making his lyrics not cliche but heartfelt.

This is largely due to his touchingly distinctive voice, which channels the music and lyrics together very well. In truth, neither the music nor the lyrics are extraordinarily complex, but both are pulled together so well that it’s hard not to be moved by them.

“Life in Slow Motion” doesn’t really expand upon Gray’s horizon, but the album is solidly held together by the timeless subjects that it embraces. The music affects one at an instinctively emotional level which is difficult to deny, even if the music isn’t groundbreaking. By doing this, Gray joins the long list of singer-songwriters you just can’t help but enjoy listening to.

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