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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

White Ladder

David Gray

1998

Buy At Rough Trade
White Ladder
Album Summary

White Ladder is the fourth studio album by English folk singer-songwriter David Gray. It was first released in November 1998 through Gray's own record label, IHT Records, but failed to chart. On 1 May 2000, the album was re-released by Dave Matthews' label ATO Records and debuted at number 69 on the UK Albums Chart, before climbing to number one on 5 August 2001, more than a year later. White Ladder produced five singles, including the hit "Babylon", which ignited interest in the album and shot Gray to worldwide fame. Other singles released from the album were "This Year's Love", "Please Forgive Me", "Sail Away" and "Say Hello, Wave Goodbye". White Ladder spent almost three full years in the UK top 100, consistently charting between May 2000 and March 2003. Its total charting time as of 2020 is 176 weeks, making it one of the longest-charting albums in UK chart history. It was massively successful in Ireland, where it spent six consecutive weeks at number one on the Irish Albums Chart and had sold 350,000 copies by 2002. In 2015 it was still the biggest-selling album of all time in that country. White Ladder was the fifth-best-selling album of the 2000s in the UK, selling 2.9 million copies. White Ladder has sold over 3 million copies in the UK, making it the eleventh-best-selling album of the 21st century in the UK and the 28th-best-selling album of all time in the UK. The album has sold over 7 million copies worldwide.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.1

Votes

11884

Genres

  • Pop
  • Rock

Reviews

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Thu Jul 15 2021
2

It’s not bad, it’s just so generic and irrelevant, can't believe this was trending back in 01' and I'm glad I missed it (on the other hand I was 13 at the time so it was all Nu metal for me lol). I'm reading this gave way to artists such as James Blunt and Ed Sheeran and well, someone owns us an apology.

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Tue Dec 28 2021
2

The kind of music you'd hear on every late 90s/early 2000s drama or rom-com. It's got the right mood to convey the sadness of the scene, but forgettable enough to be in the background. Great for when you don't want to pay for White Flag by Dido. Instrumentally, it sounds like the music that comes preset on your phone for ringtones and alarms.

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Thu Dec 23 2021
1

Nondescript background music for people who like Coldplay.

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Wed Jan 27 2021
1

Background music for a sad person watching rain fall down a window

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Tue Jan 25 2022
1

I distinctly remember someone comparing this dude to Bob Dylan back when this album dropped. Lolololololol.

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Tue Jul 20 2021
5

I can't be objective about this one, it was a road trip staple for my family when I was growing up. Even today, listening to sounds like watching a beautiful summer day or autumnal sunset pass by outside my car window.

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Thu Sep 23 2021
2

Ok I guess. Pretty boring. Listworthy = 👎

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Fri Sep 03 2021
1

The singles from this album were everywhere when it first came out, and I hated it then. I was a teenager at the time, and it seemed like everyone's mum was a fan. I had hoped it might have improved upon a revisit, but no. It actually sounds even worse. The mixes are sparse, poorly recorded, terrible production, really awful electric drum and synth sounds, acoustic guitar loops incredibly weak and monotonous. His whiny, nasally voice was, and still is, an assault on the ears. And the songs themselves are just... nothing. As if the singles weren't bad enough, the other tracks are beyond boring. I can't believe this was as popular as it was, though it clearly struck a chord with a lot of people. About as bland and uninspiring as it is possible to be. Despite being ubiquitous when first released, it thankfully never stood the test of time and seemed to disappear before too long. Unfortunately, I was reminded of it when it came up on this list. Hopefully this is the last time I ever have to hear this abomination. I have no idea why this album is on this list. Nobody needs to hear this before they die. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if a few people have died from boredom while being subjected to this steaming pile of shit.

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Wed Apr 21 2021
5

god damn this album is 🔥 I didn't realize all his hits were on the same album. I LOVE david gray

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Wed Mar 03 2021
5

So far this is the best album yet. I’m going in completely blind and love the first song. Such a different vibe with catchy lyrics.

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Wed Mar 24 2021
5

Super nice. Interesting to read that it was self released but flopped and it only made it big through a rerelease 2 years later

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Fri Jul 02 2021
5

I am in love with this album

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Tue Apr 06 2021
1

Shitty synth patches and drum machines destroy whatever impact this music might have had. And let's just say that David Gray's voice is an acquired taste. The compositions are utterly undistinguished as are the arrangements. Bland and forgettable middle of the road pop. I can't speak to the lyrics because I couldn't get past the music.

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Tue Apr 26 2022
1

Helplessly boring. Fans of this album enjoy vanilla ice cream, Ted Lasso, and Nancy Myers movies featuring Diane Keaton. They eschew hot sauce and profanity. Any dude who claimed to like this album only did so in an effort to seem "sensitive" and get laid. The jig didn't last, as they soon realized any woman who claimed to like this album doesn't put out.

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Tue Feb 13 2024
5

I have a real soft spot for this album. I could debate all day about whether it deserves a place on here, whether it’s important and influential, but compared to some of the dross I’ve had to listen to I will defend it to the hilt. I remember when Babylon came out as a single and I loved the lyrics and it was such a beautiful tune – my father and I would sing along to it. Part of the video was filmed in the Joe Strummer subway near our house so it had a personal residence too. I can’t remember whether my father or I bought the album but it was played a lot and every tune had beautiful clever lyrics and a great hook. There’s not one song I didn’t love. And I think it still holds up. No, I haven’t listened to it for years, but I heard Babylon playing on a TV episode the other day and remembered how happy it made me and then this came up and I played the album two or three times straight through without it losing any lustre. Surely that’s the mark of a great album.

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Mon Dec 27 2021
2

Not sure going by the cover but I want to say more scungy UK shit. hmm it's got a bit of a scumbag electronic drumbeat (and lol yep UK), but it's more of a singer-songwriter affair. Whiny shitty lyrics. Goes for too long, as if we don't get the idea by about 30 seconds in. Sounds like fucking Bob Dylan at times. Apparently Dave Matthews made it popular. Just another reason to hate Dave Matthews I guess... as if we needed one lol. 2/5.

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Sat Mar 26 2022
2

It's better than I remember, but still rather wet.

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Tue Jan 25 2022
1

This baby food was dog awful the first go around when it seemed to be the only music for sale at Borders - on what basis is it considered one of the top 1001 albums to listen to before you die? Just how close to death does one have to be to enjoy David Gray?

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Wed Jun 09 2021
5

Love this album. Saw him in concert 2019, Mesa, AZ.

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Tue Mar 02 2021
5

I like that Dave Matthews put him on the map. This was very good. Very british.

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Sun May 02 2021
5

Een van mijn favoriete artiesten. Geweldig album! David is een held.

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Sun May 02 2021
5

Erg goed album, maar naar mijn bescheiden mening niet eens de beste uit David Gray's oeuvre. Meeslepend, diepgang en steengoede tracks!

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Wed Mar 22 2023
5

ONE OF MY FAVORITE ALBUMS EVER! I LOVE THIS! SO HAPPY IT IS ON THE LIST!

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Fri Mar 17 2023
4

Pleasing listen, and reminds me a lot of Bob Dylan and The War On Drugs.

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Fri Jun 04 2021
2

I almost gave this 3* - the same as I gave 'The Freewheeling Bob Dylan', which is madness. It's fine, singles are OK. But there's something quite annoying about it, and him.

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Thu Oct 28 2021
2

David Gray lucked out when he teamed up with this talented producer who elevated these tracks from bland acoustic guitar tracks to bland acoustic guitar tracks with a drum machine. These songs are perfect for underscoring an emotional scene in a hospital drama or police procedural, or for use as sleep aids.

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Mon Nov 22 2021
2

Oh god. It is like someone stole all the exciting bits of the instrumentation. Even the opening track, with its drum beat that hints at drum and bass, still sounds dull.

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Thu Apr 28 2022
2

I didn't mind this at all. I remember when he was on the radio a bit. He's a little vanilla, but sometimes he finds something to lean into, which is good.

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Tue Sep 19 2023
2

Please Forgive Me…for saying this album is inessential.

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Mon Dec 13 2021
1

Snooze. Folk with a drum machine, in the vein of every generic whiner on AOR today.

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Fri Mar 04 2022
1

You know what, on the first side I wasn't completely revolted and though strictly background music was prepared to give it two stars. The second side is dreary though and culminates in the -5 stars for Say hello Wave Goodbye which is unlistenable to, by me at least. Was it the buskers fave which got him a deal. What goes on on Grafton Street should stay there.

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Sat Mar 26 2022
1

This guy is like Bob Dylan, if Bob Dylan has no passion. It is an entire album of the same 2 notes sung, cheap drums that never change, low-effort tune that goes nowhere. No pace changes, no tone changes, no intensity changes. It's like listening to someone whisper for an hour. Utterly unredeemable. If you've heard the first 30 seconds of any song, you've heard the whole album. Try this: load up the whole album, and then click to a random spot in a random song, and then do it again, and again, and again. See if you can even tell that you're in a different song. Utter boring trash.

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Fri Nov 19 2021
5

Not my usual, but solidly good. I would listen again, give me more!

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Sat Nov 20 2021
5

Great album, one I own and had not listened to in far too long.

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Mon Dec 20 2021
5

Such a pleasure to listen to. Loved This Year's Love and Please Forgive Me in particular. Not a bad song on White Ladder. A great folktronica album.

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Fri Dec 31 2021
5

Good album. Babylon is a timeless classic - many in this album have similar vibes, and are relaxing to listen to

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Fri Jan 21 2022
5

I fucking love this album. Loved it back in the day, and it's still a pleasure to listen to.

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Fri Feb 04 2022
5

Quietly composed and wrapped in tiny moments throughout. There are times in this album when I really just wanted to go back to the previous track but the next one was just as good. Stellar!

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Wed Mar 09 2022
5

This was a great album, in terms of study/background music. A few great tracks but some were a bit more forgettable. Having read about his car collection and his Top Gear time, I’m going to give this guy another shot!

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Wed Mar 09 2022
5

Classic. As an Irish person it is impossible to vote this down. Slows a bit in the middle. According to the stats go...1 in 4 houses had a copy of the album. Although I think I had 2 😂

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Tue Apr 26 2022
5

Кажется, великовость этого альбома заключается в лирике, но мне так не пойдёт. Ритм гитарной песни аккурат не совпадает с ритмом дню, поэтому я не буду его слушать полностью)

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Wed Jun 08 2022
5

I was curious when this was recommended to me: an album I've never heard of, that apparently sold a boatload of copies in the U.K. and became part of the zeitgeist. And, guess what? I can understand why. This album is fantastic, every song on here sounds as though it would have been a single. I was actually a bit sad that this album ended with the last track, as I would have wanted it to continue. It seems crazy to me that it took only a few years for it to completely take off but it was worth it. This is worthy of a repeat listen somewhere down the line.

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Mon Sep 26 2022
5

A lovely, nostalgic siger-songwirter, with a grandiosity of sound

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Mon Oct 24 2022
5

top! ga ik nog luisteren die goede 2000 rock vibe

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Mon Nov 28 2022
5

I thoroughly enjoyed this album. My favourite track is the title track.

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Mon Jan 09 2023
5

Great album... had the CD when it came out but was excited to listen again when it came up on here.

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Wed Jan 11 2023
5

Usually wouldn’t go for more folksy rock, but this one is lovely. Makes me feel like I’m walking down a dimly lit street in Dublin in 1999. Favorite is Babylon followed closely by Nightblindness.

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Mon Jan 16 2023
5

An absolute classic. Desert Island Disc worthy album.

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Tue Apr 18 2023
5

Genres: Folktronica Formed: 1993 Run time: 10 songs, 50 min, 38 sec On Spotify the least played track of the album has 4.5M plays, while the most played is “This Years Love” with 171M plays. I’ve listened to this album hundreds of times. He has a great voice, and his song writing is fantastic. It is interesting when a singer-song-writer choices a track to cover, they tend to pick something quite amazing. That is certainly the case with “Say Hello Wave Goodbye”, the Soft Cell song. He certainly does it justice. Most of the songs on this album, I absolutely love and the rest I like. I don’t know if this is a revolutionary album, but it is fantastic. If you’re looking for food for the soul. I would highly recommend it. This is the first album in the list of 1001 albums, that I have given five stars to! My Rating: *****

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Fri Apr 21 2023
5

Wow. I was not expecting this.

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Fri Apr 21 2023
5

Yuuuppppppp. Fucking love this album. The goattttt. You know what that was even better than I remembered. Nightblindess and white ladder I wasn’t so familiar with before they fuckkkk. Mega hard. Outro track too. Weakest song is probably we’re not right but that is still a tune. I was gonna say mega strong 4 but I think this deserves a 5. Banger.

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Tue May 23 2023
5

I liked this one better then the first one.

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Fri Sep 15 2023
5

I have a lot more nostalgia for this era of soft kind of nothing-rock from singer songwriters of the late 90s and early 2000s than I thought. 5/5 for the soft cell cover alone tho holy shit what a TUNE

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Mon Oct 09 2023
5

Truly excellent! Very chill and unique

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Fri Oct 27 2023
5

Partly electronic and partly acoustic. Drum machines, acoustic guitars, piano ++. Very nice sound and very soft and humble voice. Super calming and chill to listen to. The intro track is great and really kicks of the album. Not a single bad song on the album - I’m sold! Includes famous single Sail Away.

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Fri Jan 05 2024
5

Nice album. Very smooth melodies and voice.

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Thu Jan 11 2024
5

Relatable lyrics, creative melodies, complementary arrangements - good listening.

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Fri Jan 12 2024
5

There’s a reason this is one of the best selling albums in the UK of all time.

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Thu Jan 25 2024
5

Soulful and passionate. A strange and unexpected surprise of songs that are easy to enjoy and have enough of a hook to have their own identity. Killer album... i could listen to it over and over.

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Thu Jan 25 2024
5

Fourth studio album. A piano forward Dylan. It's a really satisfying album to listen to. Glad this was in here.

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Fri Jan 26 2024
5

I'd never heard of David Gray before now somehow, though apparently had listened to a few of his tracks. This album is stunning, and I've really enjoyed it. David's voice carries a wonderful emotion mixing love and melancholy, and this resonates in a big way purely from the vibes. I think this experiment has taught me that, for my taste, vibes are everything, and this hits that mark. I clearly missed the boat when this was popular and so don't have the negative feelings (likely resulting from this being overplayed) that some other reviewers do, but can understand why this might not be for everyone. I think this album likely popularized a style of music that wasn't quite as popular before, resulting in...whatever happened in the 2000s. Influential for sure, and well deserving of the list.

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Wed Feb 28 2024
5

Wait I like this a lot? I wasn't sure for the first couple of songs but I fell in love with Gray's voice and the songs were relaxing to listen to.

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Sun Mar 24 2024
5

I will admit I have very basic music tastes. Part of my goal with this challenge is to broaden those tastes. But this album is just so much of what I like. Music that showcases singing, relaxed vibes. I had no idea this artist sang This Year’s Love (a song I love!).

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Fri Apr 05 2024
5

I can't recall ever hearing of David Gray, but wow, I really like his music.

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Sun Apr 28 2024
5

Beautiful acoustic guitar with hitting baselines. 5/5

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Fri Jun 14 2024
5

I have a soft spot for this album, it features some of my favourite songs. I occasionally go back and relisten every couple years, I don't feel there's a weak song on here. I think David Gray's a great songwriter and has a soulful voice. The production on this album is certainly A Choice - my partner described it as sounding like a bad MP3. But I reckon it works here. Sorry to the music snobs that it's not some pretentious classic rock featuring five guys with guitars manifested in the smell of your own farts.

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Fri Jul 12 2024
5

New to me. Mellow & I bet you didn’t know it’s ENGLISH!

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Wed Feb 24 2021
4

2/23 He bodied this genre combo, real dope mix of electronic production with deep folk vocals. Standout Tracks: Please Forgive Me, My Oh My, Nightblindness, This Year's Love, Say Hello Wave Goodbye

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Tue Jul 06 2021
4

Something about this album that is actually soothing and enjoyable. Nice voice, the electronics are a nice added touch

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Thu Jun 03 2021
4

Surprisingly great album, even outside of This Year's Love

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Wed Jul 14 2021
4

A good folk album, easy listening.

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Fri Jan 15 2021
4

Really loved. Reminded me of Alicia.

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Fri Jan 15 2021
4

Enjoyed this. Quite chilled, laidback electronica - with acoustic guitars leading the music. I do have a soft-spot for late-90s dance/electronica. It was a bit more moody than I expected, as I only knew Babylon before listening. Babylon was the obvious standout though, and also This Year's Love.

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Fri May 14 2021
4

Really surprised I don't recognize this artist, because I did recognize some songs, and most were bangers! A little short of a 'GREAT' album, it was still really nice to check out.

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Tue Jan 19 2021
4

Schönes Ding, ruhige Sonntagsplatte hab zwei Songs gespeichert

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Thu May 13 2021
4

I'll never choose this, but totally appreciate the quality

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Sun Mar 21 2021
4

This is a great album. Smooth, chill, and yet soulful. You can hear the origin story of artists from James Blunt to Ed Sheeran, but David is not nearly as smarmy or annoying as James or Ed. You can also hear why Dave Matthews liked it too.

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Sun Mar 21 2021
4

Oh! That song is called Babylon. Someone likes Dylan, got it.

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Tue Mar 02 2021
4

Enjoyed this a lot. Great emotion in his vocals and the acoustic adds great warmth to his sound. Piano was well selected on a few points. Wave Hello, Say Goodbye was such a good departing track.

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Sat Mar 06 2021
4

Chill! Pretty voice! Solid 4 for me

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Sat Mar 06 2021
4

pretty nice album! not really my go-to style but its good. my least favorite part is the Eddie Vedder-y singing style

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Wed Apr 07 2021
4

I used to listen to this album a lot in college. I think it's a bit harder now, but I still enjoy it sometimes.

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