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

White Ladder

David Gray

1998

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

3.14

Votes

5865

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 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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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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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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Thu Dec 23 2021
1

Nondescript background music for people who like Coldplay.

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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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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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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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Thu Sep 23 2021
2

Ok I guess. Pretty boring. Listworthy = 👎

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Sat Mar 26 2022
2

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

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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 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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Mon Sep 20 2021
1

Gay

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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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Fri Jul 02 2021
5

I am in love with this album

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Wed Jun 30 2021
5

Excellent

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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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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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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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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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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 Sep 07 2021
5

So much nostalgia it hurts.

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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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Fri May 20 2022
5

Really great album.

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Mon May 23 2022
5

Brilliant.

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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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Fri Sep 30 2022
5

Nostalgic

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Mon Oct 24 2022
5

top! ga ik nog luisteren die goede 2000 rock vibe

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Sun Nov 13 2022
5

Babylon alone

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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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Sat Dec 17 2022
5

Fantastic

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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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Mon Jan 16 2023
5

Nostalgia.

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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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Mon Feb 08 2021
4

3,5/5

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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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Mon Mar 29 2021
4

Great soothing album

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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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Fri May 28 2021
4

Really nice album

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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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Tue May 18 2021
4

Beautiful songs. Re

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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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Sat Mar 13 2021
4

Grand, I don't get that pure nostalgia off it fully yet

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Tue May 18 2021
4

For some reason, this was really popular with my friend group when it came out in HS. This is giving me a lot of feelings. I’m not sure I actually like it, but I like it, ya know?

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Sat Mar 27 2021
4

4/5

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Mon May 31 2021
4

This is clearly a good album, and damn popular. For people into the mellow acoustic sound this is great. I'm not totally into it, but i can appreciate it separately.

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Thu Mar 11 2021
4

A quiet acoustic guitar with light electronic processing and smooth voice. Stay Awhile and Listen

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Tue Mar 30 2021
4

it was okay

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Tue Apr 06 2021
4

Singersongwriter Folk Pop Schöne ruhige Musik zum Kaffeetrinken und Fenster schauen Mich hats an ed sheeran erinnert

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Fri May 28 2021
4

Really good musicanship from David Gray. I like the acoustic vibe of the music. Babylon is a fantastic song

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Fri Jun 11 2021
4

Turned out that I knew and really liked Babylon already.

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Thu Jun 03 2021
4

Great songs and great album

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Wed Jul 07 2021
4

Great easy listening, a couple obvious greats.

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Thu Aug 05 2021
4

1998! i'm quite liking this. i was going to unwind (after a long day and too much driving) listening to megan thee stallion but this works too. didn't like the last three tracks.. i'll comeback to this album for tracks 1-7 which were amazing. my brain's too fried to elaborate.

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Thu Aug 12 2021
4

Nice voice

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Fri Aug 27 2021
4

This was a very nice album. Very much of a Ryan Adams vibe for a lot of the songs. Great singer too with a bit more of a raspy voice than Adams. I wish some of the percussion was more natural, less electronic sounding. 3.75 stars

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Tue Aug 31 2021
4

I found the track "Babylon" a few months before it was in regular rotation on the radio. I listened to that track again and again. I was curious about the rest of the album and was happy to find that "Babylon" was not an outlier. The album works as a whole. "Babylon" is still my favorite, with "Please Forgive Me" and "Silver Lining" as a good follow up. I would listen to this album again.

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Wed Sep 15 2021
4

Приятное исполнение, лёгкая хорошая музыка в жанре фолктроника конца 90х

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Mon Sep 20 2021
4

Lots of songs I didn't realize I knew. A relaxing album. I will be listening again.

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Wed Oct 06 2021
4

Un dels millors discos del génere dels 90. 'Babylon' per suposat és un dels grans hits dels 90, per la seva bellesa i la seva qualitat, però és que la resta del disc no va gaire per sota. Destacant sobretot el portentós de la veu de Gray i la seva manera d'omplir l'espai, gairebé de forma cinemàtica.... un disc per conservar

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Fri Oct 08 2021
4

Very nice. Will listen again

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Thu Oct 14 2021
4

Но мне не очень

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Mon Oct 18 2021
4

A good chilled out electronic pop folk album. If that's a genre? Stand out tracks - My oh My - Sail Away - This Year's Love.

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Mon Nov 01 2021
4

I liked!! Big main character energy

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Fri Nov 12 2021
4

A classic

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Fri Nov 19 2021
4

Co-worker asked if I was okay listening to this album all day. Solid album with lots of great mellow songs. Was especially impressed with the nine minute closer. Fave tracks: “Say Hello, Wave Goodbye” “Babylon”

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Tue Nov 23 2021
4

A little embarrassed to admit it, but this is a great album.

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Tue Nov 30 2021
4

Ol' wobby-head has still got it.

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Thu Dec 02 2021
4

I have listened to this album a few times before. Babylon was a massive hit (deservedly) when I was in university and my brother's roommate had a copy of the album that we would borrow. I love his voice; this is the kind of album I'll put on when I'm looking for a little nostalgia and maybe a little longing for something gone by (single tear). It certainly has that mood. This Year's Love in particular gets me every time - I can rarely listen to it just once. An all time fave. Lyrics are good too, as long as you're up for sadness. What I don't love is the drum tracks and computer synth that became all the rage then and/or continued for singer-songwriters (e.g., Daniel Bedingfield, eventually Gotye). Tracks 3-7 are a little monotonous (or uneven) but I am a fan of the other 5 tracks. So probably a 3.5 in the end, and I fully admit I'm rounding up because of nostalgia.

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Thu Dec 09 2021
4

I love this album

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Mon Dec 13 2021
4

Not too bad! Didn't know what to expect going in but liked most of it!

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Sat Dec 18 2021
4

Couple of bangers Solid

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