Playing in the Shadows - Example

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Playing in the Shadows - Example

1 CD(s) - Dance - Label: Ministry of Sound - Distributor: Ministry of Sound/Sony DADC - Released: 05/09/2011 - 5051275043921

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Review of "Playing in the Shadows - Example"

published 19/09/2011 | MrGump
Member since : 13/02/2009
Reviews : 125
Members who trust : 24
About me :
Hi. Many thanks for all r/r/c genuinely appreciated. Will always rate back not always immediately but I do get round to it. Also on Dooyoo with name hotrock4 where my reviews may also be found. Simon.
Pro Great Well Rounded Album
Cons A Couple Of Weak Tracks But Only Because The Rest Are So Good
very helpful
Quality and consistency of tracks
Cover / Inlay Design and Content
Value for Money

"A Great Example Of An Album"


I’m sure many people reading this may have already heard of Example, if you are not familiar with him by name I would be surprised if you haven’t heard one of his singles if you listen to main stream radio. He has also recently made a fair few TV appearances showing the sense of humour behind someone who obviously takes his music seriously and puts a lot in. Especially when seen on Celebrity Juice he gave a good show of his lively energetic personality which I feel is reflected in his music. To give an idea of his nature, before making it big by means of his music Example had previously tried his hand at stand-up comedy, maybe half the reason shows such as Celebrity Juice want him as a guest. I can see him appearing as a guest on shows such as Have I Got News For You, and Mock The Week before long as well.

Example was born as Elliot Gleave in June 1982 making him 29 at current. It was this choice of name that led to his stage name becoming Example with his initials being E.G. When I looked into the origin of his stage name I was not expecting to find an explanation this simple and I did find this quite an amusing and witty name for him to be going by. Example’s first studio album was released in 2007 yet his best UK chart position until this year was No3 with Kickstarts, and No6 with Won’t Go Quietly however both of these made it to No1 in the UK Dance and Indie Charts.
2011 however was a complete different matter for Example with the two of the singles he has released so far this year “Stay Awake” and “Changed The Way You Kissed Me” topping all 3 charts these being the UK Top 40, Indie and Dance Charts.

So he now has the credentials to back him up by the way of the singles he has released but does the album Playing In The Shadows stand up to this and is it any good? Well I thought so with a mainly dance feel, with an Indie vibe running throughout, it certainly shows that Example started out as a rapper with the lyrics being well thought out and tight the whole way through the album.

1. Skies Don’t Lie

Straight in with the synthesizer nice and quietly here with great strong vocals to start an album “Thinking ‘bout what I wanna say, thinkin bout how I wanna say it”. This track has a pretty quick bass-line throughout being more of a speed for Example to rap too, not quite slow enough to consider as indie with only a couple of breaks through the track to liven it up to the speed of dance music with a couple of sections of nice loud repetitive bass to get people jumping around. I feel that this track is about Example telling us he has made it and can more than look after himself.

2. Stay Awake

Now it’s time to be treated to some truly great vocals and the first of his singles that made it to No1. The first time I heard this album I thought that he had included this track way too early on and figured he might have put it little later in the track sequence as it is one of the songs people will be buying the album for. However after listening to the rest of the album I soon realised the rest of it didn’t struggle on the slightest to stand up to the standard of this track. Most definitely a dance tune with the title being literally what the song is about, staying awake for the longest. “If We Don’t Kill Ourselves We’ll Be The Leaders Of A Messed Up Generation” being my favourite line from this track. This is definitely an out and out dance track with a fast bass line and one I would love to be around at a live performance for.

3. Changed The Way You Kissed Me

Changed the way you kissed me is Examples second chart topping single of this year and again I was quite surprised to see this track featured so soon on the album and it keeps the dance feeling of the album going with some 90’s sounding synthesizer going on for the duration of the track. This track is a break up song ultimately being about a relationship that someone wants out of, not that this is reflected in the upbeat sound given by the music in this track, another fast paced dance song here. Vocals are once again strong on this track, all in all this is a very catchy track that had me listening to it a few times before getting on with the rest of the album.

4. The Way

It slows down a bit with this track, still a dance track in my eyes but definitely laced with indie influence, with the lyrics being the slowest and most sung rather than rapped or almost spoken style the previous three tracks share. There is still a hint of rap later in the song as already said I consider this to another dance song just a slower one appreciated later on in the night. Although the pace doesn’t keep up with what has been so far the track still holds its own. The lyrics aren’t anywhere near as powerful as what has previously gone but the music certainly carries the track well.

5. Natural Disaster

Starting off with chilled out synthesised keyboard and a catchy tune with a complete change in tempo for the chorus half way through giving an almost anthem style sound you could almost imagine being shouted at a football ground, or the crowd participating and joining in with at a gig. A song that seems to be about a girl that is bad for him yet he can’t get enough of hence “Natural Disaster”. Another strong song maybe not as great as the other songs on the album at first listen, yet I feel the rap that feels out of place when this track is first played will have people flicking this track back to the beginning to have another listen just to keep up and pick out the lyrics from the fast paced, catchy rap in the middle.

6. Never Had A Day

If you ask me this track has a very much Faithless feel and sound about it with most of the focus of this track being on the intricate lyrics which flow well through the music and somehow knitting the whole sound tight together. Some awesome rap style lyrics here very cleverly thought through vocals changing pitch and tone with the music every second. I would go as far as to say if you took the vocals from this song it would sound awful but put it all together and I would say it matches up to the standard of tracks 2 and 3, I could see this one easily hitting the top 10 if it is ever released as a single. A song about the Sunday after a long weekend partying, with lyrics referring to, “never had a day sober” and “say goodbye to the sofa” a song I feel we could all have related to at some point I our lives.

7. Microphone

A definite indie feel from the beginning here with some of the softest cleaning keyboard on the album so far to start and some brilliantly sung lyrics. Examples voice is really strong and sounds great in this song. Another song about being able to hold his own and not caring what other people may think about him, not as self-centred as you may first think. The lyrics “Throw Your Stones, We Can Hold Our Own, I Don’t Need No Microphone” make for another anthem like track you can really imagine a festival crowd joining in with.

8. Playing In The Shadows

The title track starts with scratchy guitar, soft lyrics and is the slowest song on the album so far. A song about playing in the shadows until late with the bad girls, whilst he has someone waiting at home that will probably disown him. Lyrically this track is quite with a few good synthesised beats throughout, however as a whole this song doesn’t really do it for me. I feel there is something missing that I cannot put my finger on that prevents the whole track pulling tight together and sounding great. I found this song to be (unfortunately for the title track), my least favourite and in my opinion the weakest track on the album.

9. Midnight Run

Thankfully the pace is picked up here again with a quick synthesised beat and lyrics to match. Clean sung fast paced lyrics make this song sound great along with an excellent rhythm and bass line. As with the other material on this album a pretty original track with a catchy beat that doesn’t leave you feeling like you want to be flicking back to the previous tracks, which was my worry with both of his No1 singles featuring so soon on in the album.

10. Under The Influence

Starting with an almost epic thud of bass to grab attention, the track then slowly builds up pace with the keyboard, and again Examples voice and the lyrics are the main focus of the song until the heavy more techno/garage style chorus kicks in and completely takes over turning your senses on their head with the sudden change of pace and sound, really grabbing the listeners attention. Another good song, again with some great sounding and well thought out lyrics, but for me just didn’t blend together as well as the other tracks with only the sound of the chorus jumping out, but this was not really enough to make me want to listen to this specific track again, however not poor enough to justify skipping just for the sake of getting to the next track.

11. Wrong In The Head

This song instantly starts off sounding like another anthem with a very fast beat and rhythm with powerful lyrics. As the title suggests is about being “Wrong in the Head” and reasons why. This song most certainly doesn’t disappoint being far heavier and harder than the rest of the tracks that have passed on this album so far. A brilliant listen and another song I could really only imagine appreciating for its full potential at a live gig with everybody jumping and dancing about. I will warn you play this track when the neighbours are out as it is one you will want to turn up. In my opinion one of the better songs on the album and a good one to download as a single track if after a sample of something you may not have heard on the radio.

12. Anything

Another slowdown in pace here, I guess it would be a bit much to try and keep up with the previous track but this doesn’t mean this track isn’t good. This track is by far the easiest on the ear so far with a great melody and Example proving that he can sing with the vocals sounding just as good as the chilled out keyboards and guitar. A bit of a love song about a relationship that faded out, with it not being the way that they thought it should have turned out. In its own way a great song that seems like it should be a little out of place on this album but thanks to Examples distinctive voice weirdly manages to fit in well. This is another catchy song that may well have you listening to it more than once before skipping onto the last track of the album.

13. Lying to Yourself

This is another chilled out song that really winds the album down and feels right that it is the last track on the album. The quick paced keyboard and lyrics keep the song flowing but they are soft which keeps the feel of the album winding down coming all the way through the song. It is literally just keyboard and vocals in this track which gives a clean sound all the way through the song and is the song I’d be most likely to pigeon-hole as indie rather than dance on this album.


Overall this is a brilliant album that I really was not expecting to hold up to the expectations I had of it after hearing the singles released so far this year. Somehow it did, I really did have high hopes for this album and was afraid it may let me down, I was waiting for it the whole way through but it just never happened. The only bad point about this album is the couple of slightly weak songs, but this is only when compared to the great sound and quality of the rest of the album. Usually I am disappointed when I get to the end of listening to an album as good as this and want more. However this album has been very well put together giving the feeling that a whole album has been listened to, and I was quite happy just to hit repeat and play it again rather than wishing there was more.

Example has done a great job here and I feel that he is a refreshing artist, making great dance/indie style electronic music. All of the lyrics are perfectly understandable and not just wedged in and around the music where they fit and sound good, instead each track has been well thought through and intricately planned. The songs on this album have really been thought about individually, as if any one part of any track was removed it just wouldn’t sound complete such is the skilful way they have been written recorded and ultimately put together. The album has been equally well put together with all of the tracks being put in the perfect order to keep the album going, not as I first feared it would be with the strongest tracks first and the album getting weaker and weaker towards the end.

In summary I feel that Example has done something that not many artists competing in this genre have managed. I feel that he appeals to the general public and people from most age groups would have some appreciation of him and his music and feel comfortable listening to him. On a whole I feel it is because he has managed to get this far without any sort of alternative persona and gives the feeling that what you see is what you get, and he is simply being himself, making him likeable as both an artist and a person and I feel there is going to be a lot more quality material where this and his previous albums have come from.

Available on Amazon at the following prices:-
Download:- £8.93 or 79p a track
CD Hard Copy:- £7.99

I would say if you have heard what has been played on the radio and have liked what you have heard just go all out and buy the CD you will not be disappointed. If you have heard nothing from this album yet then get to it and download track numbers 2 and 3 for the small sum of £1.48 for the pair and if you like these I would advise grabbing either the CD or downloading the rest of the album.

10/10 for this album I cannot really fault it overall. A couple of weaker tracks but then they can’t all be the best tracks on the album.

(Also on Dooyoo under username Hotrock4)

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Comments on this review

  • Stephiej published 25/09/2011
    Super review. S x
  • jojoborne published 25/09/2011
    Listening to him now. Nice review.
  • RICHADA published 24/09/2011
    A new one on me but that's quite a sales pitch you're offering up here! R.
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Product Information : Playing in the Shadows - Example

Manufacturer's product description

1 CD(s) - Dance - Label: Ministry of Sound - Distributor: Ministry of Sound/Sony DADC - Released: 05/09/2011 - 5051275043921

Product Details

EAN: 5051275043921


Listed on Ciao since: 18/07/2011