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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84% positive

5 reviews from the community

Review of "Playing in the Shadows - Example"

published 19/09/2011 | Andy.mack
Member since : 29/08/2002
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So after 12 and a half years I've finally made it to Gold, thanks to everyone for the reads, rates and comments since I became a member
Super
Pro A couple of decent tracks
Cons Not really my kind of music, but it was a gamble buying the CD
very helpful
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Lyrics

"Just Give Me The Signal"

Having heard Example on Radio 1 for the last couple of years my opinion of his music had been gradually changing. I had enjoyed the singles I’d heard and in particular his new single Change The Way You Kiss Me kept getting stuck in my head. It was because of this I decided to make his third studio album, Playing In The Shadows, the first of his albums that I added to my cd collection. It’s not exactly my usual type of music but having enjoyed quite a few of his songs I decided to ignore the slight change in genre to my usual taste and give it ago, after all variety is the spice of life apparently.

A Different Style

Now to say that Example was a big step away from my usual Indie and Rock tastes would be a fair comment. I’ve found that over the years my taste in music has diversified a bit and therefore I decided to buy an Example album. With his musical styling’s described as a cross over between Rap, Grime, Hip Hop and Dubstep it wasn’t going to be long before I got a taste of Examples real musical style, rather than the radio friendlier songs that are played on the likes of Radio 1. I don’t think anything had really prepared me for the reality of a full blown rap, dance, grime and dub step fusion album such as this.

Who Is He

Perhaps one of the most important questions to be asked in this review and the answer is quite simple as clearly Example isn’t his real name. in fact his real name is Elliot Gleave and he was born in London in 1982. He opted for the name Example as his stage name due to his initials being E.G., which in fairness is a much better way to name yourself than a number of artists seem to come up with.

Stalking In The Shadows

Had I known what I know now I probably wouldn’t have bought this album. It’s not that it’s a bad album as it is a well-made collection of songs, it’s just not really for me. That much is clear from the opening minute of the albums opening track. It has a decent opening but as soon as the rapping starts it’s clear that this isn’t for me. The lyrics are really well thought out and on the whole opening track “Skies Don’t Lie” is a decent enough track but not really a song that appeals to me and has a real dance and grime mixture.

My enjoyment of the album enhances slightly due to “Stay Awake”, which starts as a real dance track, but soon the lyrics take over and distract me from the dance vibe. Again the lyrics are really well written and Examples vocals work really well. It’s a slower track than Skies Don’t Lie and had me hoping on first listen that although I hadn’t enjoyed the opening track things would improve. This was a feeling that was slightly more reinforced when the single I’d bought the album off the back off came on next.

Unfortunately it was to appear that “Change The Way You Kiss Me” would only be one of a few songs I truly like on the album. It has a hint of Dub step about it, but it also has a catchy chorus and a decent beat that detracts a little from its dub step roots, which works for me. Next up is a Faithless track with vocals by Example. It’s actually quite good, however that is more to do with the musical element by Faithless. This is the first time on the album that I didn’t really think that Example’s vocals were strong enough and due to the unforgettable style of Faithless the vocals really get lost.

It’s strange to say that “Natural Disaster”, another of the singles, is perhaps my favourite track on the album. It starts strongly and whilst it descends into a real dance vibe I felt it really worked. Again the reason I liked Example in the first place, his vocals, really take over and make this a decent track to listen to. It’s from here though that I decided that the album really wasn’t for me. It’s on tracks like “Never Had A Day” and the Chase and Status inspired title track “Playing In The Shadows” that made me realise that this wasn’t really an album for me. I thought that Never Had A Day reminded me too much of The Streets, whilst Playing In The Shadows just never really seems to get going.

It’s the kind of track that you expect to really kick off at any moment, but it just never reaches its moment. Then there are dance tracks such as “Midnight Run”, that seem to fall in between out and out dance and a slower track, that perhaps might have worked better. The combination of his vocals and the synthesizers just doesn’t work for me. The more grime influenced “Wrong In The Head” also misses the mark for me, however I can still see the talent on display here despite it not really being for me. The beat works well with the lyrics and Examples vocals sound decent enough for the style and also in comparison to other artists of similar styles I’ve heard on specialist music shows.

The much slower “Microphone is more my style of track and once again it is Examples vocals that really make it sound great. It has a good beat to the track but it is the delivery of the vocals and the quality of the lyrics that actually make this track. There are parts of “Under The Influence” that I really like. The track slows down and Examples vocals are quite calm and collected, however it then speeds up and I think loses the real appeal of the track. It is a mixture of a slower track and a dub step track that for me doesn’t really work.

It is perhaps fitting that after such a mixed bag and having not enjoyed the albums opening track that I love the last track “Anything”. It is a much slower paced track that shows off Examples singing ability. His vocals sound really strong whilst both singing and rapping, with strong lyrical content and an excellent backing track.

Not Really For Me

This album turned out to be a bit of a mixed back and from my point of view it was a little disappointing. I could however see the quality of Examples work and it is clear he is one of the more talented artists in his genre. Despite my dislike for the album, I do feel that it would be unfair to mark Example down for this alone. I really feel that fans of his work and fans of dub step, grime and dance music will really get something out of this album. There were a few highlights for me, but not enough for me not to pick and choose a couple of tracks for my Ipod, whilst the rest gather dust in my CD cabinet.

If you are interested in Examples new album it was released on the 5th September and can be purchased from any good record store, internet site or legal downloading service

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Comments on this review

  • LadyValkyrie published 28/09/2011
    Super balanced review.
  • anonymili published 24/09/2011
    Never heard of him before reading about him here. Will have to look him up on Youtube now I guess!
  • Mildew82 published 21/09/2011
    I'm not really a fan of his but I can tell he's very good at what he does - excellent review!
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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

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Listed on Ciao since: 18/07/2011