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 20/09/2011 | daisyleex
Member since : 24/05/2011
Reviews : 1047
Members who trust : 0
About me :
Pro A decent album to dance to
Cons Not many 'meaningful' songs, repetitive
very helpful
Quality and consistency of tracks
Cover / Inlay Design and Content
Value for Money

"Example - Playing In The Shadows"

Playing In The Shadows - Example

Playing In The Shadows - Example


I am a massive fan of Example and own every one of his albums. I first came across his songs around 3 years ago when my ex at the time was planning on doing a collaboration project with him (wishful thinking!), and despite thinking I would hate his songs, I actually really began to enjoy his whole 'sound' and distinct song style/voice, and I now recognise his voice/songs a mile off whenever I hear them on the radio. I do prefer his earlier work to be perfectly honest, however after hearing quite a few of the singles from this album on the radio, I decided to purchase the CD and see what the other songs were like. Example is pretty popular and well known (mainly amongst the younger generation), however for anyone who doesn't know who Example is, he is a singer and rapper from Fulham, London. His music consists of electro, rap, mc'ing, hip hop, grime and dubstep. Some of his albums, especially the earlier ones, also include tracks that are essentially cheesey over-the-top takes on pop songs which are very entertaining! I also enjoy the more meaningful, serious songs and he is a suprisingly good singer in my personal opinion. Example's real name is Elliott Gleave. Get it? His initials are EG! Clever nickname eh, lol.

Playing In The Shadows

Playing In The Shadows is Example's third studio album and was released very recently - 4th September 2011. Despite this album been classed by critics as more dance/dubstep orientated than his past work, I decided to purchase it on iTunes and give it a listen. I paid £8 for 12 track album which I think is a pretty decent price considering the run time of the album and the ammount of songs. Obviously because this album is very recent it is at its highest price so if you are unsure if you will like the music on this album I would reccomend waiting a few months until the price comes down. Aswell as iTunes, it is also available from most well known shops such as HMV, Play, etc and ofcourse Supermarkets such as Tesco and Asda. The album art work is quite simple really and shows a portrait photo of Example. The picture has a black and white theme and half of Examples face is blacked out which reflects the album name (playing in the shadows) and I think has the underlying meaning that he has a dark side to him. The title of the album is shown beneath this picture and is written in small white font. Above the title album there is a rectangular yellow sign which has 'Example' written on it in black writing. The tracklist is on the back of the album in white writing on a black background and it is simple and clear enough to read, although I don't actually own the physical album myself and instead have the digital version which had the album covers included in JPEG format.

What Does It Sound Like?

This album is definetly much darker than his most popular album Won't Go Quietly, and is definetly more personal and less 'fun' which I was suprised by because most of the songs have quite an upbeat feel to them but if you actually listen to the lyrics they are pretty meaningful and at times relateable. The subject matter mainly focuses on Example's feelings and experiences and his struggle with coming to terms with fame, and resisting the temptations which come along with the fame and money such as drugs and girls, which he isn't very successful at resisting at all if he has gotten upto anything he describes in his album in real life! At first I felt quite.. well, underwhelmed, as I was expecting the songs to be the type you can dance around to like a nutter but there is more to this album than meets the eye. The album does have some heavy bass parts but it definetly is more 'clubland' like, lol which I am not too keen on and it could do with much more dubstep for me personally but i'm sure most people won't mind too much and despite the lack of Dubstep and heavier instrumentals it is still a great album and it definetly grew on me. I definetly think that Elliott/Example has grown up alot in this album since his last album, having shred his chavvy stoner type image and smartened up with a sleek hair do and designer sunnies. He seems much more mature and aware of himself although I am not keen on the whole dance route he seems so eager to go down as I much preferred his rapping and singing style, although luckily there is some of this present in the album.

The Songs

Track 1 Skies Don't Lie

Skies don't lie is the album's opening track, and it definetly does the job well! It's a complete success in kicking the sound of the album off to a great start however I do feel like it's track one to draw people in as none of the other tracks are anywhere near as strong as this in my opinion - it's very upbeat with strong vocals and dupstep which gave me the impression that the album was going to be a very grimey kind of album which it isn't. The song reminds me alot of 'From Space' (a previous song by Example), and his rapping is really fast which leads to a real rush of a chorus which really gets me up and dancing. I am not too keen on the electro beat but luckily there is some bass and dubstep mixed in there. It's also got a very slight hint of pop rock mixed in there too which I like.
Track 2 Stay Awake

This is one that's been all over the radio's lately so i'm sure alot of people will recognise it if they hear it even if they don't realise it is a song by Example. The chorus is the best bit of the song and it has meaning to it. At around the 1 min mark it drops and then goes into a dance sort of track. The lyrics are quite repetitive so are easy to sing along to. It's not the best song on the album, nor is it my favourite but it's not a bad song.
Track 3 Changed the Way You Kiss Me

This is probably the most well known song on this album and featured as Zane Lowe's 'Hottest Record In The World' on Radio 1. It stayed at number 1 for 2 weeks and sold over 115,000 copies in its first week of been released. The song is very trance influenced and is quite repetitive - there's not a huge amount going on in the song apart from Example singing about breaking up with a girl. It reminds me alot of the song 'watch the sun come up' but isn't as grimey - it's more like techno. I really liked this song when it first came out but unfortunetly due to how much it has been overplayed on the radios and in clubs I have become slightly sick of it! It's still a nice song to dance to though but it's more disco-ey than nightclub-ey if that makes sense!! It is quite a good song when you actually listen to the lyrics. They're not hugely in depth but the basis of the song (breaking up, not feeling about the same about someone anymore) is quite relateable in my opinion and because the lyrics are quite repetitive the song is easy and fun to sing along to. I do like Examples singing in this however it does sound noticeabley auto tuned (without been too harsh).
Track 4 The Way

I love the intro to this song. It's got a nice soul sort of feel to it and Example's vocals are gentle and have a slight indie twang. The beat reminds me of a Faithless song and is slowly picks up speed and emotion and by the 1 minute and 18 second mark it gets more and more intense, with it exploding into a trance-like beat at around 1 minute and 50 seconds. The beat then switches again at around the 2 minute mark into a dubstep beat. Example both raps and sings in this song which shows off his ability of been both a good singer and rapper. I really love the chorus, it's very nicely tuned and the vocals are gentle enough to be relateable. The lyrics are about him wanting guideance in his life.
Track 5 Natural Disaster

Well I really didn't like this at first, it was like something you'd hear playing at an underground chavvy rave - very techno, but then bizzarely enough a piano starts playing and Example starts singing about him wanting to change his ways, and wanting to be with someone he likes but feeling she is too good for him. At around a minute and half the speed picks up and by 2 minutes it explodes into a bit of a mess of an ibiza style mash up of instrumentals with a weird foreign voice talking over it briefly, but I do like the song purely for the lyrics and the piano is a nice little touch to the song and it makes it stand out from the rest. At the 3 minute and 20 second mark, Example bursts into rapping about his feelings and although the lyrics are good I am not keen on this part of the song, it just seems too 'manufactured' - not real, or meaningful or gritty like his earlier work. It's almost like he is reading a script.
Track 6 Never Had A Day

The techno intro is actually okay on this song as it merges in to the song well. It is quite an upbeat beat but then when Example starts rapping it gets quite depressing as it is yet another song about breaking up with someone he loves. The chorus is my favourite part of this particular song as it picks up a bit but then reverts back to his rapping about loving the girl who doesn't love him back. Some of the lyrics are really sweet, and I do feel like you can hear the emotion in his voice. As it gets towards the end the lyrics become clearer, with it been actually about a homeless alchoholic couple who live on the streets in the cold.
Track 7 Microphone

The intro of this is a piano which in my opinion is quite out of tune lol. Then Example starts singing about his life and the girl he likes, he's singing to her about his feelings. It's a very sort of 'nod-a-long' song if that makes sense - it's not quite a song to dance about to until it reaches the chorus and even then it is more of a song you would play in your front room or bedroom then dance around to at a club.
Track 8 Playing In The Shadows

This song really shows off the extent of Example's singing abilities. The beat is mixed by the legendary Change and Status. It's a very gentle, slow song but the instrumentals have a kind of spooky, haunting feel to them if that makes sense. The intro is great and explodes into a mix of dubstep and techno. The intro definetly reminds me of a Rolling Stones song for some reason, it's very nicely paced and developes nicely into bassline. I don't particulary think that the lyrics match this song well but that's my opinion, it sounds a bit 'try hard'. I think it's about trying to stay out of trouble/resist temptation while his girlfriend waits for him at home.
Track 9 Midnight Run

The intro of this is euphoric. I love it! I also love the dubstep drop in this at around 3 minutes into the song but I hate when Example is repeating the lyrics and it's all sped up and autotuned sounding.
Track 10 Under The Influence

This song is probably my favourite. Example's rapping in this is absolutely amazing and so fast and accurate with each line meaning something, rather than it just been a meaningless rambling kind of rap. Skream produced this song and this in my opinion is one of the best Skream beats to date which is definetly saying something! It reminds me a bit of the 'Heroes' theme song for some bizzare reason lol. The song itself is a kind of love song and it is obviously aimed towards that special person (and I love being under the influence, under the influence of you). It's a really good song to slow dance to and then once it gets going and the bass drops you can break into a little manic dance, lol.
Track 11 Wrong In The Head

This song is about staying out too late after promising to be home on time to his girlfriend and feeling guilty for going off with a random girl. He is then stranded in the east end of london down a dark alley with no credit and he's scared, lol. The chorus is repetitive but not annoying. Example both sings and raps in this song and it's one that's ideal for dancing about to at a party.
Track 12 Anything

What a cute song! Such a gentle one which is dedicated to his ex girlfriend. He discusses his regrets and how he can't believe they "both let it fade away."


This album is good, but it doesn't compare to Example's earlier work in my opinion. It is a shame that he released the album in early september rather than earlier in the year as it's definetly a very 'summery' kind of album - the type that sounds great blasting out of the beach or in the garden whilst enjoying a barbeque. I have a feeling that the songs on this album will be very popular in clubs though and will probably be overplayed up until christmas which is a bit of a downer as I have a feeling i'll get sick of the songs quite easily because as you can see a few of them are quite repetitive and despite there been 12 tracks, there is very little variety. This album will not appeal to anyone who isn't a dance music fan, nor will it appeal to hardcore rap or grime fans as although there is some good verses in there, the music does sort of dim it down a bit - a few of the verses could be really grimey and in Eminem's league, but unfortunetly the music doesn't do the lyrics justice on a number of the songs.

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Comments on this review

  • Coloneljohn published 29/09/2011
    Very well reviewed but not my sort of music. John
  • Novabug published 24/09/2011
    Comprehensive review, excellent. :D
  • MrBrightside1987 published 23/09/2011
    Superb review :) x
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Product Information : Playing in the Shadows - Example

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

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EAN: 5051275043921


Listed on Ciao since: 18/07/2011