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 25/09/2011 | katykicker
Member since : 11/12/2005
Reviews : 1426
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Back writing & RATING! If you would like to be added to my COT please do let me know :) No need to thank me for E's unless you fancy a chat :)
Pro Fantastic album, mix of genres and lyrical styles, amazing tracks, wrapped up well.
Cons 'Wrong In The Head' is a little bit of a weak link really.
very helpful
Quality and consistency of tracks
Cover / Inlay Design and Content
Value for Money

"Will you set a good Example by buying this album?"


Elliot Gleave is a 29 year old musician from London but he is better known by his stage name, Example. This is his third album and debuted at number 1 in the UK charts and has also already produced several successful number 1 singles. Example has become increasingly successful and more popular with each album and I first became really interested in him after hearing Zane Lowe play one of his songs on the radio and it was the debut play and I instantly loved it!

The album set list

1. Skies Don’t Lie
2. Stay Awake
3. Changed The Way You Kiss Me
4. The Way
5. Natural Disaster
6. Never Had A Day
7. Microphone
8. Playing In The Shadows
9. Midnight Run
10. Under The Influence
11. Wrong In The Head
12. Anything
Skies Don’t Lie

This opener is so different to what I expected. It is full of electro sounds, it’s a little more up tempo than I was expecting for the opener, the lyrics give the impression that Example knows how to handle himself, he’s a big boy and he doesn’t need any mollycoddling. There is a fair bit of rap going on here and we get a real taste of just what Example is fantastic at.

Stay Awake

This song contains one of Examples most commonly known lyrics ‘if we don’t kill ourselves we’ll be the leaders of a messed up generation’ and is a true fast paced club tune. It’s dancy, full of brilliant lyrics and fantastic bass line sounds. It’s no wonder this song reached number 1 as it sums up the kind of music that is becoming more relevant in the charts. Something with a bit of effort in it, lots of different sounds and vibes going on and it’s a fantastic uplifting club track.
Changed The Way You Kiss Me

Another top chart performing track here, brilliant lyrics talking about fun and offering a slightly tongue in cheek way of speaking about relationships ending. This has some fantastic synthesizer stuff going on, it’s a dance tune, uplifting, funky, full of amazing lyrics, beats and every single time I hear it I just want to be out in a bar somewhere with a drink in hand dancing with my friends and enjoying the crack! This is an incredibly catchy song and since I heard it on the radio that day I have not lost any love for it, in fact I probably love it more now than I ever did when I first heard it. There is just something about it that sticks in my mind and I can’t shake it off, it’s amazing!

The Way

The tempo of this track is a little different to the songs that have been heard so far on the album but I think that it works very well as a stand alone track. The opening notes of the song draw me in and it still has that funky electro kind of style going on. Example is a little more laid back and slowed down in this song, the lyrics are strong, not the strongest, but they work well enough in showing off his style. This feels like a change in direction a little here and it works incredibly well, it’s a gamble that has paid off and this changes the paces of the album for something a little more laid back and relaxed, almost a little Indie.
Natural Disaster

This starts off wonderfully electric and there is a brilliant beat that draws my attention to it immediately. It feels like something amazing is building up in this song and then this brilliant keyboard sound kicks in followed by Example. The lyrics are brilliant, they are talking about a ‘natural disaster’, a woman, and the things that can occur. There is a brilliant rap piece in the middle, with naughty language, and this seems to blend in incredibly well. This song has a chorus that people will be crooning at the night clubs and at his concerts for sure, ‘we could be happy ever after’!

Never Had A Day

A fantastic mixed tempo song with raps, lyrics and it just somehow works incredibly well. This is a ‘morning after the night before’ song, or rather a morning after the weekend before song. The vocals and the song work incredibly well together, alone I figure that they would be terrible, however, I can see this being a chart hit of the future. There is a lot going on in this song, one minute it’s fast, then it’s a little more low tempo and it’s just a fantastic musical arrangement and works so well together.

The tempo of this song is a world away from that of ‘Never Had A Day’, it’s slow and sultry to begin with and the keyboard is almost a little grainy in places, but it works. Example comes in thick, loud and strong, the lyrics are brilliant, he doesn’t need a microphone, this is quite an Indie track and shows another side of Example. He sounds brilliant singing along on this song in his almost spoken kind of way that’s just fantastic. This is an almost anthem style song, it works well but it just feels like there is that little something extra missing, I’m not sure what. It is an amazing song but I just don’t see it being crooned at a festival even though it has that feel to it, maybe it’s because he has so many other fantastic songs on this album.

Playing In The Shadows

The lyrics are the first thing about this song that really grab my attention. He’s being naughty, out with girls he shouldn’t be out with when he has someone back at home waiting for him. The music is a little dark in places, melodic and has a totally different feel to the rest of the album. This song sounds like it could be featured in a Tarrantino movie, it’s got that edge to it, a little gangster like, Example sounds rough and ready for anything, in a good way. This is a good song, it’s not the best on the album mind, it’s mainly the lyrics that make this song for me and I feel that the musical arrangement is a little shady in places, maybe it needs to stop playing in the shadows?
Midnight Run

This is a fast paced song that lifts the slightly dark feeling back up from this album. The lyrics are good, there is a steady beat throughout the song that is easy to follow and I could easily tap my foot all day to this song, even dance a little maybe. I could easily enjoy this song every time I listen to the album and while I really enjoy it I can’t really see this being his best shot at further chart success, only because there are other fantastically strong tracks on this album as well.

Under The Influence

This song intrigues me from the moment it starts. The build up of the song is a little gradual, the before you know it there is an amazing beat, amazing lyrics and Example is really giving it his all. It takes a good minute or two before this song really comes in to it’s own but it is fully worth the wait and the first minute or two are perfectly bearable. The lyrics can be a little repetitive in places but this works very well and is just what the song needs. The change towards the middle of the song, while expected, still takes me by surprise and I love it. This has a real grime kind of feel to it with a little dupstep mixed in for good measure before it snaps back to being a little more gentle and beautiful again.
Wrong In The Head

The title of this song should give you an idea of what the lyrics are going to be like. This song has a little quirky feel for me, I don’t like the lyrics that much, mainly because they don’t feel like they go with the music particularly well. I feel like this arrangement is a little bit sloppy, to say the least, and it’s a bit of a disappointment for me. I like the dupstep feel in the background but even that feels a little like it belongs to another song. There is not much I like about this song and I feel like this is the real weak link from this album.


I love the lyrics of this song, the song is just beautiful. This is a fantastic way to start winding up the album with a real change of pace to something that somehow is fast paced and yet incredibly relaxing and laid back at the same time. Example sounds amazing on this song and it’s definitely one of my two firm favourites on the album, along with ‘Lying To Yourself’ just because they are so different to the usual example sound gives.
Lying To Yourself (Bonus CD Track)

This song sews up the end of the album nicely, it’s beautiful. This is a fast paced piano that just doesn’t sound hasty or rushed in any way. Here we hear the real beautiful of the quirkiness of Example’s voice and the lyrics are just beautiful. This song sings about someone who won’t stop lying to someone until they stop lying to themselves, it’s absolutely and it finishes the album off wonderfully. This is the kind of song that is incredibly poignant, the words resonate in my ears, they blend so well with the beauty and simplicity of the piano playing. This song finishes the album with the following lyrics:

And til’ you stop lying to yourself,
I’ll never stop lying to you,
And until I start crying to myself,
I’ll never cry in front of you,
I’ll find the tallest giants,
And break the rules of science,
But I’ll never stop lying to you,
And I’ve never said a word so true.
Where can I purchase this & for how much?

This, as a current album, is available from numerous music stockists and mine was purchased from where the current price is £7.99 (September 2011). If you want to purchase this on mp3 format you can purchase two albums for £10.00.

Overall opinion

What can I say? Oh yes, this is a truly amazing album! It’s absolutely brilliant and even the one song that I consider to be a weak link isn’t truly a weak link and would probably stand up quite well in the charts, mainly because of Example being on it. Example is in a place right now where he seems to not be able to do anything wrong and this is a fantastic time to have an album filled with popular chart topping tunes and then put a few songs on there that are a little bit different to the norm really.

This album has lots of different feels going on and each song is a little different to the previous one, some drastically so. There is no samey quality to this album and I don’t feel like any of his music is really the same as anyone else‘s, there are a few little influences in there such as Faithless but all of his work feels original and unique.

This album is fantastic, I’m a huge fan of it and while it has had a little critical acclaim, everyone has a different taste in music and this suit’s the kind of thing that I am interested in perfectly. Example is truly refreshing, he is offering something unique and different to the normal chart music. He has some dance, some Indie and lots of electro sounds going on here and overall I feel that the album works very well.

If you have liked any of his songs on the radio then this is definitely an album for you. I initially worried that the album would just have a few good songs, including his chart topping ones, but I was proved wrong with this being a fantastic mix of genres and sounds that works incredibly well and will stay a firm favourite in my music collection for many months to come I am sure! This is a genuinely likeable album with real soul running through it, the lyrics feel fresh and like they are coming from the heart rather than just wrote for maximum chart topping effect, however, they have that as well!

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Comments on this review

  • beautybabiex published 26/09/2011
    All his songs sound really similar to me, x
  • twiglet11twiglet11 published 25/09/2011
    Brill review :)
  • lorriellah published 25/09/2011
    Nicely done E from me, very clear and informative. x
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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