David Gray
White Ladder



January 14th, 2005 | 24 replies

Release Date: 2000 | Tracklist

Released: 2000 (East West)

David Gray is a singer/songwriter from Ireland who hit the mainstream with this album, released in 2000. This remains comfortably the biggest album of his career, selling over 5 million copies worldwide, initially on the basis of word of mouth, but later as the mainstream press realised how good this album was. The genre for this is somewhat vague, but to give an idea of what it sounds like, other similar artists are Damien Rice, Travis and Coldplay.


1. Please Forgive Me-This provides a very strong opening to the album, with a drum machine in the background before David comes in, playing a simple piano part, with his voice over it. Like most other songs in this album, this is a love song, but it also is one of the best of the album. More instruments gradually come in as the song progresses, adding a certain depth to it, before they all fade out apart from the piano and his voice. A beautiful song. 5/5

2. Babylon-The big single of the album. Similar to Please Forgive Me in the development of the song, although it's louder, to a certain extent, with the chorus of "If you want it, come and get it, for crying out loud" sounding more defiant than the first track would hint at. Personally though, I don't think this quite reaches the heights of track 1, so 4.5/5.

3. My Oh My-This is the most bare song yet, in that it consists mainly of the voice and an acoustic guitar, although there are drums in the background. This fits in with the lyrical tone of the song, with it seemingly being sung shortly after a breakup, and the lyrics doubting the very nature of love. This is a small gem of a song, that often gets passed over after the first 2, more famous tracks. 4.5/5

4. We're Not Right-This is the first track where standards slip a bit, with everything seeming a bit low in the mix (if that makes sense). It does have some quite nice chiming guitar interludes, which break up the track a bit, but there's nothing overly memorable here, either in lyrics, vocals or the structure of the song. 3/5

5. Nightblindness-Put simply, much better. The opening to this song is the sparsest sounding yet, with the acoustic guitar barely audible under the mournful vocals, including David singing, "What are we gonna do when the money runs out." The song builds though, although it remains similar to My Oh My in its tone. I like this track though, although it's one of the simplest on here. When what I think is a guitar comes in, it sounds almost tired, adding to the drowsy nature of it. 4/5

6. Silver Lining-Gray's vocal range is quite evident here, with simple chord changes adding power to this song, as, again do his lyrics. Having said that though, it's still one of the weaker tracks on here, although it features quite an interesting twist midway through, when the song becomes louder, and Gray's voice more intense. 3.5/5

7. White Ladder- The most straightforward pop track on here, with the vocals almost retreating into a falsetto at some stages. That's not to say it's no good though, with the vocals sometimes retreating behind the music, adding an interesting balance to the track. 4/5

8. This Year's Love-Possibly the best song on here. This review isn't really going to do justice, but there's something undeniably beautiful about this song, with Gray singing over a piano part for the entire song, with some strings in the background. It's one of these songs which you put on in a dark moment, and although it seems depressing, it can't help but somehow make you more optimistic. I've got shivers down my spine just listening to it now. 5/5

9. Sail Away-Amazingly, he follows This Year's Love with a love song, that's more complex but beautifully written, with imagery of stormy seas adding an emotional intimacy to this track. He judges the tone of his voice beautifully as well. The whistled outro to this track is particularly powerful to me as well. 5/5

10. Say Hello Wave Goodbye-This is a cover of the Soft Cell song, that's basically unrecognisable. It's a fitting end to the album, being a beautiful track, with another powerful display of singing, although it's probably fair to say that this doesn't quite hit the heights of other tracks of the album. It also sums up the mood of the album very well, which I find important for any final track. 4.5/5

This album really does provide a remarkable demonstration of Gray's voice and talent for writing songs which people can relate to. If you view acoustic singer/songwriters as not your kind of thing, then don't buy this. If, however, you like the sort of music I referred to earlier, then get this, as I view it as a masterpiece of the genre, and something that in my opinion, surpasses the likes of Damien Rice, although his voice is arguably better. On his next album, although it contains some fine songs, Gray never really consistently attained the heights that he reached on here, so if you are interested in his music, I recommend this album. Overall, this gets 4/5.

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user ratings (91)

Comments:Add a Comment 
August 2nd 2004


This years love is a truly amazing song. And i think this album has a lot of unfiar criticism for being 'bland' and 'middle of the road' but it hnik thats greatly unjustified. He is an awesome singer, his voice is unique.
Are you sure he's irish though?...I thought he was Welsh for some reason.

Good reviuew too, put me in the mood for listening to it.

August 2nd 2004


That's a good review man :thumb: I've had this album for a while, but I haven't listened to it for the longest time. I think I might stick it on. My favourite track however is 'Say Hello Wave Goodbye'. That's brought tears to my eyes a few times I'll tell you that much.

August 2nd 2004


Well written review. I don't have it..but Babylon's a good song.

August 3rd 2004


[QUOTE=moderaterock222]This years love is a truly amazing song. And i think this album has a lot of unfiar criticism for being 'bland' and 'middle of the road' but it hnik thats greatly unjustified. He is an awesome singer, his voice is unique.
Are you sure he's irish though?...I thought he was Welsh for some reason.

Good reviuew too, put me in the mood for listening to it.[/QUOTE]

Thanks. I know what you mean about the criticism it gets, but I just don't get it for this album. Others of the genre...maybe, this...no. I'm fairly he's Irish, but I might be wrong there.

August 3rd 2004


That's funny, I started reading it, and I had to go and get my copy and listen to it. And it seems everyone has done the same. Great review. Fantastic album.

October 5th 2004


hehe, nice review, i agree with most of what you said.
My sister bought this album a while ago, i never really listened to it to carefully untill recently when she left her cd player on in her room, so i took the CD :lol:

Its good!

October 6th 2004


I've seen this disc everywhere for 10 dollars. I'd better buy it.

October 6th 2004


White Ladder was the album that got me into David Gray, but Now that I own all of his albums I'd have to say its not his best. I like Flesh, A Century Ends or Sell, Sell, Sell.

All of his albums have great moments.

September 30th 2005


Album Rating: 3.0

Point of clarification: White Ladder was released in 1998, not 2000.

November 1st 2005


Album Rating: 3.0

Also, I think David Gray has Welsh/Irish heritage, but he's in fact from London. This is only what I've heard.

August 25th 2009


Man Nightblindness is fucking perfect. In fact, so are loads of the songs on here. A few bring the overall quality down though.

August 25th 2009


oooh yeah i fucking love bobbing my head whilst i sing and play guitar

August 25th 2009


it means you play rock music

November 1st 2010


Album Rating: 4.5

So I found this CD the other day while moving some boxes, hadn't seen it in years. I forgot how incredible it is. So many great songs on here. Music really tied to its time too, but in a good way. Listening to this album brings me right back to the year 2000 when this was huge.

Digging: Death Angel - Humanicide

October 8th 2011


Album Rating: 2.5

this aint that great

October 1st 2012


Album Rating: 3.5

type of music i usually hate but dig this

October 10th 2013


Album Rating: 4.5

Great album, great review.

May 13th 2014


The nostalgia is strong with this one.

May 13th 2014


this year's love hard

May 13th 2014


Please Forgive Me man, feels hard.

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