Unrescuable Schizo feature: Check out our FAVORITE 30 SONGS OF THE 2000S.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The notion of a David Gray Greatest Hits album

I was strolling through Barnes & Noble tonight when I happened upon a new Greatest Hits collection from British singer/songwriter David Gray. This perplexed me, because how many hits can David Gray rightfully claim? Certainly Babylon, possibly Please Forgive Me, and maybe Be Mine, if we're really getting creative with the definition of "hit." But that's it. It should be a 3-song sampler, not a full-length release. It should be given away for free at CoGo's with the purchase of a coffee, not sold for $15.99 at legitimate music stores.

I hate when artists do this - you'll see a band like Kajagoogoo put out a Greatest Hits collection, which always makes me scream. Come on, you had ONE HIT IN YOUR ENTIRE CAREERS! Country singers are the biggest offenders. A lot of them release Greatest Hits CDs after a mere two studio albums. I guarantee Taylor Swift puts out a Greatest Hits before she turns 20, in an effort to beat Leann Rimes's record for youngest artist with a hits collection (21).

Now, Gray actually does have enough good material to put together a satisfying compilation. I just object to calling it Greatest Hits. "The Best of David Gray" - I'd be fine with that title. Am I being too much of a semantics nut? Is this the equivalent of quarreling about the difference between "denounce" and "reject?"

Anyway, Gray's 2000 album White Ladder is a classic, easily one of my top five albums of this decade. The aforementioned Babylon and Please Forgive Me are terrific. This Year's Love and Nightblindness are both beautiful, gutwrenching ballads. And the cover of Soft Cell's Say Hello, Wave Goodbye is so good I didn't realize at the time that it was a cover.

Unfortunately, everything Gray has done since then has sucked. Those who would be interested in checking out David Gray should eschew the hits package and go with White Ladder.

YouTube: David Gray - This Year's Love


Deena said...

I'm right with you with the semantics, Scott. I agree, "hit" indicates some presence on, say, the Billboard top 100 at least. I'm also going to go download White Ladder now because I haven't heard that CD since, like, 1999, and it was a good record from what I remember.

Anonymous said...

Buddy, you're way off on this. Whether it should have been titled greatest hits or not seems like such a small issue to blog about. BN usually has listening stations to preview all cd's so you didn't have to buy it. Either you liked the new cd or you didn't. A New Day at Midnight my fav of his esp. listening straight through from start to finish.

Scott said...

I didn't buy it. I was so taken aback by the title, I kept walking.

Johnny said...

This is actually David Gray's second "best of". The first was a CD called Shine: The Best Of The Early Years. As the title suggests, it is a collection of David's early work with a previous label (or even independently).

Anonymous said...

Sorry mate, but shut up.
David Gray is an amazing artist who has had a lot of great songs. So what if the songs haven't always done particularly well in the charts, they can still be his greatest hits.