20 Signs of Life in 2002
Number 16 - David Gray - A New Day at Midnight
In 1998 David Gray, victim of the serial label droppers, sat back in his bedroom and tinkered with a few new songs, adding a little sampled ambience to his acoustic guitar folk angst. To his amazement a phenomenon in rock history occurred when, despite a low budget, he sold millions of CDs by word of mouth. So now Gray is on the other side of canyon between failure and superstar, and the critics are sharpening their pens. Will he give them what will sell, sell, sell (as one of his albums that didn’t was called) or will he stay true to his musical vision.
The answer is A New Day At Midnight and he has, as remarkably as his out of the blue success, remained true to the focus of his soul. Gary’s dad has died since his son became famous and so this is melancholic stuff but it is never as stark as a Leonard Cohen. A New Day very naturally succeeds White Ladder and may even be that little side project’s completion. Music critics who always demands reinvention may wail and erase stars from their reviews but it was not for marketability that David Gray picked up a guitar or wrote these 12 songs. This album is the result of a man saturated in sorrow, asking the big questions as to why and against the odds of his agnosticism -- groping in the midnight for the hope of a sunrise. A New Day At Midnight is the most gorgeous slice of sadness.