David Gray's 1999 release White Ladder was not only a chart hit around the globe but a career turnaround for the artist. His folky techno sound was refreshing and raw, and the public finally took notice to Gray's honest approach. White Ladder went double platinum in America and earned Gray a Grammy nod for Best New Artist. Expectations for a follow-up were naturally high, and Gray wasted no time making another album. A New Day at Midnight, intermittently recorded between his spring 2001 tour and early fall, marks his sixth. He sticks with simple acoustics and subtle string arrangements; however, A New Day at Midnight doesn't possess the heavy heart of White Ladder. Perhaps Gray wasn't going for that, but fans were looking for an emotional disposition. The structure on this particular record is much more loose and carefree. What an impressive move for Gray, for he created something from his heart and mind without concerning himself or what was expected of him. The piano-driven "Meet Me on the Other Side" highlights personal reflections with grace. "Be Mine" is lyrically sweeter, but the winter chill of "December" ironically finds a peace of mind. Gray's father passed away during the recording of A New Day at Midnight, so this is his swan song. The twinkling "Last Boat to America" offers classic White Ladder optimism, so Gray's intent in making the lush and desirable more apparent is real. Gray's definitely more introspective this time around, but he's less digital. Will fans appreciate that? Sure, but it will take some time.
A New Day at Midnight Review
by MacKenzie Wilson