Don't Look Down (Skylar Grey album)

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Don't Look Down
Studio album by Skylar Grey
Released July 5, 2013 (2013-07-05)
Genre Pop[1]
Label
Producer
Skylar Grey chronology
Like Blood Like Honey
(2006)
Don't Look Down
(2013)
iTunes Session
(2013)
Singles from Don't Look Down
  1. "C'mon Let Me Ride"
    Released: December 11, 2012 (2012-12-11)
  2. "Final Warning"
    Released: April 16, 2013 (2013-04-16)
  3. "Wear Me Out"
    Released: June 4, 2013 (2013-06-04)
  4. "White Suburban"
    Released: July 2, 2013 (2013-07-02)

Don't Look Down is the second studio album by American singer-songwriter Skylar Grey. It was released on July 5, 2013, by KidinaKorner and Interscope Records. The album's production was primarily handled by Alex da Kid and J.R. Rotem along with being executive produced by Eminem. Guest appearances on the album include Big Sean, Eminem, Travis Barker and Angel Haze.

Background[edit]

Don't Look Down was originally scheduled to be released in the fall of 2011, under the title Invinsible, a portmanteau of "invisible" and "invincible", an idea that was given to her by American musician Marilyn Manson.[2] Grey had said that the album would be a complete departure from any of her previous work, stating in interviews with Los Angeles Times and Rap-Up, that the album's sound is "...commercial, yet avant-garde...", with "...cinematic beats and atmospheric hooks...", and "...sonically I can tell you that every song sounds different and it's really diverse, kind of going from cinematic to fun to dark. Alex and I really push each other creatively...".[2] In an October 2012 interview with Rolling Stone, Grey re-titled the album to it's current namesake and announced that American rapper Eminem, would executive produce the album. She also said she had been working with J. R. Rotem.[3]

Promotion and singles[edit]

The album's lead single, "C'mon Let Me Ride" was released on December 11, 2012, and features rapper Eminem. The official music video for the single was released on VEVO the same day.[4] The song peaked at #33 on Pop Songs in the United States.[5] In the meanwhile, Grey released "Final Warning" on April 16, 2013; it was the album's second single.[6] The official music video was released on May 14, 2013.[7] On June 4, 2013, "Wear Me Out" was premiered online.[8] The music video was released a week later.[9] On the US iTunes Store during the week of release, the album's title song "Tower (Don't Look Down)" was featured as "single of the week"; it was released as a promotional single for free.[10] "White Suburban" is the fourth song from the album to receive the music video treatment. The video premiered on July 3, 2013.[11] In August, Grey confirmed that she had filmed a music video for "Back from the Dead" featuring Big Sean and Travis Barker.[12]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 58/100[13]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2.5/5 stars[14]
HitFix B-[15]
Knoxville News Sentinel 3.5/5 stars[16]
Newsday B-[17]
New York Post 2.5/4 stars[18]
Now 2/5 stars[19]
The Oakland Press 2.5/4 stars[20]
Rolling Stone 2.5/5 stars[21]
Slant Magazine 3/5 stars[22]
USA Today 2.5/4 stars[23]

The album Don't Look Down garnered generally mixed reception from music critics. At Metacritic, they assign a weighted score to ratings and reviews from selected music critics, and the album has a Metascore of 58, which is based upon six reviews.[13] This means it has been given "mixed or average" reception.[13] At The New York Times, Jon Pareles gave it a positive review, and affirmed that "angst, melody and a hip-hop backbone are a promising combination."[24] Sarah Rodman of The Boston Globe gave a positive review, and stated that "if the music gods smile favorably upon her, Grey will soon be known as a solo artist in her own right, thanks to the gifts for melody and turning a phrase displayed on this captivating debut under her current nom de pop."[25]

At Knoxville News Sentinel, Chuck Campbell felt that the release "may not clearly define who Grey is, but it's fitfully gutsy."[16] Melinda Newman of HitFix told that the album "sounds like Grey made the album she wanted to: one that shows her many different sides: lover, fighter, muse... but your appreciation for it will depend upon your tolerance for the often misplaced reliance on beats."[15] At Newsday, Glenn Gamboa alluded to how the listener will "keep waiting for her to show some emotion -- any emotion."[17] At New York Post, Michaelangelo Matos affirmed that while "the occasional misfire aside, the R&B-leaning pop rocker knows how to write a hook".[18]

Gary Graff of The Oakland Press stated that this is a "somewhat messy 12-song set that seems to pit what Grey wants to be — or thinks she should — against her natural creative leanings."[20] At USA Today, Elysa Gardner told that Grey "has successfully collaborated [with] other artists", but without her collaborators, Grey "conveys less a personality than a variety of poses evoking clichés reinforced by her accessible but unremarkable hip-hop-fueled pop."[23] But, Ted Scheinan of Slant Magazine was against this notion, when he wrote that in "complicating matters further, executive producer Eminem allows far too many cooks in the kitchen, a reflexive inclusivity that leaves the album feeling over-processed."[22]

However, Scheinan of Slant Magazine felt that "Don't Look Down is the sound of an artist negotiating with her own MC impulses, of a talented lyricist whose pop instincts tell her to abridge herself."[22] In addition, Scheinan noted that "at heart, Don't Look Down is a vaguely hip-hop-inflected homage to '90s pop, not so much uninteresting as underwhelming and repetitive in its orchestration."[22] At Allmusic, Stephen Thomas Erlewine said that the release "come[s] across as nothing more than bubblegum Lana Del Rey."[14]

Will Hermes at Rolling Stone called "Final Warning" mere "tabloid fodder and "C'mon Let Me Ride" sounds "like an over-the-top hookup plea", however he wrote that "you've gotta love a pop star who titles a song about unplanned pregnancy 'Shit, Man!'"[21] In concluding, Hermes noted that the "stirring 'White Suburban' suggests Grey might, in the end, make a more convincing good girl."[21] At Now, Tabassum Siddiqui felt that "given Grey's connection to music's biggest headline-makers, it's ironic that her own output isn't all that memorable."[19]

Commercial performance[edit]

In its first week of release Don't Look Down debuted at #8 on the Billboard 200, selling 24,000 copies in the United States.[26]

Track listings[edit]

Don't Look Down – Digital / CD Standard edition (Catalog #602537424795)[27][28]
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Back from the Dead" (featuring Big Sean and Travis Barker) 4:23
2. "Final Warning"  
  • Hafermann
  • Alexander Grant
Alex da Kid 3:40
3. "Wear Me Out"  
  • Hafermann
  • Rotem
Rotem 3:30
4. "Religion"  
  • Hafermann
  • Rotem
  • Ivan Corraliza
  • Rotem
  • Illfactor[a]
3:09
5. "C'mon Let Me Ride" (featuring Eminem)
Alex da Kid 3:38
6. "Sunshine"  
  • Hafermann
  • Grant
  • Jayson DeZuzio
  • Alex da Kid
  • DeZuzio
  • Hafermann[a]
3:46
7. "Pulse"  
  • Hafermann
  • Rotem
  • DeZuzio
  • Rotem
  • Hafermann[a]
  • DeZuzio[a]
3:39
8. "Glow in the Dark"  
  • Hafermann
  • Grant
  • Del Rio
  • Alex da Kid
  • Del Rio
3:44
9. "Shit, Man!" (featuring Angel Haze)
  • Hafermann
  • Grant
  • DeZuzio
  • Raykeea Wilson
  • Alex da Kid
  • Dezuzio
3:27
10. "Clear Blue Sky"  
Alex da Kid 3:49
11. "Tower (Don't Look Down)"  
  • Hafermann
  • Grant
Alex da Kid 4:02
12. "White Suburban"   Hafermann Hafermann 4:43
Notes
  • ^[a] denotes co-producer
  • "C'mon Let Me Ride" contains portions of "Bicycle Race", written by Freddie Mercury.[32]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2013) Peak
position
Canadian (Billboard)[33] 25
US Billboard 200[34] 8

Personnel[edit]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label
Belgium[35] July 5, 2013 Digital download Universal Music
Italy[36]
Netherlands[37]
Spain[38]
United Kingdom[39] July 8, 2013 Interscope Records
Canada[40] July 9, 2013 CD
United States[27][41] CD, digital download KidinaKorner, Interscope
July 10, 2013 CD + autographed Snapback
Australia[42][43] July 12, 2013 CD Universal Music

References[edit]

  1. ^ Stewart, Allison (2013-07-05). "Skylar Grey’s solo debut finally set to see the light of day - Washington Post". Articles.washingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  2. ^ a b "Skylar Grey Says Debut Album Will Explain 'How I Became Invincible'". Billboard. June 24, 2011. Retrieved May 7, 2013. 
  3. ^ By Steve Baltin (October 31, 2012). "Eminem Sings Classic Queen Hook on Skylar Grey's New Single". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 7, 2013. 
  4. ^ Skylar Grey – C'mon Let Me Ride ft. Eminem – YouTube
  5. ^ http://www.billboard.com/artist/279558/skylar+grey/chart?f=381
  6. ^ "New Music: Skylar Grey – ‘Final Warning’ [Snippet]". Rap-Up.com. 2013-04-15. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  7. ^ Skylar Grey – Final Warning – YouTube
  8. ^ "New Music: Skylar Grey – ‘Wear Me Out’". Rap-Up.com. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  9. ^ Music Video "Skylar Grey – Wear Me Out (Explicit")
  10. ^ "Connecting to the iTunes Store". Itunes.apple.com. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  11. ^ "Video: Skylar Grey – ‘White Suburban’". Rap-Up.com. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  12. ^ https://twitter.com/SkylarGrey/status/369295983345025024
  13. ^ a b c Metacritic (July 25, 2013). "Critic Reviews for Don't Look Down". CBS Interactive. Retrieved July 29, 2013. 
  14. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (July 9, 2013). "Don't Look Down - Skylar Grey". Allmusic. Retrieved July 25, 2013. 
  15. ^ a b Newman, Melinda (July 9, 2013). "Album review: Skylar Grey's 'Don't Look Down'". HitFix. Retrieved July 25, 2013. 
  16. ^ a b Campbell, Chuck (July 9, 2013). "‘Tuned In’ review: Skylar Grey’s ‘Look’ mixes courage with desperation". Knoxville News Sentinel. Retrieved July 25, 2013. 
  17. ^ a b Gamboa, Glenn (July 5, 2013). "Skylar Grey's 'Don't Look Down' review: Remote control". Newday. Retrieved July 25, 2013. 
  18. ^ a b Matos, Michaelangelo (July 8, 2013). "Skylar Grey's songs bring sunny hooks". New York Post. Retrieved July 25, 2013. 
  19. ^ a b Siddiqui, Tabassum (July 25, 2013). "Skylar Grey: Don't Look Down (KIDinaKORNER/Interscope)". Now. Retrieved July 29, 2013. 
  20. ^ a b Graff, Gary (July 9, 2013). "Album reviews: Skylar Grey, Ciara, Pat Travers Band, more". The Oakland Press. Retrieved July 25, 2013. 
  21. ^ a b c Hermes, Will (July 29, 2013). "Skylar Grey, 'Don't Look Down'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 29, 2013. 
  22. ^ a b c d Scheinman, Ted (July 7, 2013). "Skylar Grey: Don't Look Down". Slant Magazine. Retrieved July 25, 2013. 
  23. ^ a b Gardner, Elysa (July 8, 2013). "Listen Up: The Editors, Skylar Grey, Ciara". USA Today. Retrieved July 25, 2013. 
  24. ^ Pareles, Jon (July 8, 2013). "New Albums by Skylar Grey, Okkyung Lee and Geoffrey Keezer". The New York Times. Retrieved July 29, 2013. 
  25. ^ Rodman, Sarah (July 8, 2013). "ALBUM REVIEW: Skylar Grey, 'Don't Look Down'". The Boston Globe. Retrieved July 29, 2013. 
  26. ^ Grein, Paul (2013-07-16). "Week Ending July 14, 2013. Albums: Jay-Z Back On The Throne | Chart Watch - Yahoo! Music". Music.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  27. ^ a b "Don't Look Down [Explicit Lyrics]". Barnes & Noble. Retrieved 5 July 2013. 
  28. ^ "Don't Look Down [Explicit] [+digital booklet]: Skylar Grey: MP3 Downloads". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  29. ^ "Skylar Grey – Don't Look Down – Spotify". Spotify. Retrieved 6 October 2013. 
  30. ^ "Skylar Grey – Dont Look Down – Only at Target". Target Corporation. Retrieved 5 July 2013. 
  31. ^ "Don't Look Down (Deluxe Edition / 2 Bonus Tracks): Skylar Grey: Music". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  32. ^ Don't Look Down by Skylar Grey. [album liner]. KidinaKorner / Interscope (Universal Music Group). Catalog #602537424795.
  33. ^ "Skylar Grey - Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  34. ^ "Billboard 200 : Jul 27, 2013 | Billboard Chart Archive". Billboard.com. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  35. ^ "Don't Look Down". iTunes BE. Apple Inc. Retrieved 8 July 2013. 
  36. ^ "Don't Look Down". iTunes IT. Apple Inc. Retrieved 8 July 2013. 
  37. ^ "Don't Look Down". iTunes NL. Apple Inc. Retrieved 8 July 2013. 
  38. ^ "Don't Look Down". iTunes ES. Apple Inc. Retrieved 8 July 2013. 
  39. ^ "Buy online at Play.com and read reviews. Free delivery to UK and Europe!". Play.com. 2013-07-08. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  40. ^ "hmv.ca: music, dvd, blu-ray, MP3 digital downloads". HMV Canada. Retrieved 9 July 2013. 
  41. ^ "Don't Look Down". Amazon.com. Retrieved 5 July 2013. 
  42. ^ "Don't Look Down – Grey, Skylar". JB Hi-Fi. Retrieved 5 July 2013. 
  43. ^ "Buy Don't Look Down Skylar Grey, Urban, CD | Sanity". Sanity. Retrieved 8 July 2013.