David Gray has announced details for an updated Greatest Hits collection- entitled The Best Of - due for release on October 14 2016 through Kobalt Label Services/IHT Records. Issued a quarter of a century after Gray's recording career originally began, this successor to 2007's platinum-selling Greatest Hits now takes in subsequent highlights from top 5 album Draw The Line, 2011's Founding and 2014's critically acclaimed Mutineers, alongside longstanding classics from Gray's three number 1 albums, including the 6 million-selling, Grammy-nominated White Ladder. In a first-of-its-kind piece of streaming technology, the album's traditional CD, deluxe CD and double gatefold vinyl formats will be mirrored online with a ground-breaking, dynamic Spotify Greatest Hits playlist (which can be viewed here or through David's website http://smarturl.it/DavidGrayWebsite).
Gray is trailing the announcement with a new track -Smoke Without Fire', which – along with -Enter Lightly' - is one of 2 previously unheard tracks to be included on The Best Of. Speaking about the selection of these new tracks to appear alongside classics including -Sail Away', -The One I Love' and -Babylon', David says; 'Both tracks were recorded with Lamb's Andy Barlow earlier this year, and pick up where we left off with the soundscapes of Mutineers".
In an age where streaming services give us easy access to an artist's digital archive and allows us to curate our own selections, a fair question might be -In 2016, what does a Greatest Hits collection actually mean?' It's a question that Gray and his label posed to themselves when considering how best to compile a present-day representation of his massive catalogue of hits, which are being streamed over a million times a week.
The result – -Best of David Gray Weekly'– is an innovative dynamic Spotify playlist, which replaces the static snapshot that a traditional collection allows, with an adaptive track-listing which changes weekly to reflect the most streamed tracks in Gray's catalogue. As this playlist fluxes – and with new tracks such as -Smoke Without Fire' just as likely to rub shoulders here with classics like -Shine' (re-recorded as a 25th anniversary version especially for this release) - the proposition becomes not The Greatest Hits, but Your Greatest Hits.
Says David of the innovation; 'What we have on our hands with -The Best Of David Gray Weekly' is an ever evolving Best Of that is different every week, every month, every year, every decade. The more you stream a track, any David Gray song, the higher in the playlist it appears". Commenting likewise about the collaboration, Spotify's Chris Stoneman says; 'Spotify are thrilled to partner with Kobalt in helping artists use our data in new and original ways. In re-imagining the -Best Of' album for the streaming age, they've provided a better experience for fans, whilst creating opportunities for the artist".
Speaking about the process of selecting the tracks (3 new re-recordings) which appear on the vinyl format & comprise disc 2 of the deluxe CD version of The Best Of, Gray says; 'It felt like the right thing to do to accompany the main collection with a further collection of songs of my own choosing. A group of recordings that has been selected by me for no other reason than that they occupy a special place in my heart and have meant a lot to me down the years. These recordings stand like markers in the road, and I still refer back to them every now and then, whenever I'm in need of taking my creative bearings."
Whilst he will admit to the curious experience of taking stock of his successes- 'It's certainly a strange business stopping the clock and listening to your younger self singing back to you from across the years", in The Best Of, Gray has delivered on a rare remit- a living, breathing collection every bit as dynamic and vital as the 25 year long career it spans.
Standard album / Disc 1 of Deluxe Edition
2. You're The World To Me
3. Sail Away
4. The One I Love
6. Smoke Without Fire
7. Flame Turns Blue
8. Be Mine
9. This Year's Love
11. Please Forgive Me
12. Only The Wine
13. Snow In Vegas (feat. LeAnn Rimes)
14. Back In The World
15. The Other Side
16. Enter Lightly
Disc 2 of Deluxe Edition
1. Falling Free
2. A Clean Pair Of Eyes
7. Falling Down The Mountainside
8. From Here You Can Almost See The Sea
9. Birds Of The High Arctic
11. L's Song
12. Nemesis (Live At The Royal Festival Hall)
13. January Rain
14. Last Summer
15. Shine (25th Anniversary Version)