Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Skylar Grey has Eminem as the executive producer on her album Don't Look Down. Andy Kropa / Invision / AP Photo
Skylar Grey has Eminem as the executive producer on her album Don't Look Down. Andy Kropa / Invision / AP Photo

Skylar Grey’s Don’t Look Down wants to grab attention any way it can

Grey's album lacks the clear direction and stylistic cohesion we need to make sense of it.†

Skylar Grey

Don't Look Down



Has girl power taken a psychotic turn? Look at the Swedish gal duo Icona Popís I Love It, a joyously unhinged account of car-trashing in the wake of a break-up, and now Donít Look Down, a record where the Wisconsin-born singer Skylar Grey sometimes masquerades as a deranged woman-done-wrong. Itís a good thing when popís stock response to heartbreak isnít ďitís raining in my heartĒ, but when Grey reaches for a kitchen knife in Final Warning, or considers killing an ex who returns unexpectedly in Back from the Dead, it seems symptomatic of that post-Lady Gaga drive to grab attention any way you can.

A gifted pop composer who has co-written for Rihanna and will.i.am, Grey has waited a long time for this major label debut. Still only 27, she was singing in a folk duo with her mother by the age of six, and performing under her real name, Holly Brook, by the time she was 15. Donít Look Down is executive-produced by her friend Eminem, but the English hip-hop producer Alex da Kid and the American--born pop producer J?R Rotem spar for control at the coalface.

Unsurprisingly, the album has something of an identity crisis. The piano ballad White Suburban Ė imagine a poppier take on Princeís Sometimes It Snows in April Ė is one of the best songs here, but its earnest sentiments are hard to swallow after the knockabout comedy of Címon Let Me Ride.

Quoting lines from Queenís Bicycle Race and listing the late Freddy Mercury as a co-writer, the latter song has some typically nudge-nudge input from Eminem, but alas, the rapperís schoolboy humour isnít offset by the kind of musical brilliance that redeemed his similarly childish 2004 single Just Lose It.

The almost country-sounding Wear Me Out is also decent, but with Grey and company continuing to ring the changes, Donít Look Down lacks the clear direction and stylistic cohesion we need to make sense of it.

Grey was promoting this record via Rolling Stone magazine back in 2011, and its tardy trudge into the light may tell its own story. The worst track here, Clear Blue Sky, is all mismatched sonics; the kind of song that often results when folks labour too long on something they no longer believe in.


twitter Follow us @LifeNationalUAE

Follow us on Facebook for discussions, entertainment, reviews, wellness and news.

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 This comparison image shown on Reddit annotated the objects with vehicles from the movies.

What Star Wars fans say is going on in Abu Dhabi’s desert

We may still not know exactly what The National caught pictures of in the Abu Dhabi desert last week, but the online community has had plenty to say. Here are some of the best bits.

 Jennifer Grout will compete against seven other celebrities in Your Face Sounds Familiar. Joseph Eid / AFP

Jennifer Grout on competing in the new show Your Face Sounds Familiar and her rise to fame

Jennifer Grout is set to wow Arab audiences once again in the new MBC talent show Your Face Sounds Familiar. Saeed Saeed speaks to the American about her success story

 From left to right: Greg Churchouse, Roy Stride and Peter Ellard of Scouting For Girls. Ian Gavan / Getty Images

Sandance returns in May

Sandance is heading back to Dubai in May with a line-up that includes Arrested Development, Scouting for Girls, the Pet Shop Boys and Fatboy Slim, plus the Saudi DJ Omar Basaad and local acts.

 Jedi Master Yoda in 'Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith'. Lucasfilm / Twentieth Century Fox / AP

Star Wars shooting in Abu Dhabi rumours gain traction

What started out on Sunday as an optimistic rumour that Star Wars Episode 7 is set to shoot in Abu Dhabi is seemingly gathering traction as the week progresses.

 A boy waters plants in the yard of a restaurant in the Colombian village of Aracataca. Yellow butterflies make an apperance in the book. Eitan Abramovich / AFP photo

Mourning and memories in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s languid hometown

Mourning and memories in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s hometown of Aracataca, Columbia.

 Shah Rukh Khan plays a shot during a friendly match between the members of the support and administrative staff of Royal Challengers Bangalore and his Kolkata Knight Riders cricket team. Dibyangshu Sarkar / AFP

When the worlds of Bollywood and cricket collide

With the first game of the Indian Premier League beginning today in the UAE, we explore the league’s Bollywood connections, which are as glitzy as they are controversial.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National