For the comeback king, calling his album The Time Is Now couldn’t be more apt.
The record marks the next success in his huge return to the charts, which he kicked off in 2016 with Follow My Intuition, and is still going great guns.
The Time Is Now is his seventh album, and it seems with this record he’s honed everything he’s learned from his career so far to create a mature yet nostalgic sound to both old and new fans.
The tropical house vibe that flows through most of the album gives it the summer and uplifting feels we’re all itching for right now with drops that are both club worthy and tube journey bangers.
Having been in the music scene since he was 19, and having had the highs and lows of a typical career in the biz, David knows a thing or two about what draws the fans in.
But what he’s got in the new record is something that transcends demographics; some comeback artists aim at their old fandom, but Craig has sat back and observed what’s been going on in his absence and used it to create a record that can appeal to both die-hard fans and the newbies alike.
There’s a hugely nostalgic tone to the album, with 90s/00s throwbacks and a hint of his old school garage in the track Reload.
Speaking to Metro.co.uk writer Taran Bassi, he explained: ‘This is the second cycle of everything that has been going on. It just felt like the R&B that you are now hearing is very reminiscent of what was happening during the late 90s, early 2000s.
‘But if you do it in a way that is relevant to the young upcoming 15,16-year-old kid, what happens is that you have this new generation come on board, but also your fans from the first time are happy because you’re back doing the R&B bit, and you can straddle the line really well.’
And therein lies the magic, he knows what the people want.
He’s got some cool and unexpected collaborations, and just seems to have a nose for who will work with his sound. JP Cooper for instance. His voice rings out on the track Get Involved, and their vocals blend together beautifully. The track itself is deep and bassy, with a tiny feel of JT’s Cry Me A River.
Jonas Blue worked with him on the hit Heartline, and is kind of flavour of the month right now. And then of course there’s his collab with Bastille, I Know You. He is selective with his collab choices – he told Metro.co.uk they have to feel right otherwise they just won’t work.
He’s also pulled a series of producers on board, including Kaytranada, Fraser T Smith, Steve Mac and Tre Jean-Marie. Kaytranada’s hand in Live in the Moment is obvious, and the track itself is a personal nod from Craig on the struggle he’s faced over the years, having taken a step back from the public eye from 2010 to 2016 to regroup and plan his comeback.
The album comes from a man who knows how to get in your head. He’s the man behind Fill Me In and 7 Days, so the earworms are expected from this guy.
And there’s plenty of those, Love Will Come Around and Magic, to name just two.
If there’s one criticism, it’s that there’s just one track that doesn’t seem to fit with the rest, For The Gram. In it, Craig denounces the focus on social media, which is a subject in itself has become a cliche. Lyrically it’s not his finest work, singing about filters, emojis and hashtags, and generally feeling a bit cheesy like it’s trying to stay relevant.
But there’s really, really no need. The rest of the album proves there is very much a place for Craig in the charts and that he has pitched his time perfectly to reignite his success.
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