Stop The World And You Halt The Day
Howie Day’s first full-length album on Epic Records, Stop All The World Now, is definitely a step in a new direction for Day. The question: is this a step in a good direction?Stop sounds like the soundtrack to life on a University campus, or a passionately artistic girl’s trials and tribulations in high school. That’s not to say that it’s bad – the production quality is undeniable, it is beautifully produced and mixed. With an added orchestra, echoing effects, and more instrumentation than Day probably ever dreamed of four years ago, he has managed to adopt a fuller sound with the help of producer Youth (Dido, The Verve) and a bevy of prominent mixers; Michael Brauer (Coldplay, David Gray, Starsailor), Chris Lord-Alge (Eric Clapton, Goo Goo Dolls, Shawn Mullins), and Clive Goddard (Sneaker Pimps, Marianne Faithful). With such a talented group behind him, it’s not surprising that Stop is so clean and radio-friendly.
What sets back this album compared to Day’s previous work is his voice. There is a definite change from that semi-raw, bracing voice that he showed on other albums and in live performances. Here he sounds slightly strained, like an artist who has yet to find their natural singing voice. He seems uncomfortable with his tone and his range, perhaps pushing to make his voice more polished, like a wanna-be Bono.
No doubt the new production quality will win Day many new fans that won’t notice his massive transformation, but old fans who grew to like him based on his genuine sound and earnestness may find that so much added “polishing” detracts from his natural sound’s sincerity.