Would it be too much to call David Myles one of the most prolific love-song writers in Canada? As he says in an intro to a song from his Live at the Carleton album from two years ago, he “write[s] a lot of love songs… A whole lot of love songs.” And indeed In The Nighttime is more or less exclusively love songs.
Which of course isn’t a bad thing at all. While Myles’ songs occasionally throw in a cliché or two (like “Is there a shot/A shot in the dark” from “What Would I Have to Do” or “Some say love is as blind as a bat” from “How’d I Ever Think I Loved You”) the sense that listeners should get from his work is one of earnestness and honesty. It’s as though he manages to nail down every feeling that anyone feels when they fall in love, whether that love is reciprocated or unrequited.
In the Nighttime is a double album, Disc 1 being filled with Myles’ signature ballads and Disc 2 is an EP produced by Classified. The second disc is a bold step forward, continuing the relationship between the two men, most recently seen when Classified won a Juno for “Inner Ninja,” which featured Myles.
But enough about the history. The songs themselves are well worth your time. Disc 1, besides featuring Myles’ unmistakable songwriting, also features a great cast of players including Kevin Breit of the Upper York Mandolin Orchestra and Rose Cousins, who provides some wicked background vocals.
Some of the songs on the album have a refreshing old-timey feel to them, such as “Change My Mind” or the French-language “En Decembre.” “Tell Me What” is the best of the “retro” songs, featuring some great bass along with finger snaps, as well as some great call and response between Myles and his backup vocalists.
The simple songs about pining work well too, such as the opener “Maureen” or “What Would I Have to Do.” The latter exists in two forms. On Disc 1 it is much more slow-paced, reminiscent of one’s thoughts racing in the middle of the night. On Disc 2, with Classified’s hands on it, it becomes a much more upbeat pop number, and it doesn’t diminish the song’s original intent.
“All I’ve Got To Give” is a song worth noting, in that Myles seems to be writing about the love he has for his first child, and it’s a very tender moment in an album mostly about women loved and lost.
Disc 2, as mentioned, is a totally different animal. “I Will Love You” takes an acoustic song Myles released on Valentine’s Day and adds an unexpectedly huge sound to it. “How’d I Ever Think I Loved You” is a nice change of perspective. This line should explain the whole song: “I’ve been writing out report cards/For all my lovers last to first/And I can tell you without question now/You still stand out as being the worst.”
“So Blind” and “Peace of Mind” bring in some rap cameos from Classified himself, adding a nice bit of flavour to the tunes, and “One in A Million” is a nice ode to a lover, amplified to a new level.
It’s great to see that Myles has an eye both on his past and his future. Into the Sun was a bold experiment in embracing world music, and his continued friendship with Classified shows that he won’t be simply sticking to his roots.