Daybreaker - Beth Orton

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. Daybreaker bears all the strengths and beauty of the earlier Orton CDs, but it also shows some growth.
  2. It's a downer, sure, but if you've got the patience, this disc's subtle meditations have a way of working themselves into your heart.
  3. 80
    Daybreaker is Orton's ultimate heartstring-pulling concoction. [Jul 2002, p.80]
  4. The immaculately chiselled 'Daybreaker' is so beautiful and distant that it almost isn't there at all.
  5. Yeah, she’s sticking with the formula that got her going six years ago, but when it actually works, why bother messing with it?
  6. Orton delivers some gooey pop complete with sticky tunes and honey-dipped ear candy - yet it's heavy, disturbing, recondite.
  7. Orton has a flair for penning languid, spacious songs whose forlorn characters seem as adrift as the music's fleeting acoustic guitar chords and absentminded piano tinkles.
  8. 80
    Daybreaker's more conventional nature puts a greater and more intriguing challenge on Orton's vocal cords to be the album's main instrument; that voice, a breathless cry that falls somewhere between Natalie Merchant and Bjork, is more than equal to the task.
  9. 80
    Daybreaker, though neither as arresting as her debut nor as cohesive as its follow-up, almost corrects the inconsistency issue. [#55, p.86]
  10. 80
    This is her best to date, but she'll be better yet. [Sep 2002, p.102]
  11. Listen beyond the surface and you'll hear an old school folkie who could just as easily curl up with her acoustic guitar and sing you to heavenly sleep.
  12. 70
    Daybreaker is no less gripping for its optimism. [Sep 2002, p.250]
  13. Like Trailer Park, her first full-length, the new Daybreaker is less about melody and being lovely than about instrumentation and experimentation with the elements--electronic, acoustic, and lyrical.
  14. This time, the arrangements that envelop Orton's ruminations on various ill-suited partners are too hazy and languid.
  15. 60
    At their best, Orton's songs do achieve what Daybreaker sets out to achieve--a sense of watching the dawn rise, all hyper and half awake from having been up all night arguing, making love or simply conversing intensely. [Sep 2002, p.108]
  16. Although it's perhaps her most consistent and mature work to date, it's also her least engaging, never matching the dizzying heights of her previous efforts even as it consciously avoids past pitfalls.
  17. 60
    The production smudges the songs into fuzzy watercolors, and Orton's twangy burr can't always cut through. [Sep 2002, p.128]
  18. About half of the album plods through bland, wispy material that gasps for hooks to latch onto and gives Orton too much room to show off her limited vocal range.
  19. Some of the songs here are forgettable in the extreme.
  20. What truly separates Daybreaker from other Orton efforts is its lack of emotional resonance-- moments where Beth just belts it out or where she actually seems engaged with the songs she's singing.
  21. Tortoise-pace strumming and a crippling shortage of choruses produce only torpor. [Aug 2002, p.131]
  22. Orton seems to be embracing the humdrum, schlocky sound of New Age crooners and adult contemporary mush like Dido.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 8 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 6
  2. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Jul 21, 2013
    Orton's strongest and most satisfying outing to date, Daybreaker achieves that rare balance of musical diversity and thematic cohesion. Choice collaborations with the likes of Ryan Adams, Emmy Lou Harris and Johnny Marr extend Orton's artistic range. But it's the production that elevates this record, with Victor Van Vugt, William Orbit, the Chemical Brothers, Ben Watt and Orton herself contributing to an overall intensity and warmth that eclipses 1999s Central Reservation. Listen to: "Mount Washington", a slow motion launch into a haze of sound that is Orton's folktronica tour-de-force. Full Review »