Now, for anyone unfamiliar with Alec Benjamin, which if you are I don’t blame you because he is a relatively new up and coming artist, but he has had songs such as “Let Me Down Slowly” and “Boy In The Bubble” do pretty well in some Spotify playlists, I mean, that’s how I discovered him because I saw countless ads day after day on Spotify promoting his songs and after a while I thought “why not give it a try, maybe they’ll stop bothering me then”, but to my surprise yet joy I discovered I really liked “Let Me Down Slowly”, it was catchy and slow enough so I could do work with it on in the background but had lyrics I could also belt out if the mood struck. It was also different to anything I have heard on the radio or on the top charts lately and I found it really refreshing.
Since then I have been obsessed and become very familiar with the rest of Alec’s songs, so when he announced his album release I was ecstatic. Finally, the day came and I haven’t stopped listening to it since. And I’ve got to say I was shocked with how lyrically brilliant each and every song was. It was a real experience to have been able to listen to song after song and been blown away with how lyrically sound they were. Alec was able to portray such specific yet universal feelings in such a way that it doesn’t feel boring or tedious, a way that makes you just want to listen to him sing all day long, telling his story.
So for this little album review of “Narrated For You”, I’ve decided to talk about my top 5 out of the 12 tracks.
Number 5: If We Have Each Other
“If We Have Each Other” is the opening track and is the second most popular on the album and I can definitely see why. This song was the one that grabbed my attention and set my expectations high for the album. Alec is able to tell such a touching and inspirational story in only a couple minutes and his word choice is impeccable.
The song follows the same story line but from 3 different points of view; a pregnant teen who is working to provide for herself and her unborn child, an elderly couple who have been married for decades and from Alec’s point of view talking to his sister.
The story is basically the saying “it doesn’t matter where you are, it matters who you’re with” and shows that if you are with the right person you can do anything. I think the format of the song is so clever because the chorus is consistent but with each new verse a different point of view is shown. In the chorus he says “The worlds not perfect, but it’s not that bad” and I think this can be interpreted in so many different ways which Alec shows through the different perspectives.
The teen is making the best out of the situation she’s in, having to work to provide for herself as well as a child, and saying that the world isn’t perfect but it could be worse. On the other hand, the married couple can see it as the world is not perfect but it’s very close as they reminisce about their youth. Alec also opens up about his relationship with his sister and how grateful he is for everything she’s done for him. I especially like this verse because I find it very touching how he included this in the opening song of the album as it shows how much she means to him.
Overall I can’t really find a fault in the song, in my opinion anyway, because it ticks all the boxes; good lyrics, meaningful, well produced and good instrumentation. So definitely a good one to start a great album.
Number 4: Gotta Be A Reason
The next is one that again, stuck out to me as really meaningful and well written. I think this song addresses one of the biggest questions “Why are we here?”. During this song Alec questions his existence and the reasoning behind it saying that there’s “gotta be a reason” but he doesn’t know what it is and I think this feeling of being lost and confused of your purpose is quite universal and many people can relate to it.
The reason that this song is so high on my list is that I think it promotes a really positive message, although it can be hidden behind the sombre melody. My favourite lyric in the song is “We won’t be here for ever, so let’s make the best of it”. I like the contrast between the ominous atmosphere caused by Alec questioning human existence but also kind of saying not to question it and just to live life to the fullest, which I think is something that can be forgotten through the craziness of life, I think it would be so beneficial for everyone to slow down once and a while and not have to question everything or be searching for an answer all the time and just to live in the moment because it won’t last forever.
Number 3: Swim
Okay so this one I was really excited to talk about because I think it’s so unlike anything else that Alec has done in the album and I thought it’s just a really good song. Surprisingly the first thing I noticed about the song wasn’t the lyrics, for once, but actually the rhythm and melody because it has more complex rhythms and the melody stands out from most of the other songs. Now, not to say the lyrics in this song aren’t good but they are quite repetitive and I think it brings more of a focus on the production and instrumentation, which is good in this case.
The muted guitar strumming patterns allow the rhythms to be carried consistently throughout the song while the melody changes slightly. Sometimes when artists try to change up the melody of a song it can sound too choppy and like two different songs just mashed together but Alec is able to create a seamless change that allows an aspect of versatility but still keeps the song sounding whole. Alec also shows off more vocal harmonies which also boosts the production even more, so I think this one is really good for if you’re not into very lyrically based songs and just want a good beat to bop along with.
Number 2: Annabelle’s Homework
So it was hard to choose between number two and number one but I think this one just takes the second spot but I’ve got to say it was a close one. This song makes me want to cry, be angry but also sing my heart out all at once, I mean when I first heard it there were a lot of emotions.
The story line is basically about a boy that liked a girl, Annabelle, so he offers to do her homework in an attempt to win her heart but realises that no matter what he does he’ll never end up with her. Now let’s breakdown all these emotions this song made me feel. So I wanted to cry for most of it because it’s so sad, Alec’s vocals make me want to put up fairy lights, cry and sing along, which you know isn’t bad for a song. The way he describes how much this boy cares for this girl “ Careful as I write her name//On the corner of the page//Make it look like it was her, all along” and “ But I spent//22 days and 21 nights//Crossing every T, just making it right” it shows how much he cares and the effort he put in to a girl who will never like him nearly as much back. You just feel for the guy, you know.
Then it also makes me angry at this Annabelle girl because of the way she’s making this guy feel and using him like that and, I swear, I have a grudge on a fictional character in a song. I also feel that the melody is so, for a lack of a better word, singable. Like it’s something that once you know the words you can’t help but sing along, I don’t know what it is about it but you best believe if this song comes on I am stopping everything and yelling these lyrics. It’s also a song that you can get really into and would be great for a carpool karaoke with friends, just make sure everyone knows the words first 😉
Number 1: Water Fountain
Yay, we’ve made it to number one. Now this song is a real one. You know, how before I said “If We Have Each Other” was the one the lyrically got my attention, well I was wrong, this is the one. The one of the album. My favourite I have been playing non-stop since the album came out. This is also one of the more popular songs on the album as it was featured on the “New Music Friday” playlist on Spotify. Also, Billie Eilish also posted a cover of it on Instagram, but it was deleted 🙁
Anyway, this song reflects Alec Benjamin’s impeccable writing style in the best way possible, I mean the lyrics, just wow. The song surrounds the feeling of teenage love and the concept of a water fountain being this love is repeated and reinforced many times throughout the song. Now, this idea isn’t something new or unheard of but the each time he brings up the water fountain it’s in a different context to what is happening in the song at that time and it really shows off his storytelling skills.
Okay so the basic story line is a boy and a girl hanging out around a water fountain and they begin to develop feelings and the water fountain becomes their ‘spot’ and it’s all very innocent and sweet. Here the water fountain is portray as being new and shiny which reflects the new relationship.
However as they get older feelings fade and the girl starts to get involved with another boy who isn’t good for her. Alec sings about what he should’ve said and done to keep her around and protect her from this new guy. Now what I think is so smart is that in the first verse the water fountain is shown as cute and sweet but in the second verse Alec sings “The handles will be broken and the rust set in/But my hand will be open and I’ll try to fix it” and it shows the rocky stage of the relationship but how he’s willing to try to fix it. I think that this metaphor used throughout the song is so smart and it takes someone with such skill and talent to come up with these ideas and execute them so well. This really is an amazing song and I can see it doing very well in the future.
Okay so that’s a wrap on Alec Benjamin’s latest studio album “Narrated For You”, amazingly written with such beautifully crafted stories and messages. This album is one I see going far and bringing a lot of attention to this up and coming star, very keen to see what he brings in the future.