Written by Aaron Mark with thanks to Atlantic Records UK
American singer-songwriter Alec Benjamin first came to my attention a few years ago with the track ‘Let Me Down Slowly’ featuring Alessia Cara, and I was instantly won over by his honest vocals and lyrics.
This self-made artist has experienced many challenges in his career already, at age 25, he has had to fight his way into the industry. After being signed to Columbia Records whilst he was still in university, that partnership later ended without him having time to submit his album, so he took to performing in the parking lots of Shawn Mendes and Troy Sivan concerts. His ingenuity and business prowess saw his music get notable recognition, and in January 2019 he made his TV debut by performing ‘Let Me Down Slowly’ on The Late Late Show with James Corden.
Now Alec has recaptured my attention with his album ‘These Two Windows’ out now via all major music streaming services.
Coming of age, coming of sound – this album nosedives deep into some personal and honest topics. It would have been all too easy for the record to become heavy and solemn, but Alec keeps it bright and optimistic with his simplistic backing and lofty vocal tones. The album opens with one of my personal favourites ‘Mind Is A Prison’ which demonstrates Alecs ability to craft a glorious pop masterpiece. The smooth piano backing paired with seamlessly catchy lyrics, showcase how Alec can take traditional pop song elements, yet make it his own, all whilst exploring the complex topic of being trapped inside your own thoughts.
“I’m just a tenant paying rent inside this body and I, got two windows and those windows well I call them my eyes”
‘Oh My God’ is Alecs exploration of the power of mistakes, and the consequences that lie behind them. You could call this a true coming of age track, but despite its youthful vibrant sound, it’s a topical questioning posed by many of us throughout our lives, ‘Oh my God… what have I done?’
The pain of heartbreak and breaking up take centre stage in ‘The Book Of You & I’ and ‘Match In The Rain’, both of which explore the raw and honest feelings of the loss we experience during a break up. ‘The Book Of You & I’ is particularly refreshing as it’s a more honest and heartfelt rendition of how you feel when you realise your relationship is coming to an end, and it stands out in a sea of love-scorned revenge tracks that currently surround the airways.
“I felt her growing distant, and I knew her love was shifting”
There’s no denying that Alecs spiritual journey was also at the forefront of his mind when writing this record, take ‘Demons’ and ‘Jesus in LA’ – both reflecting upon Alecs own pilgrimages. Rarely do we get to explore such honest and candid experiences in pop music, but the singer songwriter isn’t holding back and isn’t afraid to use his songs as his own personal journal entries.
“I’ve been looking for my saviour, looking for my truth”
Rounding off the record are the soulful and heartfelt ‘Must Have Been The Wind’ and ‘Just Like You’ both of which show us the soft and emotional side to the singer songwriter. ‘Must Have Been The Wind’ highlights themes of chivalry and gentleman qualities that are rarely bared so openly in todays macho-supreme culture, and I was floored at the truth Alec revealed in ‘Just Like You’ as he acknowledges his father and how he hopes he’s ‘just like him’ when he has his own children.
“Now that I’m older, I realise my Father was doing the best he could do’”
Overall, ‘These Two Windows’ brings back authentic and honest song writing that feels fresh and current. With so much dance and rap music dominating the charts, it’s a welcome relief to find a record that isn’t afraid to be different, and I’m confident all of our ‘two windows’ will be seeing a lot more of Alec Benjamin in the future.