Every Kingdom by Ben Howard
Ben Howard’s debut album, which was released in 2011, is a remarkable gem of extraordinary consistency and excellence. One of the several things I love about this thing is that in every one of the songs, Ben Howard shows just how good of a singer he is, and it makes for quite an impressive first album.
My favorite song on Every Kingdom would have to be Old Pine, which is the first track. It opens with a minute long acoustic guitar intro. I found this to be incredibly relaxing, and it builds up until Ben Howard starts singing with his smoky voice. The lyrics of this entire tune made me feel as if I was relaxing on a beach on a summer evening. That’s how good the lyrics are: I felt completely immersed in this song, as well as the others on this album, as I kept listening.
This solo artist is one that I discovered on Spotify last year, along with many others. He has a musical style that is so genuine, and his debut album is a beam of light among a sea of mediocrity. This is further proven by the song Black Flies, in which his vocals are brought down a notch, but not in quality. This is the first song on Every Kingdom, in my opinion, where his vocal delivery became truly angst-ridden. The part where he sings, “No man is an island, oh this I know. Oh can’t you see, maybe you were an ocean, when I was just a stone,” is one that I found to be very heart-wrenching. The lyrics are just so powerful. You see, lyrics are one of the things I look for when determining if a song is enjoyable to me or not. And each track on this album has some of the best lyrics I’ve heard, in all of my time spent listening to music so far.
Keep Your Head Up is my second favorite song on here, mostly because of the overall tone of it. I found this song, in its entirety, to be surprisingly uplifting.
Only Love is another one that is really upbeat, both in its instrumentation and lyrical content.
The Fear is vastly different, because to me, it conveys a powerful message. We all have fear at more than one point of our lives, and it can be quite difficult to overcome this terror that takes hold of us. It can come from a wide array of different situations. The main thing to take away from this particular tune is that, like Ben Howard sings, we live “in the confines of the fear,” and in those moments, we shall overcome, no matter what the situation may be.
Yes, this album is different. But that certainly did not pull me away from it. In fact, this very quality drew me closer. This is an experience not to be missed.