There are not that many folk singers in today’s music industry that get the attention of the mainstream Billboard music listeners. Passenger is in no way a newcomer as it has its active years since its inception in 2003.However, it’s his latest single, ‘Let Her Go’, that tops number 1 charts in countries such as Finland, Germany, Australia, achieving UK’s biggest selling singles since 1998, and putting Passenger in the spotlight.
What started out as a band in 2003, it then changed to a solo project by Michael Rosenberg in 2009, with the release of 4 albums so far and the latest one ‘All The Little Lights’, being released in summer 2012.
‘All The Little Lights’ is the fourth and latest album by Passenger. A heavily guitar elements embedded throughout the songs, accompanied by heartfelt lyrics and intimate singing, making the album to sound notably soothing yet full of passions and wholehearted.
It starts with a comforting sound of violin in the tune of ‘Things That Stop You Dreaming’. Accompanied by smooth drum filling and Rosenberg’s personal lyrics, makes the tune to serve as a sweet opener. His line “If you can’t get what you love, you learn to love the things you’ve got” in some way sums up the philosophy of this tune.
‘Let Her Go’, being the hit single of the album, comes as the second song. This tune gives a calm mellow ambiance with slow violin playing throughout the song, rhythmic acoustic guitar and philosophical lines “you only need the light when it’s burning low, only miss the sun when it starts to snow, only know you love her when you let her go”. It closes with a very close and intimate singing of Rosenberg, as if you are the only one he’s singing to.
Related: Let Her Go – Cover by Lazy Saturday Project
‘The Wrong Direction’ feels very personal from the perspective of Rosenberg in regards of his self-introspective journey towards his definition of success. With pop beats and folk guitar atmosphere, he sings about the feeling of being down and low, as if we’re nothing until we’re everything to the world. His lyrics “Cause I’d love to feel love but I can’t stand the rejection, I hide behind my jokes as a form of protection” gives a modest idea of his struggle to get the spotlight in music industry.
He once said during live show in Pink Pop 2013 of how small the buzz is in the first 9 months of the release of ‘All The Little Lights’ (as if none happened) until a radio producer from Netherlands called him up and willing to put his songs on the radio because he thinks it would be a hit.
‘Live’s for the Living’ is a sweet classic tune that represents a well-said philosophy of life. Rosenberg’s combination of his guitar finger picking and rhythmic style superbly fits the song. With slight harmonica playing in the background and trumpet-driven melody, this song highlights its lyrics that can be very well sing along to: “Don’t you cry for the lost, smile for the living/Get what you need and give what you’re given/Life’s for the living so live it, or you’re better off dead”
The tune is followed up by another well-composed sing-along song ‘Holes’. This pop folk tune tells the daily struggle of life, and putting it nicely with the phrase of “We’ve got holes in our hearts, yeah we’ve got holes in our lives, we’ve got holes but we carry on”.
The album is closed by a humoristically written lyrics of ‘I Hate’, mentioning all the silly little things that Rosenberg (and probably many of us too) find it to be unfavorably annoying and sometimes infuriating, like “racist blokes, telling tasteless jokes and explaining where people belong”.
His candid lyrics surely can get the audience laughs or simply getting their attention, especially during the chorus part where he sings “La la la lay..La la la lay..”. A slight resemblance of The Boxer by Simon & Garfunkel, a tune that is able to let 500.000+ people sing along during their historic concert in Central Park.
Overall, this album has a notable positive spirit and particularly candid point of view regarding life’s struggle, journey to our own definition of success, and living life for the moment with lots of appreciation and kindness to one another. His effort to turn the negative things to humor and, at times, philosophy, has given a great value that can be picked up in this album.
The sound quality is in a bhigher level than it is with his previous album, Flight Of The Crow, although both are self-funded entirely by busking. Other than that, a collection of easy listening songs with catchy phrases and a great guitar picking surely gives a fresh breeze of air to the ears in today’s computer-beats driven mainstream tunes in the Billboard charts and alike.
Writen by: Bimo Murti | Singer-songwriter of Lazy Saturday Project | EP debut is available at the music page