Going strong as it can go, Passenger has once again released his self-funded album entirely from busking despite having achieved #1 worldwide success of the hit song ’Let Her Go’ from his previous album ‘All The Little Lights’. The fifth and his latest album, entitled ‘Whispers’, serves as a soothing breezy folky vibes with some of his previously-separated-released tunes such as ‘Rolling Stone’, ‘Hearts On Fire’ and, of course, ‘Whispers’. The album is filled with honesty and passionate vocals with Mike Rosenberg doing what he’s always being good at, storytelling.
The album starts with ‘Coins In A Fountain’, an earthy vibe tune with percussion-driven beats that gives a bright atmosphere as a very subtle way of introduction to the album. This is probably the closest to world music in the tune within this album. As Rosenberg points out in the chorus “Love is the only song I’ll sing”, and sure thing he sings that well.
‘27 years’ is an upbeat tune that follows it. With a similar atmosphere of the ‘Traveller’s Song’, this tune shows the depth of self-reflective lyrics that Rosenberg always manages to put out in a unique way. As pointed out that he has “Written 600 songs…87,000 cigarettes..5 proper girlfriends and 5 messy breakups”.
Related: Passenger – 27 (Live @ Pinkpop)
Ed Sheeran has always a close affiliate to Rosenberg. And this ‘Heart’s On Fire’ is one of the songs they sing together already a couple years back. According to Rosenberg, being the oldest tune in the record and also the lead single of the album, this song was created in a very natural way within short period of the time right after he finished one of his gig. With acoustic vibes and distinctive fingerpicking style of Rosenberg, the broken hearted lyrics suits very much with the companion of orchestral background throughout the song. ‘Bullets’ serves as an easy listening tune with strong country vibes that, when integrated with the harmonica playing, reminds of a Bob Dylan type of song.
‘Golden Leaves’ serves as another acoustic tune with a unique classical spanish guitar chord composition with a soothing orchestral background throughout the song. Nostalgic love storytelling accompanies the song that makes it a wonderfully written tune and lyrics.
‘Rolling Stone’ is a life journey storytelling that is wrapped in a beautiful acoustic ballad with continuous flow and passionate vocal. The self-reflective of Rosenberg’s journey, doubt, hope and love are expressed well throughout the lyrics with the metaphor of rolling stone inside himself. One sometimes wonder if a tune this beautiful deserves to be played on a street in a form of busking.
‘Whisper’ has a great dynamic tune that starts out in a beautiful acoustic piece that slowly intensifies as the vocal shows a strong passion in delivering the lyrics that describes the title best. A laud Rosenberg sings “Everyone’s filling me up with noise, I don’t know what they’re talking about // You see all I need’s a whisper in a world that only shouts”
Storytelling has always been the greatest of Rosenberg towards all his songs. As this tune plays along ‘Riding To New York’, it serves as a very personal song that touches the heart with the story it tells. Rosenberg describes the song was manifested from a short conversation he had at 3 AM over a cigarette with an old bloke, who’s a stranger, that was diagnosed with cancer and therefore decided to take his bike and ride it to New York to meet and spend the rest of his remaining time with his kids as an effort to make up his past mistakes. The man might’ve never heard the song, but his story has touched million others.
Rosenberg close the album with a powerfully spirited song ‘Scare Away The Dark’ that turns bitter reality to a positive vibes with a spirit of freedom that tells you sing at the top of your voices and love without a fear in your heart. The phrase “If we all light up, we can scare away the dark” truly gives the message across. It ends with a powerful sing along phase that he surely has wonderfully used to get audiences’ participation to share the joy of the song and the freedom to “sing at the top of your voice”.
This album has served as an excellent choice to put on the ipod or music player for a soothing, loving, easy listening tunes with honest and passionate voices over a beautifully written lyrics and guitar playing. Passenger has surely evolved in terms of his musical writing and storytelling through his songs, and amazingly enough, he still puts his busking performance up to this day to get his music across to people. As he referred the busking as “something i grew to love…. and it’s a great way to play music to people who wanna listen”
Another reason to keep doing what we love with all our heart.
Writen by: Bimo Murti | Singer-songwriter of Lazy Saturday Project | EP debut is available here