After stumbling across a video from @benkesslermusic on the singer/songwriter side of TikTok and loving what I saw, I decided to take a deep dive into the artist’s music. Come to find out, this indie musician has just released his debut EP Cruise Control on March 19.
“It had been a loose plan for a while to make an EP when I graduated college. I didn't think that would happen at the start of a pandemic. and I didn’t think I’d move home from Nashville. and I didn’t think I’d still be here. call it fate or whatever you want - but it is a funny thing this ep was made in the same room I learned how to make music & fell in love with it. I am not religious and I am not overly spiritual but the universe works and it’s comforting to lean into fate sometimes. I think all these songs say this in some way,” Kessler detailed in an Instagram post.
The EP includes five tracks, one being “Everything To Everyone,” the song teased on TikTok.
“Sometimes I wanna get a tattoo / I don’t even know if it’s for me or for you / Some days I’m the loudest in the room / Most days I don’t feel like talking too loud / I shapeshift,” Kessler sings while playing the acoustic guitar.
While the fully produced version of the track is amazing as well, I definitely loved the stripped-down snippet even more. Kessler’s vocal’s are soft and soothing, with genius lyricism as well.
The intro and title track “Cruise Control,” demonstrates contradicting anxious thoughts about wanting to grow, but inevitably being afraid of choices and change.
“One foot on the gas, one foot on the break / All the things I love are the things that I hate / I breathe deep or I suffocate / I’m either numb or I feel everything / Best I ever had or I can't stand the taste / Take one drink, drink all I can take / I’m scared to leave but I don't wanna stay / I wanna grow but I don't wanna change.”
Kessler states that he feels he is floating and falling, not knowing where to go. This exhausting back and forth is something many people face in life, and must find their way through to overcome.
“for most of my time doing this music stuff nothing was ever good enough or special enough or cool enough. I'm always fighting back those voices but it’s a lot easier to ignore them w all of ur messages and comments and love - I am truly grateful that there are more of u everyday connecting with this music and whatever I'm trying to say”
With music, Kessler has been able to become more confident and connect with people on a different level he didn’t always feel was possible. I believe that he is a super underrated artist still though, and I hope he gets more well-deserved recognition soon.
On track “Love You Now, Love You Later,” Kessler talks about love and the hard feelings surrounding it, ones which he normally chooses to ignore. Love and relationships are a part of everyone’s lives that can be difficult to maneuver, but music is a place where you can hear that you are not alone.
The last two tracks “It Could Be Worse,” and “Lying,” show an even more vulnerable side of the artist, and help demonstrate his abilities even more.
I would love to hear a more experimental mesh of genres and a wider range of sound from Kessler in the future. While there is room to grow for this new star of course, this was a great collection of tunes for his first project and anyone can enjoy this artist and his shining talent. If you love music, be sure to check out Ben Kessler on all platforms and listen to this EP.
I would give this EP 4 out of 5 Swoops.