If you want to hear relatable journal entries turned into hits for the youth, you should listen to Alec Benjamin. His debut album These Two Windows arrived on the last Friday of May, and it truly features a unique consciousness that music needs today. A singer-songwriter capable of creating abundant bedroom pop for significant connections.
The first song I discovered from him was “Must Have Been The Wind” through Spotify and his voice on the chorus immediately reeled me in. The singer sounds like a mix of pubescent Shirley Temple and another teen pop heartthrob, Conor Maynard. The single is about domestic abuse, with Alec making himself a coping figure to his friend when she’s ready to talk. The gift of putting personal stories into divine lyrics was the gateway to his following.
Alec is trapped in his inner thoughts in the opener “Mind is A Prison.” In Genius.com, he admits that he has OCD and this song is an anthem for fans who continually overthink things to the point of a continuous cycle. “Got two windows, and those windows, well, I call them my eyes / I'm just going where the wind blows, I don't get to decide,” Benjamin sings.
Benjamin is at his best when making heartfelt music by using past experiences. “The Book of You and I” reflects back on a relationship with unfulfilled promises that’s eating away his emotions. He wishes things ended smoother but the heartache and memories only lie with him while his ex is far and gone. This is so relatable because a common reason of a burned bridge is no explanation of leaving.
The album is darker than his first mixtape as he’s dealing with “Demons” he can only see. We all suffer demonic parts of mental health so this track is very relatable. Alec alludes to his mother or another family member that knows how to save him. Heavily influenced by John Mayer, you hear the guitarist in Benjamin through half the album on tracks “Oh My God” or “Jesus in LA.” It’s also part of his angelic stardom, which came from singing to fans outside artists’ shows which led to joint tours.
He borrows a phrase from the Mexican-American War in “Alamo” yet takes the surrender into his own by fighting for his opinions that might lose friends. The song symbolizes the fervor we contain and bury deep down in order to keep the tranquility of our separate parties. One of Benjamin’s niches is metaphors and it’s almost effortless for him to make incompatible nature collide with animate objects. It’s heard best on “Match In The Rain” where he compares fixing the hopeless relationship “like flying a kite in a hurricane.” Thus, the melody accelerates and flow smoothly for every memorable lyric he writes.
“The clouds are rolling in, I feel you drifting away /And though my intuition tells me that it's too late /That in these conditions, tryin' to bring back the flame is like /Tryin' to light a match in the rain”
The vulnerability of Alec’s music portrays truthfulness seen in few major pop stars today. He finds that what he needed to jumpstart his blossoming career, was his real family instead of a popular music haven in “Jesus in L.A.” Many underground artists take a traveling risk to dreamy cities and end up lost. So the song acts as a tip to always rely on your inner circle first always. “I’m Not a Cynic” delivers more fluent advice where positivity is good to have yet you need negativity to balance the reality of one's peril. “You can't just change the weather by changing your point of view /Some days you have to wait until the storms just passes through.”
The album ends with "Just Like You," a tribute to Alec's father. From observing the struggles of parenting, he'll use the lessons learned to pass on his own family's future like any household.
Alec Benjamin's debut is a open book of gloomy, calm maturity with vaporous messages. At only 25, the sky's the limit for a young storyteller with a guardian's tenor. I give this album 4.5 out of 5 Swoops.