PUT YOUR RECORDS ON: Passenger

TEMP ORARY October 17, 2012 0

When I’m looking for new music, I go for what I’ll dub “The Titanic Effect.” No, I don’t mean songs that are a gigantic fail. What I mean is, you know that part in the movie “Titanic” where Rose is standing on the bow of the ship and puts her arms out, and the music is just SO GOOD? I mean, it’s Celine Dion, whatever, but do you know that feeling when the music is so indescribably perfect for the moment that you’re in that you just want to put your arms out and feel it? That’s how I felt when I first heard Passenger.
Passenger is the brainchild of singer/songwriter Mike Rosenberg of Brighton, England. Rosenberg began making music in 2003 and performs live as part of a four-piece band as well as a quintet. Passenger’s most recent album, “All the Little Lights,” was released earlier in 2012.
What draws me to Passenger’s music is the expansiveness of their sound: the layers of string instruments, including acoustic guitar and cello, that give each song a cinematic quality, plus, “light”-sounding instruments, such as glockenspiel, or bells. Rosenberg’s voice is also very unique, and his vocals are truly unmatchable. In some songs, Rosenberg whistles the tune, which is neat, because I can’t sing, but I can whistle, so I can at least pretend to have musical abilities on occasion.
As always, meaningful lyrics are a key component of my assessment of a band, and the song “Let Her Go” really made me think:
“Well 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
Only know you’ve been high when you’re feeling low
Only hate the road when you’re missing home
Only know you love her when you let her go
And you let her go.”
The contradictory yet logical nature of these statements really captured my thoughts when I first heard the song. I stopped and thought about how there have been times in my life that I only realized something was important when it was already gone. I think there’s a lot to be said for how we should appreciate things more while we have them, and not wait to feel that acknowledgement when we realize the significance of something’s absence. The paradoxes in the lyrics allow the listener to derive their own meaning, and I’d venture to say it’s a great liberty in art when the creator leaves the construction of the message up to the audience.
Passenger’s thought-provoking lyrics and adept musical style evoke the idea that music, as an art form, should make the listener feel something. Whether or not it makes you want to put your arms out Rose-style as you stand on the BSC Patio is one thing, but hey, you do you, champ.

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