‘All The Little Lights’ has already peaked at number 3 in the UK album charts and there are not many people who wouldn’t have heard the catchy lead single ‘Let Her Go’.
Since the split of his band of the same name, ‘Passenger’ aka Michael Rosenberg, originally from Brighton and Hove, has spent the last four years as a solo artist. After spending most of this time experiencing popularity on the other side of the world in Australia he returned to the UK where he supported Ed Sheeran on tour. Along with Ed and the likes of Ben Howard, Passenger joins the new era of instantly loveable ‘men and their guitars’.
The well-known track ‘Let Her Go’ was a wise choice for the first single as it really gives a taste for what this album has to offer. Which is, summed up in a sentence – catchy instrumental tunes, a distinctive voice and emotional but realistic lyrics with a relatable message.
There’s a 50/50 split of slow folk – ‘Feather on the Clyde’ and ‘All the Little Lights’ – and up-tempo songs such as ‘Holes’ and ‘Staring at the Stars’. No artist seems able to not bring the theme of love into music and with a clue in the name ‘Patient Love’ takes on the role of the love song on this album, although it’s not all heartbreak as there is instantly a summery feel to the track. This could be said for the entire album, but behind the cheery instrumentals there seems to be a powerful message to the songs. Images of ‘broken Britain’ are created from references to alcohol, drugs, daytime TV – poking fun at Britain’s guilty pleasure; The Jeremy Kyle show – and city life.
Themes create another split of the album, from realism to dreaming. Even the titles give this away, such as ‘Staring at the stars’ suggesting escaping the message that is given in ‘Things that stop you dreaming’. Whilst all the tunes can undoubtedly be placed in the ‘easy-listening’ category, if listeners really hear the lyrics it will be impossible to not think about life, growing up and loss. Especially with one of the more pull-at-your-heartstring tracks ‘Live for the Living’ which sings ‘don’t cry for the lost, smile for the living’.
The record highlights Passenger’s talented poetic songwriting skills, with most tracks giving a positive message out of a negative situation. A personal favourite, which does this, is the second single off the album ‘Holes’. For me, I love this up-beat song as it was constantly played in a bar I worked in – an unlikely artist to be played in a bar or club environment but it always made everyone sing-a-long to the ‘but we carry on’ message. It’s definitely one of the catchiest songs and in my opinion the best on the album.
There’s also a theme of personal nostalgia throughout the record, with ‘Circles’ clearly being written about Passenger’s experience of childhood and growing up. Similarly, ‘Keep on Walking’ will remind listeners of growing up in Britain and will probably be able to relate to every city life type of person mentioned.
Passenger’s beautifully written album is perfect for any mood and any time of day – Let Her Go is even an unlikely hit in clubs, remixed – if you’re after some new easy listening ‘All the Little Lights’ is definitely a winner.