12 Songs, 36 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Is Alec Benjamin Gen Z’s folk-pop ambassador? The Phoenix area singer-songwriter draws on the poetic sensibilities of his idols—John Mayer, Paul Simon, Eminem, and Jason Mraz—and adds a youthful perspective (“I saw it on the news one day/When the towers fell down/September’s not the same place now,” he sings on “1994,” a tribute to the year he was born). Older listeners will find plenty to connect with; most of these songs are classic coming-of-age stories about shifting family dynamics (“If We Have Each Other”), broken hearts ("Annabelle’s Homework”), and learning things the hard way (“Boy in the Bubble”). Benjamin’s gentle tenor and heart-on-sleeve lyricism evoke a level of intimacy that can feel, at times, like eavesdropping: He spirals into extreme hypotheticals (“If I Killed Someone for You”) and fantasizes about what would be different if he’d been braver (“Water Fountain”). These are heavy admissions, but the bright hooks and tuneful melodies make them go down easier.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Is Alec Benjamin Gen Z’s folk-pop ambassador? The Phoenix area singer-songwriter draws on the poetic sensibilities of his idols—John Mayer, Paul Simon, Eminem, and Jason Mraz—and adds a youthful perspective (“I saw it on the news one day/When the towers fell down/September’s not the same place now,” he sings on “1994,” a tribute to the year he was born). Older listeners will find plenty to connect with; most of these songs are classic coming-of-age stories about shifting family dynamics (“If We Have Each Other”), broken hearts ("Annabelle’s Homework”), and learning things the hard way (“Boy in the Bubble”). Benjamin’s gentle tenor and heart-on-sleeve lyricism evoke a level of intimacy that can feel, at times, like eavesdropping: He spirals into extreme hypotheticals (“If I Killed Someone for You”) and fantasizes about what would be different if he’d been braver (“Water Fountain”). These are heavy admissions, but the bright hooks and tuneful melodies make them go down easier.

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