18 Songs, 1 Hour 8 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

With 2012’s All the Little Lights, it was clear that Passenger was cut above most other earnest lads of British folk-pop; singer/songwriter/one-man-band Mike Rosenberg offered refined wordplay, biting humor, and a sandy, disarming croon. Whispers underscores his potential, talent, and fresh perspective. “Coins in a Fountain” opens the album with a nod to the folk-fusion of Richard Thompson—acoustic fingerpicking, cello, and lush harmonies—but, like most other songs on Whispers, Rosenberg’s subtle surprises make the track remarkably fresh. The songwriter alternates verses with a ringing instrumental hook and adds a pattering tom-tom beat to give the track a vaguely international swing. Regardless of whether he’s delivering a hushed heartbreaker (“Golden Leaves,” “Whispers”) or a shuffling, uptempo tune (“Start a Fire,” the harmonica-adorned “Bullets”), they all have carefully placed, unexpected details. The key to album’s rewards may lie in the lyrics to the brightly swinging “27”—when Rosenberg playfully bemoans the fact that he’s “written 600 songs / only 12 get sung,” it suggests that his discernment is paying off brilliantly.

EDITORS’ NOTES

With 2012’s All the Little Lights, it was clear that Passenger was cut above most other earnest lads of British folk-pop; singer/songwriter/one-man-band Mike Rosenberg offered refined wordplay, biting humor, and a sandy, disarming croon. Whispers underscores his potential, talent, and fresh perspective. “Coins in a Fountain” opens the album with a nod to the folk-fusion of Richard Thompson—acoustic fingerpicking, cello, and lush harmonies—but, like most other songs on Whispers, Rosenberg’s subtle surprises make the track remarkably fresh. The songwriter alternates verses with a ringing instrumental hook and adds a pattering tom-tom beat to give the track a vaguely international swing. Regardless of whether he’s delivering a hushed heartbreaker (“Golden Leaves,” “Whispers”) or a shuffling, uptempo tune (“Start a Fire,” the harmonica-adorned “Bullets”), they all have carefully placed, unexpected details. The key to album’s rewards may lie in the lyrics to the brightly swinging “27”—when Rosenberg playfully bemoans the fact that he’s “written 600 songs / only 12 get sung,” it suggests that his discernment is paying off brilliantly.

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