Alec Benjamin Gets Real on 'These Two Windows'
Supreme storytelling. Heartwarming acoustics. Alec Benjamin blends both of his strengths on his first studio album These Two Windows. The singer-songwriter focuses on his lyricism while using minimal production backing them, which adds a personal feel to the entire release. In fact, the title These Two Windows refers to Benjamin’s eyes and his take on the themes that have been recycled through history.
Benjamin tackles difficult topics in his songs, such as domestic abuse (“Must Have Been the Wind”), the disenchantment of life in Hollywood (“Jesus in LA”) and mental health (“Mind is a Prison”). Each of these stories is examined for a full song through the perspective of the singer.
Even with Benjamin’s stripped down sound, the range varies from uptempo pop to ballads. While none of these songs would ever be played in a club, they make for easy listening and relaxation. Every track has a bright sound, even if the stories behind them are not as bright as they may appear.
“Alamo” was a track that stood out to me since it is the liveliest track. While Benjamin has claimed that the track is not historically accurate, he used how the Alamo was portrayed to him in school. He took the idea of the “last stand” and applied it to his own life and having such strong opinions that you’re willing to stand up for them and potentially lose a few friends over them.
“The Book of You & I” tells a story of a love from the beginning (“I was just 16 but I fell so hard”) to how they fell apart (“You’ve scribbled out my name/ And you’ve erased my favorite lines”) and the eventual lament over what could have been (“There were so many chapters that we never got to write”). Benjamin said that he wrote this song in 40 minutes with his friend Alex Hope, but claims that a song like this requires your whole life’s experience to write.
Finally, the song “Just Like You” really struck a chord with me. Parent/child relationship songs are so personal and always touch me when I listen to them. A lot of the lyrics are repetitive compared to some of his earlier storytelling, but the sentiment of the song made it stand out. Every person has had that moment as they’re growing up that they realize their parents are just doing the best that they can, which is all we can ask for. Coming to this realization is never an easy journey, but Benjamin puts it into song perfectly.
Superb narrative skills and acoustic guitars wrap up this album into a nice little bow. Listeners get a look into Benjamin’s life in this deeply personal album. Be sure to stream These Two Windows here.