FREEDOM AND BEN HOWARD’S I FORGET WHERE WE WERE

Sorry it’s been a few days since I last posted! I’ve been madly finishing my essay and spending time with friends and family, including watching movies at my besties and looking around Whittlesea Show with my dad, stepmum and my younger sisters. Lots of fun!

But most fun of all… Today, after a very dull morning at work, I finally handed in my last assignment!!! Last time I’ll be going to my uni, too. FREEDOM! I am very relieved it’s over. Also went shopping with my Mum and my sister, and got my ears pierced. Very happy.

(But don’t worry, I’ve had plenty of time to read as well. A review for Alice Oseman’s Solitaire will be up tomorrow).

To celebrate, I’d like to tell you all about a non-book related obsession that I’m having at the moment (well, apart from My Mad Fat Diary and the final season of Breaking Bad, which I still can’t get over) and that is Ben Howard’s new album I Forget Where We Were.

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At the moment (while so many others are listening to Taylor Swift’s new album) I am living and breathing this remarkable and incredibly creative album of songs about, from what I can see, the end of all things, and everything in between. It’s amazing. I highly recommend that you listen to it. Below I have (rather badly) attempted to describe each of the songs. They are all wonderful, but my favourites are Small Things, Rivers in Your Mouth, I Forget Where We Were, Conrad and End of the Affair. 

1. Small Things

A harrowing tune that moves from a hypnotic beat to a softer chorus that asks ‘Has the world gone mad/or is it me?’ This song goes on in a way that views the world in all its desperation and bleakness.

The last lyric of the song ‘And I can’t see my love’ breaks your heart before Ben uses all his lungs to sing the chorus again over a sped-up version of the opening beat. Then we are propelled again into ‘And I can’t see my love,’ surrounded by a cacophony of sounds so delicious you just feel like sitting in the dark and letting it in. (Well, pretty much the whole album makes you feel like that. It also makes me feel like drinking cider or moscato). 

2. Rivers In Your Mouth

One of the more popish songs on the album, reminiscent of Ben’s first album. However, there is still a quality to this song that is different, and rawer. The bridge ‘I am not myself today/I am not feeling okay’ flows in between the more upbeat tones of the song. The tune breaks towards the end, spinning us off into the lyrics ‘And you showed me hope admits the hellequins in spring/And you told me life was learning how to be your friend’ to the last instrumental moment, that eventually thins out into things wishing to be heard.

3. I Forget Where We Were

The title track to the song and one of the first I heard and immediately loved. This song is so beautifully crafted, the lyrics intricate and complex. The way it winds between softness and harshness is something I’m unable to explain with words. There’s something so sorrowful about this song, but in a way that also celebrates life and love. ‘Hello love/my invincible friend/…/For you I have so many words/But I, I forget where we were.’ Just…omg. 

4. In Dreams

One of the least enjoyable of the album, but still a great listen. What’s most special about this song is the lyrics, particularly ‘I live alone/I live a lonely life without you/And I may be troubled/But I’m gracious in defeat.’ I can relate to the message of this song.

5. She Treats Me Well

Another of the more slower songs, good for a mellow tune in the background. It does pick up towards the end of the song in very nice guitar solo fashion.

6. Time Is Dancing

Truly a unique song. One that’s a little more difficult to piece together, but Ben said it himself: songs are about a lot of things. The way the song gradually speeds up is seamless. And then it altogether stops, before the instruments pick up again. A magical moment.

7. Evergreen

A lovely beginning to the song, smooth and true. ‘Built a world without your love/And I build it mean’ is a strong lyric. The ending of the song is the highlight.

8. End of the Affair

My favourite song on the album. It is musical genius. A song I could, and have, listened to on repeat on full volume, just lying on my bed in the dark, or with the sun shining through the window. The song is full of moments that break your heart, whether it is already broken or has never been. And it’s not just the lyrics that do that. The amazing and wonderful break into a harrowing instrumental also does the trick. Combined with Ben’s powerful, raw voice singing ‘What the hell love’ it really does it for me. It’s amazing. Spanish Sahara (by the Foals) standard of musical brilliance.

9. Conrad

A more hopeful tune, I think, that definitely is close to my heart. How is possible for a song to make you feel both happy and sad? Maybe because I already feel that way and listening to this song just brings it out of me. ‘I loved you with the good and the careless in me/But it all goes back’ are one of my favourite lyrics in the song, but I think it’s the melody I like best. 

10. All Is Now Harmed

Another special tune and a great way to end the album. 

I could seriously listen to this album all day. I mean, I think I have listened to it at least twenty times through already, some of those one after the other.

Well, that’s it for me today. Just thought I’d stop by before I collapse in bed and read :). Hope everyone is having a good day/evening!

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