Album cover for All The Little Lights by Passenger
The first thing one might note when hearing the voice of British singer/songwriter Michael Rosenberg, aka, Passenger, is that he sounds somewhat similar to James Blunt. He has a very distinct yet potentially polarizing voice that may take some getting used to.
The reward comes to those who stick with him as his style is unlike Blunt’s with his poetic lyrics and musical perspective that can be soothing or thought-provoking. Stylistically, he might be more along the lines of Ed Sheeran albeit with a more outwardly look on songwriting.
All The Little Lights is an album that originally came out in February 2012. Like many Atlantic-crossover records, it has taken a while to grasp in North America where Passenger’s first single Let Her Go is only now making waves.
The sound ranges from classic soul/folk to a more contemporary guitar pop sound that helps to make this album one of the more timeless releases in recent years.
Passenger’s songwriting is introspective on songs like Things That Stop You Dreaming and Let Her Go, the latter is his take on the ‘don’t know what you got til it’s gone’ theme with a love twist.
He’s also socially perspective on songs like the upbeat Staring At The Stars and Life’s For The Living, which takes life lessons and gives them a message that can be passed on with the chorus “Don’t you cry for the lost/smile for the living/get what you need and give what you’re given/life’s for the living so live it/or you’re better off dead.”
He takes a personal approach with the title-track All The Little Lights, a lyrically spectacular self-confession/realization that “we’re born with millions of little lights shining in the dark” but one goes out for every faltering instance.
Passenger writes like someone who’s been songwriting for a long time – and he has as member of the band of the same name since 2003, though he has been solo since 2009.
There’s no sense of hesitation in the lyrics and their delivery in the songs that can separate a newcomer from a longtime writer. While Let Her Go may be what reels you in, the lyrics of songs like Staring At The Stars or Life’s For The Living are what cements his place as an authentic songwriter and musician.
1. Things That Stop You Dreaming
2. Let Her Go
3. Staring At The Stars
4. All The Little Lights
5. The Wrong Direction
7. Keep On Walking
8. Patient Love
9. Life’s For The Living
11. Feather On The Clyde
12. I Hate