Album Review: Songs for the Drunk and Broken Hearted by Passenger

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Michael David Rosenberg, or better known by the name Passenger, is a singer and songwriter from England. While he has been making music since the early 2000s, he didn’t really find much fame until his track Let Her Go. The album was originally supposed to be released in 2020, but he has finally released his thirteenth studio album titled Songs for the Drunk and Broken Hearted.

The first track from the album is Sword from the Stone. It starts with an upbeat piano and guitar part harmonizing each other. Other than that, you don’t get too much more instrumentally, just a few more string and percussion instrumentals added during the chorus. I’m not too thrilled by the backing music. The title of the track seems to be referencing the Excalibur sword that was stuck in stone. He talks about trying to be in a positive mood but then something keeps him from achieving that happiness.

Tip of My Tongue keeps up the bright guitar and piano beats. This does seem to pick up the tempo a bit more compared to the previous track. I do enjoy the backing vocals that are sprinkled in there, mostly during the chorus of the track. Based on the lyrics of the track, it seems like there’s something he wants to say, but he’s not able to say it, so it’s just ‘on the tip of his tongue’. The two verses seem to show opposites and how the older generation may think things differently than the younger generation.

What You’re Waiting For is one of the first tracks from the album that I actually enjoy quite a bit. You get the more glitzy and exciting guitar instead of the acoustic guitar that has been prominent for most of the album so far. The drum kit also makes itself more known on this track. During the verses, it starts with an optimistic line, but then goes straight to a pessimistic outlook. The verses keep on switching between the two thoughts, which could allude to the fact of people wanting more in life, but never going after it.

The Way That I Love You slows down the tempo of the album and brings back the acoustic feeling that we have heard on the first few tracks. You also get some sweet violin strings later on in the track. If you can’t tell by the title of the track, this is a love song. It just seems like a stereotypical love song however and I can’t get over the fact that a lot of these things have been expressed on almost any single love song you have heard.

Remember to Forget finally brings back a little more energy to the album. The opening guitar lick kind of reminds me of some of the work from Smith Westerns. The lead singer talks about all of the bad things about himself and he seems to focus on this shortcomings for most of the track. However, there seems to be this person that he wants to stay with him since that person could be the saving grace for him. On the other hand, it could have to do with addiction and how it has a grasp on some people.

Sandstorm opens up quietly with some light noises in the background, as well as a peaceful and serene acoustic guitar. This is also the longest track on the album, just over five minutes in length. The verses are almost poetic like just with how they are built upon. It is a bit more unique than some of the other tracks, especially with the trumpet solo in the middle which is nice for a change. On this track, he talks about how he’s hard to understand.

Next, we have the title track, A Song for the Drunk and Broken Hearted. I was actually surprised and excited from the opening of this track. I can be a sucker for some of the more glitzier guitar parts in here, so that’s probably why I was drawn to this track. On this track, he seems to tackle the issue of addiction again and some of the reasons why some people may want to drink. Other than that, I could totally be missing the message of the track.

Suzanne is another toned and slowed down acoustic track from the album, and it really doesn’t seem much different than the other slowed down track from the album. He also seems to use the ‘mask’ symbolism again on this track. While this person named Suzanne seems to fallen off from what to seems like fame, he still sees the potential in her. However, it seems like there are several things which led to fell off and now she has grown old.

Nothing Aches Like a Broken Heart focuses on some of the familiar concepts on this album, like heartbreak. Also, I’m sure you can guess on the instrumentation, your typical acoustic guitars and piano. As for the message of the track, the verses focus on being lost and all the different choices and options in life. As it moves to the chorus, it starts to focus on loneliness and the darkness that it can bring to some people.

The final (non-acoustic) track from the album is London in the Spring. I do enjoy how some of the more traditional string instruments (violins, cellos, etc.) are incorporated a bit more on this track. With spring coming up in a few months, he seems to be reminiscing about different things that have happened in the past during spring in London. He also seems to focus on rekindling this spark with someone that he is currently with.

While I have listened to some of Passenger’s music before, this just seems like a bit lackluster in taste for me. Also, it seems like some of the instrumentals have been recycled back and forth through the different tracks. There are a few tracks that I have enjoyed from the album, but I don’t see myself going back to this album anytime soon.

Overall Rating: 5/10

Favorite Tracks: What You’re Waiting For, Sandstorm, A Song for the Drunk and Broken Hearted

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