Review: Ben Rector’s new album is his best yet

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Album cover

Katie Matthews, Editor-in-Chief

 

Turning on the radio today is risky business with all of the annoying pop songs and freaky Miley Cyrus-type tunes people are listening to. So a few months ago after I heard “Shut Up and Dance” by Walk the Moon for the millionth time on the radio, I decided that I was done with the overdone pop music on constant loop.

In order to escape the annoyance, I decided to turn on my Spotify and search for a new artist to listen to. I remembered listening to Ben Rector with my friend Annie and decided to give him a chance.

That was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Rector’s older albums, while satisfying for a while, were starting to get a little stale from how many times I listened to his collection, and I was eager for a new album.

My wish came true on Aug. 28 when Rector’s new album Brand New was released.

Rector starts the album with “Make Something Beautiful,” a song about the beauty of music and how that music can spread beauty in the world. This song is the perfect start to the album because it sets the stage for the beauty the other songs have.

After “Make Something Beautiful,” Rector dives into what I call “classic Ben.” The typical Rector songs have upbeat tempos, pop influenced beats, and lyrics about anything from life to love to playing wiffle ball at Steve’s place. The songs that are “classic Ben” include the album’s namesake “Brand New,” “Favorite Song,” “Crazy,” and “Almost Home.”

Another “classic Ben” song that is on the album is “Fear,” which is probably my favorite song. It’s upbeat, catchy, and makes me want to dance around my room. Plus, Rector talks about overcoming fears in the song which is important to me.

While Rector has “classic Ben” in this album, he decided to focus more on reflection than in previous volumes.

Songs like “Note To Self,” “30,000 Feet,” and “More Like Love” are reflective of Rector’s life as he looks back on what he’s accomplished so far and looks forward to what he will do next.

Rector’s growing maturity and selflessness shows through these reflective songs and especially in “The Men That Drive Me Places.” The song is about the drivers’ stories that he’s collected while on the road and lets the listener know that Rector believes that these drivers don’t get enough recognition for what they do.

If there were any faults in the album, they would be “Paris” and “Like the World Is Going to End.” “Paris,” while touching and sweet, got lost among the other more powerful songs, and “Like the World Is Going to End” felt out of place with the other songs on the album.

Even with these minor faults, Brand New is definitely Rector’s best work so far. From the touching messages in the reflective songs and the “classic Ben” dance-around-your-room tunes, Ben Rector definitely beats anything on the radio right now. So instead of risking hearing “Shut Up and Dance” for the billionth time, try listening to Ben Rector. I definitely wasn’t disappointed.