Conrad – Ben Howard
Listen up Ben Howard fans, he’s done it again! The brit musicians new album I Forget Where We Were was released this month and it’s just as good, if not better than the first. The slow, shy and soulful crooner has once again managed to create a record full of songs that can’t be compared to any other current artist. After Every Kingdom was so faultless, I didn’t think he could do it again but I got a taste of what was to come at his Auckland concert in August and I was blown away. I can’t remember the last time I marked in my diary a release date like an excited teenager but for this album I’m glad I did. When the album was released in New Zealand I snapped it up right away and you should do the same.
Taking into account the fact that Howard’s songs are growers (you need at least five listens to really get a feel for them) I’ve spent a good many weeks listening to I Forget Where We Were over and over and it’s been with much pleasure. Conrad has quickly become my pick for best song on the record. Add it to your Spotify playlist right now, you won’t regret it.
Conrad is the kind of song that makes you want to close your eyes, put your hands in the air, tap your foot and sway all at the same time. In fact I’m pretty sure that’s what I did when I heard it for the first time live at his concert this year. It was a moment so memorable that during my first album listen, the feeling came rushing back to me when this song started to play.
Conrad features a genius finger picked electric guitar riff which hums throughout the song. It’s played with the perfection we’ve come to expect from Howard and is complimented by a solid bass line, layered on top of a gentle drum beat. But of course Howard’s chilling vocals steal the show. His melancholic tone echoes throughout the verse in a peaceful lullaby type melody. The chorus retains that same mellow feel while picking the tempo up a little bit and bringing the drum beat through more strongly.
Howard’s trademark build up is felt intensely in this song. Through each verse every different musical element is thickened, more volume and intensity is added but so subtly you hardly realise it’s happening. The song could almost become repetitive but Howard avoids it doing so by adding in these mixes as well as building the strength in his vocals. Finishing on a satisfying guitar solo is the perfect compliment to a beautiful song.
Check it out and let me know what you think!