Album I couldn't live without: We Are Not Alone
The album I can't live without
Breaking Benjamin are a complete revelation. The band is labelled "post-grunge" by many a reviewer/critic, yet I find it difficult to fit them into any genre. At times metal, alternative or rock with grinding and heavy-hitting riffs, singalong choruses and teen-angst-laden lyrics ("I don't care what you want, I just want mine!"), they are fantastic for getting a party started, or motivating you to do, well, pretty much anything.
Just as you think you understand, out come the pianos and violins mixed with a swirling soundscape of drums and melodic backing vocals. Sunday morning coffee, anyone?
I am a fan of all of this band's albums for that very reason, but if I had to pick one then their second full-length release, We Are Not Alone, would have to be it. Sure, contained within are their megahits So-Cold and Sooner or Later but it's the album as a whole story that embodies the beauty of Breaking Benjamin. It's one of the rare albums that I have consistently listened to all summer for the past eight or nine years and never become bored of. It's also a universal album in the sense that my wife loves it just as much as I do. It's got the metal elements that I enjoy along with the amazing vocals and melodies that she enjoys. It's certainly got us singing on many a long road trip.
And yes, the vocals - lead singer Benjamin Burnley has the most haunting, powerful voice of any male vocalist in music, let alone alternative rock. His acoustic version of So Cold was enough to prompt my wife and me to plan a trip to the States to see these guys live, as they will not travel due to his fear of flying!
But alas it is not to be. Two albums later and Breaking Benjamin have split. They are fighting in court over the rights to the band's name and music, which I sincerely hope Ben Burnley wins, so we can get our dream of seeing these amazing innovators live back on track.
If you are looking for something exciting and fresh sounding (even now), any Breaking Benjamin album is worth searching out, but if you can start at We Are Not Alone - it will not disappoint.
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