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Folk music is characterized by its lyrics. There's always a lot of mystery and searching found within the words. Passenger has shown to have a mastery of the ability to tell stories with his words. Eight albums have taught him a lot; his eighth record Young As The Morning Old As The Sea is a testament to that.
Known for big hits like 'Let Her Go' and the country-tinged 'Shape Of Love', the singer has seen mild success throughout his career. That never seems to get to him, though. The English singer is forever humble, singing about fulfilling his own dreams and facing his memories throughout Young As The Morning.
The album begins in a less thought provoking manner, and more in a feel-good way. Intro track 'Everything' sees him singing the story of his own success: the first verse ends with "Then you get something / Something that you've always dreamed about / When you got something you've got something to lose," referencing 'Let Her Go' - the song he wished he could always write and have it resonate with so many people. The chorus goes on to condemn humanity, saying that people will take everything from you - but you should give them your best. A peppier number follows up with 'If You Go', a song about the mysteries of the simplistic things of life, the cheerful attitude accented by punchy trumpets, sweet guitar arpeggios and bright acoustics.
The indie vibes are strong on this one. The riff for 'Anywhere' screams indie, and the gospel organ helps take that a step further. The great vocals from Passenger also resonate a nostalgic vibe above the sweet harmonics, creating a hopeful atmosphere. The third song 'When We Were Young' is a chilled back track with sweet strings backing the clean guitar. Beautiful melodies paired with a sweet sentiment about young love bring about a very peaceful track. The warm guitar solo provides more dreamy substance to the song's slow moving body.
The true folk element kicks in during the second half of the record. The title track 'Young As The Morning Old As The Sea' has a urgency in the sweet arpeggiating guitar and pounding drums. The great guitars follow wanderlust lyrics, as Passenger sings about exploring the world to discover his roots and everywhere he's dreamed of going - he wants to be free, as "I wanna be free as the winds that blow past me / Clear as the air that I breathe / Young as the morning / And old as the sea." Acoustic goodness continues in tracks like 'The Long Road', which has a sweet vibe and is punctuated by reverberating slide guitar. 'Fool's Gold' is much the same, orchestras and a more upbeat drum beat replacing other elements along with the acoustic guitar. Passenger's message of finding happiness in the little details of life are supported by subtle background vocals, making the track resonate that much more. The atmospheric guitar intro of 'Somebody's Love' lead into a similar structure as 'Fool's Gold', but the highlights of the song are its fantastic instrumental moments and sweet melodies.
The acoustic guitar dances with piano in 'Beautiful Birds' featuring Birdy (perfect). The harmonies between Passenger are Birdy are as intertwined as the grace of the acoustic guitar and piano - pure bliss put under a somber light. It's almost heartbreaking - the two moving lines trapped in a tragic but beautiful dance as the lyrics hauntingly chant "You said you loved all the songs that I'd sing / Nothing that you'd ever heard / And I said I loved you with all of my heart when / We were two beautiful birds" in a stunning duet. Piano makes a return in 'Home', the album's closing track, but in a more upbeat fashion. The piano leads the song as acoustic guitar strums brightly, being carried by a light drum beat. The song is a sweet and cute ending to an even more sweet record, the beautiful reverberations of piano and strings closing the album as they fade out blissfully, like the final flakes of snow on a winter morning falling from the sky as the sun begins to peak through.
Passenger is a master of storytelling. It's hard to believe he isn't more renowned - his abilities certainly deserve it. Young As The Morning Old As The Sea is like a life story: it's about the dreams and wishes of wanderlust and hope Passenger has experienced throughout his life. It leaves you wanting something; not necessarily more music, but just something you can feel and hold onto. This album taps into your own wishes and more peaceful times, providing for an emotional and peaceful journey. When you step out into the world to find those dreams you want to follow, take this album with you.
Favorite Tracks: Beautiful Birds, Young As The Morning Old As The Sea, When We Were Young, Home
Least Favorite Track: Anywhere
Rating: 88 / 100