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The News Website for Glendale High School


The News Website for Glendale High School


(Un)Commentary, Alec Benjamin

This album needs to calm down.
(Un)Commentary, Alec Benjamin

(Un)Commentary, the latest album by Alec Benjamin, takes you on a weird emotional roller coaster, and I don’t know if I like it. 

This is a different album compared to Benjamin’s past album, These Two Windows, because it is not so much of a story-telling album, which is what I was expecting. Instead, (Un)Commentary is more of a laid-back, fun, but it-can-hit-you-where-it-hurts kind of album.

We are off to a rough start with the opening track, “Dopamine Addict”, which references internet addiction. Benjamin compares the feeling of constantly being on social media to dopamine, which is a chemical released in the brain that causes excitement and pleasure. 

Throughout the song, Benjamin highlights the feeling of withdrawal he experiences, as well as the clutch that dopamine holds on him. I like the beat of the song, and it has a mellow melody. The drums kinda fade and come back, making the guitar the main instrument, and I’m not mad about that. 

However, it doesn’t have anything that impresses you. The melody is fine, as are his vocals, but it’s not a song that you remember, and it doesn’t impact you in any way.

The second track, “Hammers”, is also not my favorite. I like the beat, and during the bridge, I like how it sounds as if a hammer is crushing something. The figurative use of the hammer is immaculate, as it is signifying power but also destruction. I think this is brilliant, but compared to other songs on the album, this one is too dimmed down, and it doesn’t stick with you. It’s not necessarily a song you should skip, but if you don’t listen to it, it’s definitely not the end of the world. 

On the other hand, “The Way You Felt” is a great song. This track talks about a one-sided relationship, and in this case, Benjamin is completely devoted to the relationship, while the other person does not really care about it. The beat is a contrast to the lyrics; it’s fun and happy, which simulates the relationship, while the lyrics just talk about heartbreak. 

In terms of technicalities, this track contrasts with every other Alec Benjamin song. Instead of opening with a verse, this song opens with the first part of the chorus. I prefer this, because he opens the song on a high note, and when he enters the first verse, the note lowers, creating a unique experience for the listening audience.

Hill I Will Die On” is a melancholic song that refers to war. It shows the fearful sentiment of a soldier, and in the chorus, Benjamin talks about writing his will on a bill, just in case he dies in battle. I like how the main instruments of the song are the guitar and the drums. 

Conversely, “Nancy Got A Haircut” has a fun beat, but for me, it’s a whatever song. Rhythm-wise, I think it’s great, but the lyrics just don’t speak to me. The song talks about fame, and how people criticize other people based on how they look. It’s a great topic, but the lyrics are shallow. They don’t have anything that sticks with you or that stands out, making the song bland and lyrically boring. 

Devil Doesn’t Bargain” is my second favorite song on this album. It talks about seeing someone in an abusive relationship, and the repetition of the toxic cycles found there. On this track, Benjamin is advising a friend to leave the devil, their abusive boyfriend. 

I love the way the song starts with the lyrics, “The devil doesn’t bargain,” and these words echo repeatedly until the guitar is introduced. The beginning of this song can be interpreted as a plea to his friend. He reminds her of the control that her boyfriend holds over her and how that situation isn’t negotiable. 

I won’t lie, because “Older” made me feel a pang in my heart. The lyrics talk about the passing of time and how Benjamin is not ready to grow more than he already has. The uncertainty of what will happen in the future, and the expectations that people hold over him, scare him, and honestly, I feel the same way. 

Throughout the song, Benjamin describes the transition from carefree childhood into inevitable adulthood, where you have to start finding a place to live, buying a car, and living up to your responsibilities. The bridge on this track is the best part, as Benjamin reflects on having kids, who will have the same childhood as he did. This moment is quite enduring and cute. 

My favorite song, “One Wrong Turn”, marks a perfect end for the album. Topic-wise, the song is on the heavier side, as it talks about the irreversibility of mistakes. The storytelling of the song reminds me of Narrated For You, a mixtape that Benjamin released in 2018. 

This is a signature Alec Benjamin song. The bridge tells the story of the song in a nutshell. Jeff texts his ex-girlfriend. Jess finds out and leaves. Later on, she dies and Jeff’s ex reveals that she is no longer attracted to men. Jeff ends up alone because of one mistake. This song takes you on a rollercoaster, and this time, I love it. 

Overall, this album is fine. It’s not terrible, but it’s also not otherworldly. There are some spectacular songs and some songs that are only just okay. 

While Benjamin has not exceeded my expectations with this album, I wouldn’t say that he has disappointed me entirely. The beats on the songs are great, but lyrically it is a hit-or-miss experience. The format of the album is new for Benjamin, and while this is a welcome change, it does need a bit of work. It’s not too bad for his first non-storytelling album. 

But if you enjoy this album, you might also like Not In Chronological Order by Julia Michales or Dancing With The Devil: The Art Of Starting Over by Demi Lovato.

About the Contributor
Samantha Verduzco
Samantha Verduzco, Staff Writer
Samantha is a senior at Glendale High School, which means that the credits are about to roll. (YAY! But it's also sad.) She has been a member of the journalism staff for three years. She hopes to not be lazy this year and to join a club (at the very least). She enjoys watching Netflix, reading, traveling, listening to music (which is why she mainly reviews albums), sleeping (if it was a sport she would be the best), and spending time with her family and friends. She is productive as long as she has had her dose of caffeine (yes, she might be addicted to coffee) and has slept enough (she may as well be a koala). She is very approachable, and even though she has a mean face, she is not (or that's what she likes to think).
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